Fewer Nuclear Bombers, ICBMs

USAF will reduce its deployed force of 450 Minuteman IIIs by at least 30 missiles and convert at least 34 of its 94 nuclear-capable B-2As and B-52Hs to conventional-only roles under a new baseline nuclear force structure. The White House quietly announced these new levels May 13 when it submitted the New START Treaty to the Senate for ratification. Along with retaining “up to 420 deployed ICBMs, all with a single warhead” and “up to 60 nuclear-capable bombers,” the US will maintain 14 strategic nuclear submarines. However, the Navy will reduce the number of launch tubes on each sub from 24 to 20, deploying only 240 nuclear ballistic missiles at any one time. The Administration said the new baseline “fully supports US security requirements and conforms to the New START limits.” A senior defense official told Congress in April numbers of each system could be modified later. (White House release) (Nuclear force structure fact sheet)