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Mutual Detargeting

The United States and Russia no longer have strategic ballistic missiles targeted at each other. This arrangement applies to intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs). The missiles of both countries either have no targets, are are targeted on "open ocean areas" instead of each other's territory. For three of the four U.S. strategic missile systems--the Trident I, Trident II, and Peacekeeper -- the missiles contain no targeting information. The older-technology Minuteman III missile computers, which require a constant alignment reference, are set to ocean-area targets.

The detargeting agreement was concluded in January 1994 by Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin, and was implemented as of 30 May 1994. The missiles can be retargeted on fairly short notice, seconds to minutes, if necessary. The British made a unilateral decision to detarget their strategic missiles and have done so. In addition, in 1994, China and Russia signed the Joint Statement by the President of the People's Republic of China and the President of the Russian Federation on Non-First-Use of Nuclear Weapons and Detargeting of Strategic Nuclear Weapons Against Each Other.

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Primary documents, including treaty text and associated memoranda, statements and other related material, as well as official factsheets, announcements, briefings speeches and other related material.

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