The Doomsday Clock is an internationally recognized design that conveys how close we are to destroying our civilization with dangerous technologies of our own making. First and foremost among these are nuclear weapons, but the dangers include climate-changing technologies, emerging... Read More
Kristensen is the director of the Nuclear Information Project with the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) in Washington, DC. His work focuses on researching and writing about the status of nuclear weapons and the policies that direct them. Kristensen is a co-author to the world nuclear forces overview in the SIPRI Yearbook (Oxford University Press) and a frequent adviser to the news media on nuclear weapons policy and operations. He has co-authored Nuclear Notebook since 2001.
The modernization of China’s land-based nuclear-capable missile force has progressed significantly over the past year, with Beijing fielding a new version of an existing nuclear missile and a new dual-capable missile. The country has also reorganized its nuclear missile command structure.
The US nuclear arsenal remained roughly unchanged in the last year, with the Defense Department maintaining an estimated stockpile of some 4,670 warheads to be delivered via ballistic missiles and aircraft. Most of these warheads are not deployed but stored, and many are destined to be retired.
With several long-range ballistic missiles in development, the Indian nuclear posture is entering an important new phase. After nearly two decades of focusing on nuclear competition with Pakistan, New Delhi seems to now be paying attention to its future strategic relationship with China.
China is the only one of the five original nuclear weapon states that is quantitatively increasing the size of its nuclear arsenal and it now is estimated to have approximately 260 warheads. The arsenal’s capabilities are also increasing as older missiles are replaced with newer ones.
Russia is modernizing its strategic and nonstrategic nuclear warheads. It currently has 4,500 nuclear warheads, of which roughly 1,780 strategic warheads are deployed on missiles and at bomber bases. Another 700 strategic warheads are in storage along with roughly 2,000 nonstrategic warheads.
As of early 2015, the authors estimate that the US Defense Department maintains about 4,760 nuclear warheads. Of this number, they estimate that approximately 2,080 warheads are deployed while 2,680 warheads are in storage.