Strategic Arsenal Slowing Shrinking: The US strategic nuclear arsenal continues to gradually come down in size to meet the ceilings imposed by the New START agreement with Russia, according to the two countries’ newest data exchange. The United States had 1,722 deployed nuclear warheads, 806 deployed launchers (i.e. heavy bombers, ICBMs, and submarine-launched ballistic missiles), and 1,034 total deployed/non-deployed launchers as of Sept. 1, according to the State Department’s fact sheet, released Oct. 3, which highlights the biannual data exchange required by the treaty. Those totals are down slightly compared to the 1,737 warheads, 812 deployed launchers, and 1,040 total deployed/non-deployed launchers as of March 1 in the previous data exchange. New START sets a cap of 1,550 deployed warheads, 700 deployed launchers, and 800 deployed/non-deployed launchers for each party by February 2018. As of Sept. 1, Russia had 1,499 warheads (plus seven compared to the March 1 total), 491 deployed launchers (minus three), and 884 deployed/non-deployed launchers (plus three), according to the fact sheet.
In a nighttime ceremony contrived to continue concealment of many of its features, the new B-21 bomber rolled out of Northrop Grumman's Palmdale, Calif. plant Dec. 2. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the aircraft's advanced technology represents "deterrence, the American way."