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U.S. Cuts Nuclear Deployments Under New START

A nuclear-capable U.S. B-52 bomber prepares to land at the Fairford air base in the United Kingdom in March 2002. The United States over a six-month period ending on Sept. 1 made further reductions to its levels of fielded strategic nuclear warheads and delivery systems, the U.S. State Department said on Wednesday (AP Photo/Dave Caulkin). A nuclear-capable U.S. B-52 bomber prepares to land at the Fairford air base in the United Kingdom in March 2002. The United States over a six-month period ending on Sept. 1 made further reductions to its levels of fielded strategic nuclear warheads and delivery systems, the U.S. State Department said on Wednesday (AP Photo/Dave Caulkin).

The United States as of Sept. 1 held 1,722 strategic nuclear warheads fielded on 806 active ICBMs, submarines-based missiles and bombers, a reduction of 15 deployed weapons and six launch-ready delivery vehicles over the prior six months, the U.S. State Department indicated in data released on Wednesday.

Russia at the start of last month maintained 1,499 nuclear warheads deployed on 491 extended-distance delivery systems, according to details provided under a bilateral strategic arms control pact. Its count of fielded warheads was actually up from 1,492 warheads on March 1, though the number of active delivery devices dropped slightly from 494.

The United States held 1,034 bombers and missile firing platforms on active duty and in reserve, while Russia had 884 such systems, according to the State Department.

The New START treaty requires each side by 2018 to each reduce deployment of strategic nuclear warheads to 1,550, down from a cap of 2,200 mandated by this year under an older treaty. It also limits the number of fielded warhead delivery platforms to 700, with an additional 100 strategic systems permitted in reserve. The treaty, which took effect in February 2011, calls for the nations to regularly share quantities, siting and schematics of armament equipment and sites.

The governments have carried out only minor cuts to their quantities of fielded strategic nuclear armaments since the pact entered into force, according to the Arms Control Association in Washington. U.S. deployments still significantly exceed the 2018 limits, while Russian numbers continue to fall below the caps, the independent think tank observed.

President Obama could encourage Moscow to deactivate more nuclear armaments by expediting the removal of additional fielded U.S. weapons and communicating readiness to establish deployments at quantities under those required under New START, the organization suggested. Each side has a desire and necessity to reduce military-related expenses, the group added in an analysis.

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