U.S. Nuclear Stockpile Estimated to Hold 7,700 Total Warheads

On the radar: Latest stockpile estimate; Moniz to DOE; Outcomes from talks; Diplomacy, first choice; View from Tehran; Tutu on zero; Cartwright, Krepinevich, and Payne; and Dennis and the menace.

March 4, 2013 | Edited by Benjamin Loehrke and Alyssa Demus

U.S. nuclear notebook, 2013 - The U.S. maintains an active stockpile of an estimated 4,650 nuclear warheads. Compared to last year, that is a reduction of approximately 260 warheads - due to the retirement of W-80 warheads in Tomahawk cruise missiles. Hans Kristensen has the new estimate at The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

--Numbers: ~2,150 total deployed warheads, ~2,650 reserve, ~3,000 awaiting dismantlement. Total inventory of ~7,700 warheads. (pdf) http://bit.ly/13BQdUn

Moniz to DOE - President Obama nominated MIT professor Ernest Moniz to be the next Secretary of Energy. During the Clinton administration, Moniz served as an Associate Director in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and as Undersecretary of Energy. Nature has the report. http://bit.ly/104jnKE

--Nuclear credentials: “At DOE, [Moniz] had oversight of the science and energy programs, led a comprehensive review of nuclear weapons stockpile stewardship, and served as the Secretary’s special negotiator for Russian nuclear materials disposition programs.” http://bit.ly/14kEIMX

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Conflicting conclusions - Officials and experts are drawing differing conclusions of last week’s negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program. Some say the results were positive. Others have expressed “suspicions that Iran is using diplomacy as a stalling tactic,” and have criticized the administration’s proposed concessions offered to Iran at Almaty.

--These “arguments [against concessions] are politically convenient, but they simply are not realistic. Everyone should be wanting tangible results instead of holding on to positions that won’t get us any closer to eliminating the most important proliferation risks,” said Daryl G. Kimball, of the Arms Control Association. Joby Warrick and Jason Rezaian of The Washington Post have the story. http://owl.li/ikgJ8

Kerry on Iran talks - “[The U.S. and Saudi Arabia] both prefer - and this is important for Iranians to hear and understand - we both prefer diplomacy as the first choice, the preferred choice...But the window for a diplomatic solution simply cannot by definition remain open indefinitely," said Secretary of State John Kerry in a press conference with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal. Reuters has the story. http://reut.rs/XljPla

Interview - "I can confirm it here with you and also for your distinguished audience, that Iran welcomes the negotiation and direct talks with the United States, provided that we make sure that the U.S. is serious and does not act differently," said Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations, Mohammad Khazaee, in an interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria. View the interview here. http://owl.li/ikfq1

Tweet - @d_jaishankar: Vali Nasr drops a bombshell: US NSA Jim Jones promised Kayani a civilian nuclear deal in exchange for cooperation. http://atfp.co/YPBy2b

Schedules - Presidents Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin agreed to hold a bilateral meeting alongside the G8 summit in Northern Ireland. Obama is also slated to visit St. Petersburg for the G-20 meeting in September. Readout from the White House. http://1.usa.gov/XRJ0Ix

Tactics with Tehran - “diplomacy is [...] the best option on the table. It's clear that a deal is within reach if the two sides can see the benefits of reaching one. [...] This is the year in which the United States needs to use all the elements of national power and diplomacy to try to effect an arrangement that holds back Iran from crossing the nuclear weapons line,” said Daryl Kimball of the Arms Control Association in an interview with the Council on Foreign Relation’s Bernard Gwertzman. http://owl.li/ikkU8

Quote - “until we accept that nuclear weapons are abhorrent and a grave danger no matter who possesses them...we are unlikely to make meaningful progress in halting the spread of these monstrous devices, let alone banishing them from national arsenals,” writes Desmond Tutu in an op-ed for The Guardian. http://bit.ly/13BVJ9w


--”Confronting the Bomb: Pakistani and Indian Scientists Speak Out.” Pervez Hoodbhoy, Zia Mian, and George Perkovich. March 5 9:00-10:30 a.m. @ Carnegie Endowment WDC. Register here. http://owl.li/hY13n

--”National Security and the DOD: 2025.” Rep. Adam Smith (WA) and Rep. Mac Thornberry (TX). March 6 3:00-4:00 p.m. @ Rayburn House Office Bldg. Sponsored by the American Security Project. RSVP here. http://owl.li/i7Wq9

--”Russian Security and Defense Policy: Why Russia Is Not Stuck in the Cold War, and Why that Is a Problem.” Celeste Wallander, former Dep. Asst. Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia. March 6 3:00-4:00 p.m. SAIS, Rome Bldg. Room 812. http://owl.li/ikf9Q

--”The U.S. Nuclear Deterrent: What Are the Requirements for A Strong Deterrent In an Era of Defense Sequester?” Hearing of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces. Witnesses: Gen. James Cartwright, Dr. Andrew Krepinevich, and Dr. Keith Payne. Wed. March 6 @ 3:30 PM in Rayburn 2118. http://1.usa.gov/Xlig6X


Rebounder, crossdresser, diplomat - “There is nobody at the CIA who can tell you more personally about Kim Jong-un than Dennis Rodman, and that in itself is scary,” said Col. Stephen Ganyard (ret.) about Rodman’s recent trip to North Korea. Rodman watched basketball, feasted, and toasted with the 28-year old North Korean dictator.

--George Stephanopoulos grilled the infamous Chicago Bulls rebounder, discussing the trip, basketball diplomacy, and the North Korean regime’s anti-U.S. posture and horrendous human rights record. Video at ABC’s This Week. http://abcn.ws/XFChU9