Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

United States Nuclear Forces








Missile Defense

Air Defense

The Department of Defense announced 08 April 2014 the United States' Strategic Force Structure to comply with the New START Treaty (NST). The treaty limits the total number of deployed and non-deployed strategic delivery vehicles to 800. By Feb. 5, 2018, the total deployed and non-deployed force will consist of 454 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launchers, 280 submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) launchers, and 66 heavy bombers. U.S. deployed forces will consist of 400 deployed ICBMs. There will also be 240 deployed SLBMs. DoD will also maintain 60 deployed nuclear capable heavy bombers, for a total of 700 deployed strategic delivery vehicles, the treaty limit.

This force supports the president's national security strategy and nuclear weapons employment strategy and maintains strategic stability and deterrence, extended deterrence, and allied assurance. This force structure maintains the commitments set forth in the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review, the report to Congress on the president's new nuclear employment guidance, and the most recent Quadrennial Defense Review that the United States will maintain a triad of ICBMs, SLBMs, and nuclear-capable heavy bombers within the central NST limits.

As set forth in the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review, the United States will maintain a Triad of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), and nuclear-capable heavy bombers within the New START Treaty central limits. Specifically, the Administration will retain a mix of silo-based Minuteman III ICBMs (down-loaded to carry a single warhead), Trident II SLBMs carried on Ohio-class strategic ballistic missile nuclear submarines (SSBNs), and B-2A and B-52H nuclear-capable heavy bombers.

The New START Treaty establishes central limits on the number of nuclear delivery platforms and warheads associated with them: 700 for deployed ICBMs, deployed SLBMs, and deployed heavy bombers; 800 for deployed and non-deployed ICBM launchers, deployed and non-deployed SLBM launchers, and deployed and non-deployed heavy bombers; and 1,550 warheads on deployed ICBMs, warheads on deployed SLBMs, and nuclear warheads counted for deployed heavy bombers. By February 5, 2018, the Department of Defense (DoD) will transition today’s triad to the Treaty-compliant force structure below which fully supports the President’s National Security Strategy and Nuclear Weapons Employment Strategy.

Existing Types of ICBMs, SLBMs,
and heavy bombers
Minuteman III ICBMs [note 1] 454 400 454
Trident II SLBMs 336 240 280
B-2A/B-52H Bombers [note 2]96 60 66
TOTAL 886 700 800
  • 400 deployed ICBMs. DoD will place 50 currently deployed ICBM launchers into a non-deployed status by removing the ICBMs from these silos. Non-deployed ICBM launchers include four non-deployed test launchers.
  • 240 deployed SLBMs on 14 SSBNs. DoD will convert four SSBN launch tubes on each of the 14 SSBNs, removing 56 launch tubes from accountability under the Treaty. This will result in a maximum of 12 SSBNs with 20 missiles loaded at any given time, providing 240 deployed SLBMs and SLBM launchers accountable under the New START Treaty.
  • 60 deployed heavy bombers. DoD will retain 19 B-2As and 41 B-52Hs as nuclear capable heavy bombers, and will convert 30 B-52H bombers to a conventional only role, thereby removing them from accountability under the New START Treaty. Non-deployed bombers include three non-deployed test bombers.
  • Limit of 1,550 accountable warheads. DoD will manage the overall accountable warheads under this force structure to meet the New START Treaty central limit of 1,550 warheads on deployed ICBMs, warheads on deployed SLBMs, and nuclear warheads counted for deployed heavy bombers.

1 Does not include 53 non-operational ICBM launchers (52 Minutemen III and one Peacekeeper) being eliminated as of 2014.

2 Does not include 13 non-operational B-52H bombers scheduled to be converted or eliminated.

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