Russia has fielded more strategic nuclear weapons over the past six months, but a longtime U.S. analyst suggests the development is unremarkable.
Moscow boosted its count of “deployed” nuclear-bomb delivery vehicles by 25 between Sept. 1 and March 1, increasing its total number of fielded systems to 498, according to an independent analysis of figures made public on Tuesday. The delivery platforms can include nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles held in submarines and underground silos, as well as certain long-range bomber aircraft.
Still, Hans Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists, said Russia’s additional deployments do not mean Moscow is adopting a more aggressive posture.
Rather, they fell in a series of other nuclear-arms “fluctuations” that Russia and the United States have reported under the terms of a nuclear arms control treaty, he said.
“At the time of the previous data release in September 2013, the United States appeared to have increased its forces. But that was also an anomaly reflecting temporary fluctuations in the deployed force,” Kristensen said in an analysis for the FAS Strategic Security blog.
The United States decreased its count of deployed launch platforms by 31 between September and March, according to the data released by the U.S. State Department. However, Washington still fielded 300 more delivery systems than its former Cold War adversary.
Neither government released specifics on how it rearranged its missiles or bombers between September and March.
Kristensen noted, though, that Washington plans to issue “a declassified overview of its forces” later this year.
“Russia does not publish a detailed overview of its strategic forces,” he wrote.
Under the New START arms control treaty, each side by 2018 must cap its deployments at 700 missiles and bombers, with backup fleets of no more than 100 additional delivery vehicles. The pact also would also bar each country from deploying more than 1,550 nuclear warheads.
What We're Following See More »
Donald Trump "nearly quintupled the monthly rent his presidential campaign pays for its headquarters at Trump Tower to $169,758 in July, when he was raising funds from donors, compared with March, when he was self-funding his campaign." A campaign spokesman "said the increased office space was needed to accommodate an anticipated increase in employees," but the campaign's paid staff has actually dipped by about 25 since March. The campaign has also paid his golf courses and restaurants about $260,000 since mid-May.
Donald Trump probably isn't taking seriously John Oliver's suggestion that he quit the race. But he has canceled or rescheduled rallies amid questions over his stance on immigration. Trump rescheduled a speech on the topic that he was set to give later this week. Plus, he's also nixed planned rallies in Oregon and Las Vegas this month.
Donald Trump's Fox News brain trust keeps growing. After it was revealed that former Fox chief Roger Ailes is informally advising Trump on debate preparation, host Sean Hannity admitted over the weekend that he's also advising Trump on "strategy and messaging." He told the New York Times: “I’m not hiding the fact that I want Donald Trump to be the next president of the United States. I never claimed to be a journalist.”
"Donald Trump's campaign and the Republican party will coordinate more closely going forward, with the GOP's top communicator and chief strategist Sean Spicer increasingly working out of Trump campaign headquarters, the campaign confirmed Sunday."
In a statement released Friday morning, the Trump campaign announced that Paul Manafort has resigned as campaign chairman. The move comes after fresh questions had been raised about Manafort's work in Russia and Ukraine, and Trump brought in Stephen Bannon "as a de facto demotion for Manafort."