May 5th, 2010 18:11 EST
Editorial Cartoon Maze: New START Treaty
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United States Moves Rapidly Toward New START Warhead Limit
By Hans M. Kristensen
The United States appears to be moving toward early implementation of the New START treaty signed with Russian less than one month ago.
The rapid implementation is evident in the State Department`s latest fact sheet, which declares that the United States as of December 31, 2009, deployed 1,968 strategic warheads.
|Current pace of U.S. strategic warhead downloading could reach New START limit in 2010.|
The New START force level of 1,550 deployed strategic warheads is not required to be reached until 2017 at the earliest. But at the current downloading rate, the United States could reach the limit before the end of this year.
Since the signing of the Moscow Treaty in 2002, the United States has removed an average of 490 warheads each year from ballistic missiles and bomber bases, for a total of approximately 3,436 warheads. There are now only a few hundred strategic warheads left at U.S. bomber bases, with most of the deployed warheads concentrated on ballistic missiles.
The last time the United States deployed less than 2,000 strategic warheads was in 1956. The peak was nearly 12,790 deployed strategic warheads in 1987.
The rapid downloading of U.S. strategic forces illustrates....(read more)