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Number of warheads is traditionally a closely held secret

For decades the exact number of nuclear warheads in the arsenal of the U.S. was a closely held secret. The U.S. didn’t want to tip its nuclear hand or possibly give enemies a way to better neutralize its nuclear arsenal. This week the U.S. for the first time has officially announced how many nuclear weapons are in its arsenal.

According to the Pentagon, the U.S. today has a total of 5,113 nuclear warheads stockpiled as of the end of September. That number is an 84% reduction in the number of warheads at the peak of the cold war in 1967 when America had 31,225 nuclear warheads. In 1989 America has 22,217 warheads in its arsenal.

The reason for revealing these numbers is to show that the U.S. is complying and doing its part in the non-proliferation of nuclear arms treaty worked for so hard by the U.S. government and foreign governments.

A senior U.S. defense official said, "The United States is showing that it is being increasingly transparent. It's part of our commitment ... to set the stage for strength in non-proliferation and for further arms control."

Analysts fear that the announcement could have potential negative impact as well. The announcement could cause dismay in some countries when they learn that the U.S. has such an enormous stockpile so many years after the end of the Cold War. 

The numbers released for the nuclear stockpile of America includes all warheads that are deployed, kept in active reserve, and held in inactive storage.

However, the number does not include several thousand warheads that are awaiting dismantlement. An exact number of warheads waiting to be dismantled was not offered with officials saying that  more analysis was needed before announcing that number to be sure such an announcement would not affect national security.





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