Nuclear Disarmament Germany

NATO Non-Nuclear Weapon State
Sharing US Nuclear Weapons


Two German PA-200 Tornados,
www.isaf.nato.int


Estimate Arsenal Size

  • 10-20 U.S. non-strategic gravity B-61 warheads at the Büchel Air Base [1]
  • Reliable documents indicate that an estimated 130 U.S. nuclear weapons at the Ramstein Air Base were removed between 2001 and 2005. [2]

Weapons System

  • Non-strategic warheads: B-61-3, B-61-4 [3]
  • Delivery Aircraft: German PA-200 Tornados

Modernization

  • The U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) is currently modernizing the non-strategic warheads deployed in Europe. NNSA is refurbishing and replacing components of the aging B-61-3 and B-61-4 warheads, converting them into the updated B61-12 model. Under NNSA’s B61-12 Life Extension Plan, the updated warheads will enter full production in 2020 and be deployed by 2024. [4]

Destructive Power [5]

  • B-61-3: maximum yield of 170 kilotons
  • B-61-4: 45 kilotons

Nuclear Weapons Policies

  • 1999 NATO Strategic Concept confirms commitment to deploying nuclear weapons in Europe to maintain the "minimum level sufficient to preserve peace and stability." [6] In 2010 NATO reasserted that it would be a nuclear alliance while nuclear weapons continue to exist. [7]
  • While NATO continues to reaffirm the importance of deploying U.S. nuclear weapons in Europe, disagreements among member states on this issue have become more pronounced since the German government expressed support for the withdrawal of U.S. nuclear weapons from Germany and Europe in October 2009. [8] In 2010 Germany, along with other NATO nations, restated its request for the U.S. to remove nuclear weapons stationed in European NATO member states. [9]
  • With the withdrawal of 130 U.S. nuclear weapons from the Ramstein Air Base, the number of U.S. nuclear weapons in Germany was reduced to only 20. [10]
  • The Deterrence and Defense Posture Review adopted at the May 2012 NATO Summit in Chicago states that "the Alliance's nuclear force posture currently meets the criteria for an effective deterrence and defense posture." Therefore, some experts argue that the scheduled nuclear modernization contradicts this concept. [11]
  • On September 5, 2014 NATO asserted the centrality of nuclear deterrence to the security of NATO members, with U.S. nuclear capabilities playing a key role in this strategy. While stating that a situation in which a nuclear weapon would be detonated is highly unlikely, NATO declared that current relations with Russia have halted cooperative disarmament efforts. U.S. nuclear weapons are therefore likely to remain in Germany and other NATO nuclear-sharing countries. [12]
  • NATO's 2016 Warsaw Summit Communique criticized Russia's annexation of Crimea, destabilization of Ukraine, and aggressive rhetoric. NATO went on to reiterate the role of nuclear weapons as a deterrent. On the issue of disarmament, NATO stated that disarmament efforts must take into account the current security situation, and that it is regrettable that the prospects for disarmament are "not favorable today." [13]
  • Germany supports the Australia-led Humanitarian Initiative. [14] While the alternative Austria-led Initiative maintains that regardless of circumstance nuclear weapons should not be detonated, the Australia-led initiative has not made that declaration. [15]
  • Germany is a member of the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative (NPDI), a group of non-nuclear weapon states dedicated to disarmament, nonproliferation and peaceful nuclear activities as outlined in the NPT and the 2010 NPT Review Conference. [16]

Treaty Commitments [17]

Sources:
[1] Hans M. Kristensen, "Non-Strategic Nuclear Weapons, Special Report No 3," Federation of American Scientists, May 2012, www.fas.org.Hans M. Kristensen, "Status of U.S. Nuclear Weapons in Europe 2010," Federation of American Scientists, February 12, 2010, www.fas.org
[2] "Nonstrategic Nuclear Weapons," Report by Specialist in Nuclear Weapons Policy Amy F. Woolf, Congressional Research Service, February 23, 2015, www.fas.org.
[3] Hans M. Kristensen, "Non-Strategic Nuclear Weapons, Special Report No 3," Federation of American Scientists, May 2012, www.fas.org, Robert S. Norris and Hans M. Kristensen, "Worldwide Deployments of Nuclear Weapons 2009," Nuclear Notebook, Natural Resources Defense Council, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, November/December 2009, pp 86-98. http://thebulletin.metapress.com.
[4] United States Government Accountability Office, NNSA Has a New Approach to Managing the B-61-12 Life Extension, but a Constrained Schedule and Other Risks Remain, GAO-16-218, February 2016, pp. 10-25, www.gao.gov.
[5] Hans M. Kristensen, "U.S. Nuclear Weapons in Europe," Natural Resources Defense Council, February 2005, p. 9, www.nrdc.org.
[6] "The Alliance's New Strategic Concept," NATO, April 24, 1999, www.nato.int.
[7] "Active Engagement, Modern Defence: Strategic Concept for the Defence and Security of the Members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation adopted by Heads of State and Government in Lisbon," Report at the Summit Meeting of NATO Heads of State and Government, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, November 19, 2010, www.nato.int; "Wales Summit Declaration," Statement by the Heads of State and Government of the North Atlantic Alliance, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, September 5, 2014, www.nato.int.
[8] Oliver Meier, "Steinmeier Calls for U.S. to Withdraw Nukes," Arms Control Today, May 8, 2009, www.armscontrol.org.
[9] "Nonstrategic Nuclear Weapons," Report by Specialist in Nuclear Weapons Policy, Amy F. Woolf, Congressional Research Service, February 23, 2015, www.fas.org.
[10] Oliver Meier, "U.S. Cuts Tactical Nuclear Weapons in Europe," Arms Control Association, September 1, 2007, www.armscontrol.org; Hans M. Kristensen, "United States Removes Nuclear Weapons from German Base, Documents Indicate," Federation of American Scientists, July 9, 2007, www.fas.org.
[11] "The Deterrence and Defence Posture Review," NATO, May 20, 2012, www.nato.int.
[12] "Wales Summit Declaration," Statement by the Heads of State and Government of the North Atlantic Alliance, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, September 5, 2014, www.nato.int.
[13] "Warsaw Summit Communiqué," Issued by the Heads of State and Government participating in the meeting of the North Atlantic Council, July 27, 2016, www.nato.int.
[14] "Statement on the Humanitarian Consequences of Nuclear Weapons," Statement by the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Australia to the United Nations, Reaching Critical Will, April 30, 2015, www.reachingcriticalwill.org.
[15] "Joint Statement on the Humanitarian Consequences of Nuclear Weapons," Statement by the Federal Minister for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs of Austria, Reaching Critical Will, April 28, 2015, www.reachingcriticalwill.org; "Statement on the Humanitarian Consequences of Nuclear Weapons," Statement by the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Australia to the United Nations, Reaching Critical Will, April 30, 2015, www.reachingcriticalwill.org.
[16] "NPDI Statement for 2015 NPT Review Conference," Statement by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, 2015 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, April 27, 2015, www.un.org.
[17] Inventory of International Nonproliferation Organizations & Regimes, www.nonproliferation.org; "Country Profiles: Germany," Reaching Critical Will, accessed June 29, 2015, www.reachingcriticalwill.org.

February 9, 2017
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The Nuclear Disarmament Resource Collection contains information and analysis of nuclear weapons disarmament proposals and progress worldwide, including detailed coverage of disarmament progress in countries who either possess or host other countries' nuclear weapons on their territories.

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This material is produced independently for NTI by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of and has not been independently verified by NTI or its directors, officers, employees, or agents. Copyright 2017.