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Front Page News Items From 2007

The U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile is shrinking compared to the Cold War, but the post-Cold War stockpile will remain large under current plans.
From the world of nuclear weapons book keeping...

White House Announces (Secret) Nuclear Weapons Cuts (December 18, 2007)

The White House announced that the administration will complete reduction of the stockpile "by nearly 50 percent" in two weeks instead of in five years. Another 15 percent, government officials added, will be accomplished by 2012. Unfortunately the details are secret, so officials can neither say how many weapons will be retired nor how big the stockpile is. Read my analysis here.

New Nuclear Strike Plans Added
Expansion of nuclear targeting policy during the Bush administration documented

White House Guidance Created New Nuclear Strike Plans Against Proliferators, Document Shows (November 5, 2007)

The 2001 Nuclear Posture Review and White House guidance issued after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, caused the U.S. Strategic Command to add a series of new strike options against "rogue states" to the main U.S. strategic nuclear war plan, according to a military planning document declassified and released to the Federation of American Scientists. Read the story here.

Chinese nuclear modernization

Two More Chinese Submarines Spotted
(October 4, 2007)

China appears to have launched two more new Jin-class (Type 094) ballistic missile submarines at the Bohai shipyard in Huludao some 400 km east of Beijing. The images were discovered by FAS during analysis of commercial satellite images on Google Earth. A third submarine image was discovered in July 2007. For more information, go here.

More Chinese SSBNs Appear

B-52 with Advanced Cruise Missiles
Breakdown of Nuclear Command and Control?

Nuclear Weapons Mistakenly Flow On Nuclear Bomber (September 5, 2007)

A U.S. Air Force B-52 bomber apparently flew from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota to Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana with five nuclear-armed Advanced Cruise Missiles under its wings. The U.S. has several computerized systems in place to ensure control of individual nuclear weapons. Read my blog here and Washington Post story here.

New Information Released About W76 Warhead Program

Submarine Warhead Production Plan More Than Doubled
(August 30, 2007)

The Bush administration has decided to more than double the production of W76 warheads undergoing an expensive life-extension upgrade to arm the Navy's 14 ballistic missile submarines for the next three decades. The increased program will produce an estimated 2,000 W76-1 warheads between 2007 and 2021. For more information, go here.

Cold War targeting - or just targeting?
What History Tells Us About Targeting Missile Defenses

Targeting Missile Defenses (July 19, 2007)

The uproar over Russia's threat to target a U.S. ballistic missile defense system in Europe with nuclear weapons, while understandable, shows that many live under the illusion that such planning has somehow stopped after the Cold War. But targeting missile defenses is actually a high-priority mission going back four decades. Read the story here.

From the World of Public Intelligence

China Reorganizes Northern Nuclear Launch Sites
(July 12, 2007)

China has reorganized its launch sites for nuclear missiles near Delingha in the northern part of central China. The reorganization shows possible deployment of DF-21 missile launchers within range of Russian ICBM-fields and bases. For more information, go here.

Reorganization of Chinese nuclear missile launch sites in
central China shows possible deployment of DF-21 launchers

Nuclear Weapons Quietly
Leave Ramstein Air Base
Germany Nearly Nuclear-Free

US Withdraws Nuclear Weapons From Main German Base
(July 9, 2007)

The U.S. Air Force appears to have quietly removed  nuclear weapons from its main base at Ramstein in Germany, leaving only one nuclear base in the country. The removal reduces the estimated number of U.S. nuclear weapons in Europe from approximately 440 to around 350, an arsenal roughly the size of the entire French nuclear arsenal. The remaining weapons are deployed at seven bases in six NATO countries. Read the story here.

From the World of Public Intelligence

First Chinese Jin-Class Strategic Submarine Spotted

(July 5, 2007)

During analysis of commercial satellite images on GoogleEarth, I spotted what appears to be the first unit of the long-awaited new Chinese Jin-class (Type 094) ballistic missile submarine. With all eyes on China as the primary new adversary, rumors fly about construction of five boats with multiple warhead missiles. So far the Pentagon's prediction is more modest. For more information, go here.

New Chinese nuclear ballistic
missile submarine spotted

World Nukes on the Map

Newsweek/MSNBC Use Nukes Research
(July 2, 2007)

A call from Newsweek about the world's nuclear weapons arsenals has turned into this neat interactive chart on the MSNBC web site. The total inventory: Approximately 26,000 nuclear warheads with a combined yield of roughly 3,000 megatons (the equivalent of 238,748 Hiroshima-type bombs).

Satellite Image Shows Next Phase in Pakistan-India Arms Race

Pakistani Nuclear Missiles Fitting Out
(May 9, 2007)

A satellite image appears to show 15 Shaheen 2 medium-range ballistic missile launchers under preparation for service at Pakistan's National Defense Complex near Islamabad. The image was discovered during research in preparation for the Nuclear Notebook in the May/June issue of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Analysis of the image is available on the FAS blog.

Nuclear missile launchers fitting out
at National Defense Complex

New fact sheet outlines status and history of US nuclear weapons stockpile: challenging government secrecy
Joint FAS/NRDC fact sheet published

Estimates of the US Nuclear Stockpile

(May 2, 2007)

The US nuclear stockpile includes approximate 9,930 nuclear warheads, and is projected to decrease to just over 5,000 warheads by the end of 2012, according to a fact sheet published by FAS and NRDC. For more information, go here.

From the Cold War Clean-up Department

US to Retire Advanced Cruise Missile
(March 7, 2007)

The U.S. Air Force has decided to scrap its newest and most capable nuclear cruise missile, the Advanced Cruise Missile. The Air Force FY2008 budget request terminates operational funding in 2008, and the Air Force subsequently confirmed that the missile will be scrapped as part of the drawdown of forces under the SORT agreement. Read the FAS blog and check the news stories.

Advanced Cruise Missile to be scrapped

The Bulava sea-launched ballistic
 missile suffered three consecutive
test failures. Even so, the Russian
navy plans to increase the number
of Bulava-equipped subs
New Nuclear Notebook published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Russian Nuclear Forces, 2007

(March 1, 2007)

At the beginning of 2007, Russia deployed approximately 5,670 nuclear warheads, including roughly 3,340 strategic warheads and approximately 2,330 warheads for shorter-range weapons. Official statements about the importance of nuclear weapons were accompanied by the first operational deployment of the mobile Topol-M ICBM, return of five strategic submarines to sea to demonstrate a limited capability to conduct deterrent patrols, and announcements that Russia will deploy multiple warheads on its new ballistic missiles when the START treaty expires in 2009. See also blog with analysis.

Hard-to-get information obtained from the US Navy

Chinese Submarine Patrols: 2 in 2006!
(February 6, 2007)

Discoveries made by US satellites flying over China, submarines lurking off Chinese naval bases, and spies on the ground are frequently used in leaks to the news media that China has launched yet another submarine. But one of their consistent discoveries has never made it into the headlines: China's large submarine fleet is not very active. Only two patrols conducted in 2006 (and none in 2005). Read about the surprising discovery here.

Newly declassified information tells us
something surprising new about the Chinese submarine fleet: It is not very active

See also: Front Page News Items from 2008, 2006, 2005 and 2004



  Hans M. Kristensen