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
Do you think the hands of the Doomsday Clock should be closer to or farther from midnight?
Hans M. Kristensen
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.
With Russia’s ratification of New START in January 2011 comes a commitment to bilateral nuclear reductions. With a 2018 deadline as the goal, the treaty sets out to limit the number of deployed strategic nuclear warheads and the number of deployed ballistic missiles and heavy bombers.
The Obama administration’s disclosure of its stockpiled and dismantled warhead numbers through September 2009 was, apparently, a “one-time release”; thus, the question remains as to how quickly—or slowly—the country’s arsenal will decline.
As Russia and the United States continue to reduce their Cold War arsenals, global inventories of nuclear weapons will continue to decline. Yet eight of the nine nuclear states continue to produce new or modernized nuclear weapons.
With or without a follow-on agreement to START, the number of warheads in the Russian nuclear arsenal continues to shrink. But that doesn't mean Moscow has given up modernizing its strategic nuclear forces.
Pakistan is enhancing its nuclear weapon capabilities across the board by developing and deploying new nuclear-capable missiles and expanding its capacity to produce fissile materials for use in weapons.