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United States - FOIA Documents

As the world's preeminent nuclear power, the nuclear policy and planning of the United States have important implications for the status of nuclear weapons in international relations.

The Bush administration's Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) completed in December 2001 was portrayed as achieving unprecedented cuts in the nation's nuclear arsenal, ending mutual assured destruction vis--vis Russia, and reducing the role of nuclear weapons. If fact the NPR did neither. Not a single of the "cuts" announced were by the Bush administration but instead implement posture decisions already made in the Clinton administration's NPR in 1994 and other measures as far back as the Washington Summit between the first President Bush and Russian President Boris Yeltsin in 1992.

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The force level of 1,700-2,200 "operationally deployed strategic nuclear warheads" was set by STRATCOM in 1996 in preparation for the Helsinki Summit and the framework for START III. In essence, the NPR force level is START III -- minus limits on non-strategic nuclear weapons, minus transparency of stockpiles, minus irreversibility of reductions, and minus verification. In addition to needlessly relinquishing these achievements, the Bush administration also scuttled START II and its ban on multiple warheads on ICBMs. Not an impressive achievement at all.

On this background, the evolution of U.S. nuclear planning in the 1990s becomes very important for understanding the current and future posture. That planning has set U.S. nuclear policy makers and planners "free" to develop options and capabilities less constrained politically by relations with Russia and China in pursuit of a more flexible and opportunistic deterrence posture. The 2001 NPR and other guidance issued since 2001 strengthen this development. This collection of FOIA documents are intended to assist the public in understanding and debating this evolution.

Hans M. Kristensen/Federation of American Scientists | www.nukestrat.com | 2004-2006

Other information about U.S. nuclear policy and operations is available under publications


  Hans M. Kristensen