Frank Rose and Finland leaders at National Ignition Facility, Livermore Lab
NNSA Principal Deputy Administrator Frank Rose and Officials from the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Defense at the National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, March 4, 2024

NNSA Principal Deputy Administrator (PDA) Frank Rose hosted a visit by a delegation of Government of Finland senior officials at the NNSA national security laboratories: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratory, and Los Alamos National Laboratory. The trip lasted from March 4-8 and sought to achieve three goals: 1) strengthening Finland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Defense officials’ understanding of U.S. strategic deterrence; 2) highlighting NNSA’s role in extended and integrated deterrence; and 3) informing the delegation about the close partnership between NNSA and the Department of Defense.

“Finland has a long history as a leader in nonproliferation issues and civilian nuclear power,” Rose noted. “But since joining NATO in last year, they are now part of an alliance that also relies on strategic deterrence. This visit provided a clearer picture of the National Labs’ role in delivering the U.S. strategic deterrent and the importance of science and technology in underpinning stockpile sustainment and modernization.”

“As a member of NATO, Finland participates fully in all its activities, including the Nuclear Planning Group. The Finnish government program also clearly states that we will expand our knowledge of matters concerning nuclear weapons. Our visit to these U.S. national laboratories was part of that learning process,” said H.E. Mikko Hautala, Finland’s Ambassador to the United States. “These visits provided very useful insights into other strategic aspects of nuclear issues that are increasingly important to international security.”

The trip began on March 4 at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), where PDA Rose provided an overview of the NNSA and the broader Nuclear Security Enterprise. Brad Wallin, LLNL Deputy Director for Strategic Deterrence, followed with an overview of LLNL’s mission areas. The delegation toured the National Ignition Facility, the Advanced Manufacturing Laboratory, the Nuclear Forensics Laboratories, and the Nuclear Counting Facility. The delegation also received a briefing on international collaboration around science and technology, and participated in discussions on integrated deterrence and threat reduction.

Finnish Foreign Affairs and Defense officials at Lawrence Livermore
Officials from the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Defense get hands on experience with materials during their visit to Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, March 4, 2024

On March 6 the delegation visited Sandia National Laboratories (SNL). SNL Director James Peery provided an executive overview and Laura McGill, Deputy Laboratories Director for Nuclear Deterrence and Chief Technology Officer, briefed the Finnish officials on SNL’s role in strategic deterrence. The delegation toured national security technology facilities, the Thermal Testing Complex, the Superfuge facility, and the Technology, Training, and Demonstration facility. The tours’ message was amplified by additional briefings on the role of modeling and simulation capabilities in maintaining the U.S. nuclear stockpile and on Sandia’s global security programs such as the Labs’ space programs, security programs, and treaty monitoring/verification programs.

Frank Rose and Finland officials at Sandia National Laboratory
NNSA Principal Deputy Administrator Frank Rose and the delegation of Finnish officials visited Sandia National Laboratory, March 6, 2024.

The delegation visited NNSA’s headquarters in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on March 7, before concluding their trip at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) on March 8. At LANL, Deputy Laboratory Director for Weapons Bob Webster briefed the visitors on the national labs’ role in the U.S. deterrent and provided an unclassified overview of nuclear weapons. The delegation also received briefings on LANL’s support for the International Atomic Energy Agency and arms control, nuclear incident response, and participated in discussions of Arctic security, the implications of Russia’s war in Ukraine, and integrated deterrence. In the afternoon the delegation toured the National Security Research Center, the Dual-Axis Radiographic Hydrodynamic Test Facility, and the Manhattan Project National History Park.

Rose summarized the trip by noting: “Not only were we able to demonstrate how NNSA’s unique capabilities support U.S. and allied security, we were also able to learn about our Finnish allies’ perspectives on NATO’s missions and threat reduction.” He added, “Given the critical importance of fostering and maintaining partnerships to the NNSA’s mission, this visit was a success.”

Finland's Ministry of Foreign of Affairs and Ministry of Defense at Manhattan Project National Historic Park
Officials from the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Defense visited the Manhattan Project National Historic Park, March 8, 2024.