The United States was the first country to test an atomic bomb, with the Trinity test taking place in July 1945. It is also the only nation to use nuclear weapons in a conflict, dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. From 1945 to 1992, the United States conducted 1,032 nuclear tests, most of which occurred underground after the Limited Test Ban Treaty was signed in 1963. The United States signed and ratified the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1968. In doing so, the nation agreed to pursue negotiations and reductions in good faith, with the eventual goal of complete nuclear disarmament.
The United States has a total nuclear inventory of 5,800 nuclear warheads, with around 3,800 active warheads in the stockpile and 2,000 retired warheads awaiting dismantlement. These weapons are deployed on air, sea, and land platforms in what is referred to as “The Triad.” At its peak, the United States had more than 31,000 nuclear weapons in its stockpile. Through various arms control agreements and unilateral reductions, the United States currently complies with New START levels: 1,550 nuclear warheads on 800 strategic launchers, only 700 of which can be deployed. It also allows each nation to conduct 18 on-site inspections per year.
Recent Analysis on the United States
- Fact Sheet: U.S. Nuclear Weapons Modernization: Costs & Constraints January 22, 2021
- Fact Sheet: The Nuclear Triad January 21, 2021
- Footballs, Biscuits, and America’s Nuclear Monarchy January 15, 2021
- The Humanity Beneath the Bomb December 31, 2020
- Brief Summary of Fiscal Year 2021 Defense and Energy and Water Appropriations Bills December 23, 2020
- Op-ed: We Can’t Fix Systemic Injustice Without Addressing the Nuclear Threat December 14, 2020
- How is the National Defense Authorization Act passed? December 10, 2020
- The NDAA process, explained December 10, 2020
- Conference Outcomes of the FY 2021 National Defense Authorization Act December 4, 2020
- FY 2021 Defense Appropriations Bill From Senate Appropriations Committee November 17, 2020