Prevent, Counter, and Respond—A Strategic Plan to Reduce Global Nuclear Threats

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Cover of the FY2018 Prevent, Counter, and Respond—A Strategic Plan to Reduce Global Nuclear Threats

The Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Fiscal Year 2018 report, Prevent, Counter, and Respond—A Strategic Plan to Reduce Global Nuclear Threats, outlines DOE/NNSA’s plans and programs to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons, counter the threat of nuclear terrorism, and respond to nuclear and radiological incidents around the world. The report is a companion to the Fiscal Year 2018 Stockpile Stewardship and Management Plan, which describes DOE/NNSA’s activities to ensure the reliability of the U.S. nuclear stockpile and maintain its foundational capabilities and infrastructure. In keeping with our commitment to transparency, updated versions of these reports are published each year.

Maintaining the U.S. nuclear stockpile and reducing global nuclear threats—two missions that are often thought to involve different technical expertise and pursue disparate goals—are far more interconnected than they may appear. Many activities within these two DOE/NNSA mission pillars are mutually reinforcing and supportive of common objectives. The facilities and scientific knowledge that underpin stockpile stewardship, for example, are harnessed for a range of nonproliferation and counterterrorism missions, from assessing foreign weapons programs and potential terrorist devices to managing the proliferation risks posed by civil nuclear applications. Preventing the spread of nuclear weapons around the world yields considerable benefits for the U.S. nuclear posture. By limiting the number of nuclear-capable states and preventing terrorist access to materials and technology that can threaten the United States and its allies, global stability is broadly enhanced and the range of potential threats facing the nation is thereby constrained.

DOE/NNSA’s nonproliferation and counterterrorism activities extend the nation’s defenses far beyond America’s borders. The United States’ long experience in securing special nuclear materials is being shared with partners around the world in ways that promote international nonproliferation and counterterrorism efforts. Similarly, DOE’s national laboratories and production plants, leveraging stockpile-related facilities and knowledge, provide nuclear safeguards training and technology to International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors to help detect diversion of nuclear materials and verify the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

The Prevent, Counter, and Respond report describes how DOE/NNSA’s nonproliferation, counterterrorism, and emergency response programs apply the scientific and technical capabilities and highly-skilled workforce of the nuclear security enterprise to execute critical national security missions. The report also underscores the necessity of repairing and recapitalizing DOE/NNSA’s aging infrastructure, some of which dates to the Manhattan Project era. Providing quality workspace to DOE/NNSA’s workforce is crucial to recruiting and retaining the world-class talent on which our nuclear threat reduction missions depend.