A Warhead’s Life

The U.S. currently possesses nearly half of the world’s nuclear warheads. Each warhead type has its own story and takes its own path through the system. All of these warheads are born in the Department of Energy (DoE) and then reside with the Department of Defense (DoD). Many warheads eventually return to the DoE for dismantlement but some become “trapped” in the DoD through a seemingly endless cycle of upgrades, redeployments or storage in the stockpile.

Below is an attempt to trace the path a warhead may take as it moves through the phases of its life-cycle (full view).

Sources include: Brookings, the Department of Energy and the Institute for Policy Studies