START II Impact
One of George Bush's last acts as President was to travel to Moscow to sign the START II Treaty. If implemented, this accord will reduce each nation's total number of warheads to 3,500. As with START I, both sides were given flexibility in the weapon systems they would withdraw from service. In the United States a Nuclear Posture Review was conducted by DOD during the summer of 1994 to assess America's strategic needs. Looking to provide the nation with a balanced nuclear deterrent, while maintaining a sizable strategic deterrent in case democratic reforms were to fail in the former Soviet Union, a team led by Assistant Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter and Vice Admiral William A. Owens projected a force structure for the year 2003 consisting of 450 to 500 Minuteman III ICBMs, 336 Trident D5 SLBMs, and 66 B-52H Stratofortress bombers. The planners also forecast that by the year 2000, the Peacekeeper ICBMs (with their 10 warheads apiece) would be withdrawn from service and the Minuteman IIIs would be converted back to single-warhead missiles to comply with START II provisions.
To support this force mix, the March 1995 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission recommended the deactivation of the 321st Strategic Missile Wing at Grand Forks Air Force Base. Consequently, the survival of missile wings at F.E. Warren, Minot, and Malmstrom Air Force Bases seems assured through the end of the century.