Investments in the Nuclear Complex
The United States is committed both to taking concrete steps toward a world without nuclear weapons and ensuring the safety, security and effectiveness of our stockpile as along as nuclear weapons exist. This requires investing now in revitalizing the intellectual infrastructure that serves as the foundation of our capabilities in addition to recapitalizing an outdated physical infrastructure. These investments will transform a nuclear weapons complex into a modern, sustainable 21st Century Nuclear Security Enterprise. This is not only critical to maintaining the U.S. nuclear deterrent, but also supports a number of other essential nuclear security missions, including nuclear nonproliferation, nuclear counterterrorism, emergency response, and support to the intelligence community.
By law, the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) is tasked to “maintain and enhance the safety, reliability and performance of the United States nuclear weapons stockpile,” in addition to broader nuclear security missions. The President’s budget request for NNSA for fiscal year 2011 reflects the Administration’s commitment to the Nation’s nuclear deterrent and the Nuclear Security Enterprise that enables it. The President’s budget includes more than $7 billion for Weapons Activities and associated infrastructure, up 10 percent from fiscal year 2010. This request:
- Increases funding for directed stockpile work by 25% to ensure the safety, security and effectiveness of the nuclear weapons stockpile, including: full production of the W76-1 to extend the life of the warhead for an additional 30 years; a life extension study for the B61 gravity bomb to extend its service life, enhance its safety and use control features, and ensure compatibility with modern aircraft; a study to explore future options to maintain the W78 warhead; and continued maintenance, surveillance and certification for all weapons systems.
- Increases funding for science, technology and engineering by more than 10% to ensure the ability to assess and certify the stockpile without underground nuclear testing utilizing advanced scientific capabilities, including the world’s fastest supercomputers, and stepwise development of the predictive framework capability.
- Reinvests in the scientists, technicians and engineers responsible for a successful stockpile stewardship and management program and recapitalization of the physical infrastructure, including major long-term construction projects to replace aging facilities that house essential capabilities for plutonium and uranium.
The President’s plan sustains and augments stockpile stewardship and management investments into the future, with funding for these programs increasing steadily, to $7.6 billion per year by fiscal year 2015. Through these investments, NNSA’s Nuclear Security Enterprise will ensure a highly specialized and trained technical workforce, committed to maintaining the U.S. nuclear deterrent through safe and security operations and stewardship of the environment, while leveraging their capabilities to address cross-cutting national security mandates through scientific innovation.