The Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA) has the mission to protect the American people by maintaining a safe, secure, and effective nuclear weapons stockpile; by advancing nuclear nonproliferation and reducing global nuclear threats; and by providing nuclear propulsion systems for the U.S. Navy.
DOE/NNSA’s largest responsibility is our nuclear weapons program. Nuclear deterrence has been and remains the cornerstone of the Nation’s security posture, and its credibility serves as the ultimate insurance policy against a nuclear attack. DOE/NNSA holds the unique obligation to maintain the capabilities – people, infrastructure, and tools – to design, produce, and certify the Nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile. Our nuclear deterrence work is conducted in a distributed enterprise consisting of federal employees and specialized technical talent in government-owned, contractor-operated national laboratories, production facilities, and security sites. Since the days of the Manhattan Project, the highly talented people of the nuclear security enterprise have responded to an ever-evolving global security environment.
The Fiscal Year 2022 Stockpile Stewardship and Management Plan (SSMP) describes DOE/NNSA’s plans to maintain the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile and the capabilities of the nuclear security enterprise. DOE/NNSA also publishes the annual Prevent, Counter, and Respond: A Strategic Plan to Reduce Global Nuclear Threats report to Congress that describes the vital companion missions to advance nuclear nonproliferation and reduce global nuclear threats. In keeping with our commitments to Congress and the public, updated versions of these reports are published each year.
The fiscal year (FY) 2022 SSMP describes the active work across DOE/NNSA’s nuclear security enterprise to achieve program requirements, including producing 80 plutonium pits per year and achieving the first production unit for the W80-4 Life Extension Program (LEP) and W87-1 Modification Program. The major activities in other weapon and infrastructure modernization work, science programs, and supporting functions are also discussed.
DOE/NNSA completed production of the W76-1 LEP, provided the W76-2 low-yield ballistic missile warhead for initial deployment in FY 2020, and completed first production unit delivery of both the B61-12 LEP and W88 Alteration 370 warheads in FY 2021. Also in FY 2021, the Los Alamos Pit Production Project and the Savannah River Plutonium Processing Facility each completed the Critical Decision 1 acquisition milestone and both continued design and project baseline analyses in preparation for Critical Decision 2. The nuclear security enterprise is at its busiest since the Cold War and our ability to innovate and accelerate delivery is front and center in all our programs.
DOE/NNSA’s ability to continue to execute its mission depends on a modern, flexible, and resilient nuclear security infrastructure. This SSMP reflects continued investments in refurbishment and recapitalization of the national laboratories, production facilities, and security sites that are crucial to delivering on the Nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile and supporting our workforce. Together with continued support from Congress, DOE/NNSA will advance its effort to realize the responsive, agile infrastructure needed for today and tomorrow.
President Biden has committed to exploring options to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy, while still ensuring our strategic deterrent remains safe, secure, and effective and that our extended deterrence commitments to our allies remain strong and credible. At the same time, the geopolitical environment today amplifies the need to retain a robust nuclear deterrent program and the associated infrastructure as we pursue these longer-term goals. The Nuclear Posture Review now underway will inform NNSA programs and our future requests and reports to Congress.
For over 75 years, the nuclear security enterprise has met every challenge, keeping the country safe and leading incredible scientific and engineering endeavors and discoveries. DOE/NNSA is fully committed and intensely focused on maintaining our tradition of delivering a safe, secure, and effective stockpile for the American people.