The Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA) was created to safeguard and support our Nation’s security through the application of nuclear science and engineering. Since the days of the Manhattan Project, the highly talented men and women of the nuclear security enterprise have applied unique capabilities to promote U.S. security in the face of an ever-evolving global security environment.
Nuclear deterrence has been, and remains, the cornerstone of our Nation’s security posture, and its credibility serves as the ultimate insurance policy against a nuclear attack. DOE/NNSA is the only organization that can sustain the Nation’s nuclear stockpile, as well as the nuclear propulsion systems of the U.S. Navy’s submarines and aircraft carriers. We are the industrial base for the Nation’s nuclear stockpile, and providing the tools of deterrence to our Nation’s military is DOE/NNSA’s highest-priority mission.
The Fiscal Year 2021 Stockpile Stewardship and Management Plan – Biennial Plan Summary (SSMP) describes DOE/NNSA’s plans to ensure the safety, security, and effectiveness of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile and to maintain the scientific and engineering tools, capabilities, and infrastructure that underpin the nuclear security enterprise. NNSA also publishes the annual Prevent, Counter, and Respond: A Strategic Plan to Reduce Global Nuclear Threats report to Congress as a companion document to the SSMP, which outlines the equally vital missions to reduce the threats of nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism. In keeping with our commitments to Congress and the public, updated versions of these reports are published each year.
The fiscal year (FY) 2021 SSMP summarizes the activities being performed within DOE/NNSA’s national laboratories, production facilities, and security sites in support of our national security missions. In particular, this report describes DOE/NNSA’s plan to achieve the program requirements of producing 80 plutonium pits per year during 2030; achieving the first production unit of the W80-4 Life Extension Program and W87-1 Modernization Program by FY 2025 and FY 2030, respectively; and delivering the first production units of the B61-12 Life Extension Program and the W88 Alteration 370 warheads.
In FY 2020, DOE/NNSA closed out the W76-1 Life Extension Program, provided the W76-2 low-yield ballistic missile warhead for initial deployment, and restarted design activities for the W78 replacement warhead (the W87-1) program that resumed in FY 2019. The nuclear security enterprise is at its busiest since the Cold War.
DOE/NNSA’s ability to execute the priorities outlined in the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review depends upon a modern, flexible, and resilient nuclear security infrastructure, as outlined in the 2019 DOE/NNSA Nuclear Posture Review Implementation Plan report to Congress. This SSMP reflects continued investments in repair and recapitalization of the laboratories, production facilities, and security sites that are crucial to delivering on the Nation’s defense priorities and, most importantly, to supporting our greatest asset, our workforce. Together with continued support from Congress, DOE/NNSA will ensure that its world-class workforce has the resources and the responsive, agile infrastructure needed to steward the systems that comprise our deterrent today and, should the need arise, to design the systems of tomorrow.
The rapidly evolving threat environment facing our Nation underscores the need for the United States to maintain a diverse set of nuclear capabilities that can provide flexible, tailored options to enhance deterrence and achieve national security objectives should deterrence fail. As described in this report, the scientific and technological expertise found at DOE/NNSA’s laboratories, production facilities, and other sites is the intellectual backbone that supports the United States’ continued deterrence of adversarial aggression and the preservation of peace for our Nation and our allies.
For 75 years, the nuclear security enterprise has met every challenge, leading the country in incredible scientific and engineering endeavors and discoveries that benefit the Nation as a whole. As we continue into the next decade, DOE/NNSA will continue to stand together to anticipate future security challenges and ensure that our Nation is ready to meet them.