Does the U.S. Army still have any nuclear weapons?

I’ve been trying to find this out on Army sites for a couple of hours now, and I gave up. They used to having Pershings, Lances, and artillery. I know all the Pershings are gone, but maybe they were Air Force anyway. I can’t find anything on nuclear artillery ammunition … are there still any in service? How about battlefield ballistic missiles?

Big problem here is D.O.D.'s policy of neither confirming of denieing the presence of nuclear material. Those who know, can’t tell, so no straight dope. Of course we know we are capable of deploying them, so it’s semi-educated WAGS from here on.

Officially, DoD policy limits nuclear weapons to strategic use. Strategic = large scale weapons that would wipe out a city. These are staffed by the AF & the Navy.

The Army (and Marines) would be more more interested in tactical nuclear weapons - these would render key terrain uninhabitable, or take out an airport, or even something as “small” as a tank. This is NOT a part of official DoD battle plans. At least that’s what they tell us docs…

Sue from El Paso

Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.

Nuclear artillery shells and short- to medium-range surface-to-surface missiles have been totally abandoned by the US Army due to various treaties etc.

In the early 80s the US laboratories came up with a small, man-portable tactical bomb with a very low output. These could be used to take out an airport or a power plant or a mountain pass etc. in one fell swoop.
They were about the size of a rucksack and were meant to be delivered by the Army’s Special Forces troops.

I suspect very much that there are still a few of those stashed away somewhere.

The need for these kind of went away anyway with modern precision bombing. We had a need for big tactical weapons back when we couldn’t deliver them very accurately. Now, if we want to take out an airport (or even just a particular hangar), it’s no big deal.

Needed or not, I share RTA’s suspicions that a number of nuclear shells are still in some bunkers somewhere. Also, the original nuclear warheads to those 2000-pound short range cruise missles are almost certainly still on hand.

“I had a feeling that in Hell there would be mushrooms.” -The Secret of Monkey Island

What’s the shelf life of a nuclear artillery shell?

Does the Army own any cruise missles though? I know the Navy fires them from ships, and the AF from B-52s, but I don’t know about ground artillery using them. I guess its not out of the question but its probably unlikely anymore.

To clarify: I do not believe that the Army has any nuclear artillery shells or short-range tactical warheads any more.

I DO think that the Army still has some of the “backpack bombs” I described.

I think it’s interesting that the Army parted with its nuclear weapons without it being a “big deal”. The Navy and Air Force have been known to struggle to out-nuke one another, so I’m surprised that the Army didn’t squeal about the loss of its capability. Maybe since it was tactical-only, no one in the Army really cared. Or maybe, the Army just lost interest in nukes with the end of the Cold War.

Anyway, the backpack nukes and Tomahawk warhead theories are interesting. I certainly didn’t find much at

Here is some trivia about “who has what” (it’s my thread, I can hijack if I want to):

4 out of 5 services (i.e. including the Coast Guard) have ships: all but the Marines (the Air Force has a research vessel and the Army has some landing ships, as well as dredges for the Corps of Engineers).

3 out of 5 services have jet fighters: all but the Army and Coast Guard.

The Kansas National Guard has a squadron of B-1s.

So, in gathering my trivia, I guess I shall have to leave a blank in the “number of services that have nukes” section until the Army decides to declassify the tactical nuclear stuff.

Nothing I write about any person or group should be applied to a larger group.

  • Boris Badenov

Hey, Boris B, how about the Commissioned Corps of the Public Health Services and the Commisioned Corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration?

Do you think those branches of the uniformed services might be in possession of nuclear weapons?

La franchise ne consiste pas à dire tout ce que l’on pense, mais à penser tout ce que l’on dit.
H. de Livry

Heavens! Out-triviaed on my own thread! What about the uniformed branch of the INS (The Border Guard). Do they have nukes?

But seriously, I had totally forgotten that the PHS had a uniformed branch. As to the NOAA corps, well, everybody knows they have deep-mantle planet-cracking bombs made out of fish gut nuclei.

Trivia leftover: there are 11 Sergeants in a Mechanized Infantry Platoon. There are only 7 Privates.

The Army no longer operates any surface-to-surface cruise missile of any kind, including Tomahawks.

They do shoot missiles at air targets -Patriot, Hawk, Chaparral, Stinger - all air defense systems operated by the Army, none with nuclear capability.
They also have multiple rocket artillery systems, rockets which generally break open over their target and shower it with a bunch of little bombs. Very effective, not nuclear.

Does the Secret Service have nuclear capability? “Stand back, Mr. President, while I throw this nuclear grenade.”

Then again, wouldn’t surprise me to learn the yahoos at ATF had nukes.


I read someplace a long, long time ago that a governor of Vermont had made a bit of a wacky reputation for himself by requesting that his state’s National Guard be armed with nuclear weapons. The answer may be a bit obvious, but has the question of arming states with nukes ever been aired for serious discussion?


A Cold War joke I heard once: “What is the definition of a tactical nuclear weapon? One that explodes in Germany.”


From a speech by President George Bush, July 2, 1992 (Statement on the United States Nuclear Weapons Initiative):

So, if you trust George W.'s daddy, we don’t do that tactical nuclear thing anymore (wink-wink, nudge-nudge).


“Believe those who seek the truth.
Doubt those who find it.” --Andre Gide

My guess.

And of course this is only a guess, it that the Army probably DOESN’T have any tactical nukes bunkered anywhere.

While the military has plenty of useless facilities around the country, these exist usually because they are in the district of some powerful Congressman.

Since the politicos aren’t likely to be clammering to have the nukes housed in their district, I expect the Army was probably free to dismantle them and free up the resources that would be needed to house them.

I mean, they can’t just rent a storage room to put them in. Storing nuclear weapons with all of the security measures involved would be a costly enterprise for a weapon with little tactical value in a world where a stealth bomber can deliver a payload down a chimney.

But, like I said, that’s just my guess.

‘Does the US Army have any Nuclear Weapons?’


The Night Watch always knows things.

But if the Army doesn’t have any nuclear weapons how are they going to protect this countries precious, life-giving water?

Well, I saw some bears in the zoo and they didn’t look like they had access to the woods. So either they went in their enclosures, or they can really hold it a long time.