October 2012


U.S.-Nuclear Weapons Surety 1990/91 and the Bush PNI in 1991 A Comparison

by Otfried Nassauer


When President George H.W. Bush announced his Presidential Nuclear Iniative reducing the number of European deployed nuclear weapons by several thousands, he decided at the same time to eliminate most of the nuclear weapons having received a lower surety rating in internal DoD, DoE and scientific reports. However, only one of the types of weapons remaining in service, the B83, received the highest surety rating. The coloured rows in the table below show the weapon types removed by the Presidential Nuclear Initiative and eliminated in accordance with the 1987 INF-Treaty.

Remarkably no nuclear weapon based off CONUS in 1989 (date of the source) was to kept on permanent alert. European based weapons including Pershing II missiles or fighter bombers with nuclear bombs could only be placed on alert.

 

Weapon

type

since

Kidder
surety
rating

De-
ployed

PAL
CAT

HE
FRP

alert

PNI / INF

Remarks**

B-28-0,1

s-bomb

1983*

C-

US

D

HE

 

 

Off alert in 1990
Retired by 1993

W33

203mm

1956

n.a.

O

CL

None

P

PNI

 

B43

t-bomb

1961*

D

S

B

HE

A

PNI

Retired by 1991

W48

155mm

1963*

D

O

CL

HE

P

PNI

 

W50

PI A

1963*

D

O

A

HE

A3

INF, PNI

Retired by 1991

B53-1

s-bomb

1988*

C-

US

None

HE

O

 

Retired by 1994

W56-4

MM-II

1968

C+

US

None

HE

O

 

 

B57-1

n-bomb

1963*

D

S

None

HE

A

PNI

Retired by 1998.

B57-2

n-bomb

1963

D

S, O

B

HE

A

PNI

Retired by 1999

B61-0

t-bomb

1968*

D

O

B

HE

A

PNI

Retired by 1993

B61-2

t-bomb

1976*

D

O,S

D

HE

A

PNI

Retired by 1994

B61-3

t-bomb

1980

B

O

F

IHE

A

 

 

B61-4

t-bomb

1980

B

O

F

IHE

A

 

 

B61-5

t-bomb

1977*

C

O

D

HE

A

PNI

Retired by 1998

B61-7

s-bomb

1986

B

US

D

IHE

O

 

 

B61-10

t-bomb

1990

B

 

F

IHE

 

 

 

W62

MM-III

1970*

D

US

None

HE

O

 

 

W68

SLBM

1970*

D

S

None

HE

O

 

Retired by 1996

W69

SRAM-A

1972*

D

US

None

HE

O

PNI

Retired by.1998

W70-1,2

Lance

1973

D

O

D

HE

P

PNI

Retired by 1998.

W70-3

Lance

1981

D

US

D

HE

P

PNI

Retired by 1999

W71

ABM

1975*

D

US

None

HE

P

 

Retired by 1991

W76

SLBM

1979

C

S

None

HE

O

 

 

W78

MM-III

1980

C

US

None

HE

O

 

 

W79

155mm

1980

C+

O

D

HE

P

PNI

 

W-80

SLCM

1984

B

S

D

IHE

A

PNI

 

W80-1

ALCM

1982

B

US

D

IHE

O

 

 

B83

s-bomb

1983

A

US

D

IHE/
FRP

O

 

 

W84

GLCM

1983

A

O

F

IHE/
FRP

A

INF, PNI

Retired by 1991

W85

P-II

1983*

B

O

F

IHE

A

INF, PNI

Retired by 1991

W87

MX

1986

A

US

None

IHE/
FRP

O

 

 

W88

SLBM

1990

C

S

None

HE

A

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Additional information: During 1989 retirements of the B-28FI, W-31, W44 and B54 were completed

Type S: strategic T: Tactical  N: Naval
Rating: A: mit EEI,IHE,FRP
C-:no full EEI 
B:EEI, IHE
D: None
C:EEI
“where deployed: O: off CONUS S: ship US: USA
„Alert“  O: on alert A: allowed P: prohibited
NA: not applicable *: retired, retiring ** to be retired by until
(according to FY89-94 NWSM
Ch3 i.e. before PNI)
 

Main Sources: DoD/DoE: Nuclear Weapons Surety, Annual Report to the President 1989, formerly SECRET, Washington DC, 1990, Tables 1 and 2,
Kidder, R.E.: Report to Congress: Assessment of the Safety of U.S.Nuclear Weapons and Related Nuclear Test Requirements, LLNL, 26.7.1991, p.4

 

ist freier Journalist und leitet das Berliner Informationszentrum für Transatlantische Sicherheit - BITS