chapter  5
Weapons and capabilities
Pages 16

Nuclear weapons: air, land, and under the sea Weapons range from hand grenades to nuclear weapons, and capabilities from night vision goggles to skilled computer hacking. It is nuclear weapons, though, which generate the most public debate. Nonproliferation is a central part of U.S. strategy. However, there are already a lot of nuclear weapons spread across the globe. Nine countries have such weapons: North Korea, India, Pakistan, Israel, Britain, France, China, Russia, and the United States. North Korea is thought to have only a few weapons and India, Pakistan and Israel 100 or fewer. It should be noted that Israel does not admit to having such weapons, and that, although North Korea may have only a handful, diplomats worry about that country’s erratic decision making, and also about the security of Pakistan’s weapons. India has been given special treatment. She has not signed the 1968 Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) but has been given a waiver to conduct nuclear commerce. Britain, France and China have had nuclear weapons for decades but are thought to have 300 or fewer each. Although both Russia and the United States have greatly downsized their inventory since the height of the Cold War,1 Russia is estimated to have a current inventory of 12,000, perhaps 5,000 of which are operational.2 The United States is estimated to have an inventory of fewer than 10,000, 2,500 of them operational, the same number in storage, and about 4,500 scheduled for dismantling. The United States weapons are located in thirteen states and five nonnuclear European countries: Belgium, Italy, Turkey, Germany, and the Netherlands.3