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In 2029, will the US have fewer nuclear warheads than it did in 2019?

The size of the US's nuclear weapons stockpile reached a peak in 1966 at around 30,000 warheads. Following the deescalation and the end of the Cold War, the number has substantially decreased. Kristensen and Korda (2019) estimate that the US maintains a deployed stockpile of nearly 3,800 warheads. The approximate breakdown is as follows:

  • 1,750 warheads are currently deployed, of which
    • 1,300 strategic warheads are deployed on ballistic missiles,
    • 300 at strategic bomber bases in the United States,
    • 150 tactical bombs are deployed at air bases in Europe.
  • 2,050 are in storage as a so-called hedge against technical or geopolitical surprises.

It is possible that this trend will reverse in a period of nuclear rearmament, especially if world tensions get worse. The Trump Administration’s Nuclear Posture Review takes a confrontational tone, presenting an assertive posture that embraces “Great Power competition” and includes plans to expand the US' nuclear arsenal.

In 2029, will the US have fewer than 3,800 nuclear warheads?

This resolves positive if credible sources, such as the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists' Nuclear Notebook (such as this one for 2019) reports that the US held fewer than 3,800 nuclear warheads at any time in 2029. A similar credible source may be consulted if the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists in no longer active or publishing reports. For the purposes of question resolution, warheads that are retired and awaiting dismantlement will not be counted.

See also the related question, If the US does not pursue nuclear disarmament, how many nuclear warheads will it have in 2029?


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