14 March 2002: See excerpts of the classified NPR:


10 March 2002. This does not include the classified Nuclear Posture Review; instead these are unclassifed portions and statements released by DoD. Cryptome welcomes the classified document for publication here; see e-mail, mail, fax and public key info at home page.

US Code on preparing the NPR: http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/10/118.notes.html

Add 14 February 2002 congressional testimony on NPR by Admiral James Ellis, Commander in Chief of the US Strategic Command and John Gordon, Undersecretary for Nuclear Security and Administrator, National Nuclear Security Admnistration.

9 March 2002: Add DoD press release on Nuclear Posture Review in response to Arkin article.

9 March 2002

See William Arkin report on classified version of the Nuclear Posture Review:

Secret Plan Outlines the Unthinkable, March 10, 2002 (offsite)

Add Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Feith's testimony on Nuclear Policy Review of 14 February 2002.

10 January 2002


[Secretary of Defense cover letter forwarding the Nuclear Posture Review to Congress]

Nuclear Posture Review Report


The Congress directed the Defense Department to conduct a comprehensive Nuclear Posture Review to lay out the direction. for American nuclear forces over the next five to ten years. The Department has completed. that review and prepared the attached report.

Early on, we recognized that the new security environment demanded that the Department go beyond the Congressional mandate in developing a strategic posture for the 21st century. President Bush had already directed the Defense Department to transform America's military and prepare it for the new, unpredictable world in which we will be living. The result ' t of his direction is the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR). Building on the QDR, this Nuclear Posture Review puts in motion a major change in our approach to the role of nuclear offensive forces in our deterrent strategy and presenting the blueprint for transforming our strategic posture.

This report establishes a New Triad, composed of:

This New Triad is bound together by enhanced command and control (C2) and intelligence systems.

The establishment of this New Triad can both reduce our dependence on nuclear weapons. and improve our ability to deter attack in the face of proliferating WMD capabilities in two ways:

The combination of new capabilities that make up the New Triad reduce the risk to the nation as it draws its nuclear forces toward the goal of 1,700-2,200 operationally deployed strategic nuclear warheads announced by President Bush on November 13, 2001.

The following is a summary of the highlights in this report.

First and foremost, the Nuclear Posture Review puts the Cold War practices related to planning for strategic forces behind us. In the decade since the collapse of the Soviet Union, planning for the employment of U.S. nuclear forces has undergone only modest revision, despite the new relationship between the U.S. and Russia. Few changes had been made to the size or composition of the strategic nuclear force beyond those required by the START Treaty. At the same time, plans and funding for sustaining some critical elements of that force have been inadequate.

As a result of this review, the U.S. will no longer plan, size or sustaining forces as though Russia presented merely a smaller version of the threat posed by the former Soviet Union. Following the direction laid down for U.S. defense planning in the Quadrennial Defense Review, the Nuclear Posture Review shifts planning for America's strategic forces from the threat-based approach of the Cold War to a capabilities-based approach. This new approach should provide, over the coming decades, a credible deterrent at the lowest level of nuclear. weapons consistent with U.S. and allied security.

Second, we have concluded that a strategic posture that relies solely on offensive nuclear forces is inappropriate for deterring the potential adversaries we will face in the 21st century. Terrorists or rogue states armed with weapons of mass destruction will likely test America's security commitments to its allies and friends. In response, we will need a range of capabilities to assure friend and foe alike of U.S. resolve. A broader array of capability is needed to dissuade states from undertaking political, military, or technical courses of action that would threaten U.S. and allied security. U.S. forces must pose a credible deterrent to potential adversaries who have access to modem military technology, including NBC weapons and the means to deliver them over long distances. Finally, U.S. strategic forces need to provide the President with a range of options to defeat any aggressor.

To meet the nation's defense goals in the 21st century, the first leg of the New Triad, the offensive strike leg, will go beyond the Cold War triad of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), and long-range nuclear-armed bombers. ICBMs, SLBMs, bombers and nuclear weapons will, of course, continue to play a vital role. However, they will be just part of the first leg of the New Triad, integrated with new non-nuclear strategic capabilities that strengthen the credibility of our offensive deterrence.

The second leg of the New Triad requires development and deployment of both active and passive defenses -- a recognition that offensive capabilities alone may not deter aggression in the new security environment of the 21st century. The events of September 11, 2001 underscore this reality. Active and passive defenses will not be perfect. However, by denying or reducing the effectiveness of limited attacks, defenses can discourage attacks~ provide new capabilities for managing crises, and provide insurance against the failure of traditional deterrence.

The third leg of the New Triad is a responsive defense infrastructure. Since the end of the Cold War, the U.S. defense infrastructure has contracted a-ad our nuclear infrastructure has,atrophied. New approaches to development and procurement of new capabilities are being designed so that it will not take 20 years or more to field new generations of weapon systems. With respect to the nuclear infrastructure,, it needs to be repaired to increase confidence in the deployed forces, eliminate unneeded weapons, and mitigate the risks of technological surprise.- Maintaining our ability to respond to large strategic changes can permit us to reduce our nuclear arsenal and, at the same time, dissuade adversaries from starting a competition in nuclear armaments.

