| WASHINGTON, April 8
WASHINGTON, April 8 The United States will scale
back its land, sea and air nuclear missile launchers under a New
START treaty with Russia but not retire a ballistic missile
squadron as some lawmakers had expected, U.S. officials told
The U.S. military will disable four missile launch tubes on
each of its 14 U.S. nuclear submarines, convert 30 B-52 nuclear
bombers to conventional use and empty 50 intercontinental
ballistic missile silos, senior administration officials said on
condition of anonymity.
The plan is expected to be formally announced on Tuesday.
One official said the government wanted to maintain
flexibility across its land, sea and air weapons systems. "It
provides us a bit of a hedge," said the official.
The New START treaty reached in President Barack Obama's
first term called for cuts in the number of deployed strategic
nuclear warheads in the United States and Russia to 1,550 apiece
by 2018, down from the previous ceiling of 2,200. It was agreed
in 2010 and went into force on Feb. 5, 2011.
The United States total nuclear stockpile, including
deployed and non-deployed, tactical and strategic nuclear
weapons was 5,113, the government said in 2010.
Some lawmakers have voiced concerns that an entire ballistic
missile squadron would be eliminated under the treaty.
"Because they (cuts) will be spread across the three
different bases, we won't close a squadron," another official
said, also on condition of anonymity.
The New START treaty also calls for each side to reduce its
total number of nuclear delivery systems to no more than 800.
(Editing by Jason Szep and Andrew Hay)