Locations in Europe where American nuclear weapons are stored have been inadvertently revealed in a document by a NATO committee. The document written for the defense and security committee of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly named the countries and sites where 150 U.S. nuclear weapons are kept in the territories of its allies.
The document was titled A New Era For Nuclear Deterrence? Modernization, Arms Control and Allied Nuclear Forces, was attributed to Canadian senator Joseph Day, The Washington Post reported.
Although the locations are not discussed by the U.S. or its European allies, they are considered an open secret in the international community, The Daily Telegraph noted.
One line in the original document, which has since been edited out, states without naming sources, how U.S. bombs “are stored at six US and European bases; Kleine Brogel in Belgium, Büchel in Germany, Aviano and Ghedi-Torre in Italy, Volkel in The Netherlands, and Incirlik in Turkey,” according to the Belgian newspaper De Morgen.
A NATO official told The Post: “We do not comment on the details of NATO’s nuclear posture. This is not an official NATO document.” The official noted that it was written by members of the alliance’s parliamentary assembly.
De Morgen headlined the story: “Finally in black and white: There are American nuclear weapons in Belgium.” The Dutch broadcaster RTL ran the headline “Nato reveals the Netherlands’ worst kept secret.”
Kingston Reif, director for disarmament and threat-reduction policy at the Arms Control Association, told The Post that the presence of U.S. nuclear weapons in Europe was “no surprise,” adding that “this has long been fairly open knowledge.”
There have been U.S. nuclear weapons in Europe since the Cold War to deter the Soviet Union and relieve European countries from the need of having to develop their own versions.
The website of the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) says that there was a peak of more than 7,300 U.S. nuclear warheads in Europe in 1971 and since then, more than 7,000 warheads have been removed.
Now, there are around 150 non-strategic gravity-B61 warheads and seven weapons systems at the bases of its NATO allies, NTI stated, adding that the supply of tactical weapons at Aviano in Italy appears to have been reduced from 35 to 25.
In its 2018 Nuclear Posture Review, the Trump administration reaffirmed its commitment to nuclear weapons in Europe.
The review stated: “The United States will make available its strategic nuclear forces, and commit nuclear weapons forward-deployed to Europe, to the defense of NATO. These forces provide an essential political and military link between Europe and North America and are the supreme guarantee of Alliance security.”