U.S. to cut nuclear weapons stockpileThe Bush administration said Tuesday that it would make a 15% reduction in the nation's stockpile of nuclear weapons, taking the overall inventory down to less than a quarter of its size at the end of the Cold War in 1991.
A major effort to retire older weapons was accomplished five years ahead of schedule, allowing the new round of cutbacks, said Thomas P. D'Agostino, chief of the National Nuclear Security Administration. The additional cuts would be done by 2012.
The overall size of the nation's nuclear inventory is classified. But under the terms of a 2002 treaty, the U.S. and Russia are committed to reducing deployed weapons on missiles and aircraft to between 1,700 and 2,200 by 2012.
It is believed the U.S. holds about 4,000 additional weapons in reserve status, though those numbers are classified.
Separately, the Energy Department on Tuesday unveiled a long-term plan to modernize and reduce the size of its weapons research and production complex, saying it would cut about 20% of its current 37,000 workers and close about one third of its facilities. [via Los Angeles Time]
NIE Report: Iran Halted Nuclear Weapons Program Years AgoABC News' Martha Raddatz, Jonathan Karl, Luis Martinez and Kirit Radia Report: In a stunning reversal of Bush administration conventional wisdom, a new assessment by U.S. intelligence agencies concludes Iran shelved it's nuclear weapons program over four years ago.
"We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program," reads a declassified version of the National Intelligence Estimate key findings.
"We judge with moderate confidence that the earliest possible date Iran would be technically capable of producing enough highly enriched uranium (HEU) for a weapon is late 2009."
The entire NIE report will remain classified, however the office of the Director of National Intelligence released a declassifed version of the key findings that can be read HERE.
More analysis from the New York TImes.