Journal Article - Daedalus

The Minimum Deterrent & Beyond

| Fall 2009

Excerpt from "The Minimum Deterrent & Beyond":

The first 40 years of the nuclear age, dominated by the Cold War, witnessed the staggering buildup of nuclear weapons in U.S. and Russian arsenals. In 1987 the arsenals reached a combined total of about 70,000. U.S. weapons peaked at 32,000 in 1966: Soviet weapons peaked somewhere between 40,000 and 50,000 in 1986. Equally remarkable has been the decline from those heights: both countries, having reduced their stockpiles to 10,000 by 2002, agreed to cut the number of "operationally deployed strategic warheads" to 2,200 by 2012. The United States has already reached this limit, but retains 700 tactical weapons and a reserve of 2,500 active and inactive weapons, not treaty-limited, making for a grand total of 5,200. While comparable data are not available from Russia, it is likely that their stockpile will soon approach a similar level, representing the lowest number of weapons between the United States and Russia since the early days of the buildup, around 1959....

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This article was originally published by the quarterly journalDædalus.Read the entire issue here.

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For Academic Citation: Doty, Paul. The Minimum Deterrent & Beyond.” Daedalus, vol. 138. no. 4. (Fall 2009):

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