The effectiveness of this New Triad depends upon command and control, intelligence, and adaptive planning. "Exquisite" intelligence.on the intentions and capabilities of adversaries can permit timely adjustments to the force and improve the precision with which it can strike and defend. The ability to plan the employment of the strike and defense forces flexibly and rapidly will provide the. U.S. with a significant advantage in managing crises, deterring attack and conducting military operations.

Constructing the New Triad, reducing our deployed nuclear weapons, and increasing flexibility in our strategic posture has resource implications. It costs money to retire old weapons systems and create new capabilities. Restoring the-defense infrastructure, developing and deploying strategic defenses, improving our command and control,, intelligence, planning, and non-nuclear strike capabilities require new' defense initiatives and investments. However, these investments can make the U.S, more secure while reducing our dependence on nuclear weapons.

The Quadrennial Defense Review established the foundation for America's post-Cold War defense strategy. Building on the Quadrennial Defense Review, the Nuclear Posture Review will transform the Cold War era offensive nuclear triad into a New Triad designed for the decades to come.

Donald H. Rumsfeld
Secretary of Defense

Transcribed briefing slides have been added by Cryptome, from:


Date: Wed, 9 Jan 2002 20:50:10 -0500
From: dltranscripts_sender@DTIC.MIL
Subject: Special Briefing on the Nuclear Posture Review

NEWS TRANSCRIPT from the United States Department of Defense

DoD News Briefing
J.D. Crouch, ASD ISP
Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2002 - 3:05 p.m. EST

(Special briefing on the results of the Nuclear Posture Review [NPR].  Also participating were Rear Adm. Barry M. Costello, deputy director for Strategy and Policy, Joint Staff; John Harvey, director, Office of Policy, Planning, Assessment and Analysis, Department of Energy; and Richard McGraw, principal deputy assistant secretary of Defense for Public Affairs.)

        McGraw:  Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.  It's time for a very titillating subject, I'm sure, for all of you: the second Nuclear Posture Review, the first one done in 1994, I think.  To give you a briefing and answer your questions is Mr. J. D. Crouch, the assistant secretary of Defense for International Security Policy.


        Crouch:  Great.  Thank you.

        So, thank you very much.  I see some faces that I've traveled with recently.  It's my pleasure today to brief you on the findings of the Nuclear Posture Review.  Before I get started on that, I'd like to put this report a little bit in context.

        A great deal of what we did in this report is really an outgrowth of two things: one, the president's tasking to us to transform the U.S. military and to transform it into a set of capabilities that is more suitable, more effective for the security challenges that we will face in the 21st century; and second, and perhaps particularly in the context of this NPR, it's -- this report was conducted against the backdrop of a completely new relationship with Russia, a relationship that the president has been working on very hard since the beginning of this administration and which has borne a great deal of fruit in terms of cooperative activities and the like.

        There's a great deal in this report.  It's currently been delivered to Capitol Hill.  It's a congressionally mandated report, and -- in classified form.  And what I'm obviously going to be presenting today is sort of some of the unclassified findings in summary.

        Where are our slides here?  Good.  First slide, please?

Department of Defense
United States of America

Findings of the Nuclear Posture Review

January 9, 2002

        Next slide, please.


  • Congressional Requirement
  • New Security Environment
  • Capabilities-Based Force
  • Long Term Goals and Commitments

        I'm going to go over the congressional requirements. You understand that that was really the genesis of the report. This is the first congressionally mandated Nuclear Posture Review.  But the report is much more fulsome and goes into a number of topics well beyond what was required by the congressional legislation.  And again, that was, I think, mandated both by the president's tasking to us to transform the military and the major changes in the international security environment that have occurred over the last couple of years. I'll also talk about that security environment and the context in which we think the changes in our forces that we're recommending will be unfolding over the next decade or so, conclusions about the need for a capabilities-based force, and applying the approach of a capabilities-based force to our strategic forces and talk a little bit about our long-term goals, commitments, initiatives and the like.

        Next slide, please.

Congressional Requirement

  • Nuclear Posture Review required by U.S. Congress
  • Written report from Secretary of Defense
  • Review Co-chaired by senior DoD and DOE officials
  • Constitutes a fundamental review of U.S. nuclear policy
  • Linked to U.S. nuclear force reductions that reflect the
    changed security environment

        The congressional requirement was simply to do a Nuclear Posture Review and to provide a written report from the secretary of Defense to the Congress.  This was conducted by the department in full consultation with the Department of Energy. There was a broad team that was put together to do this study. We also had additional requirements levied on us in the FY '02 budget, which we completed in this report, as well as providing a report on sustainment and modernization of our strategic forces.

        Next slide, please.

Security Environment:
Yesterday vs. Today


Cold War


  • Enduring hostility of Soviet Union
  • Known ideological, peer opponent
  • Prolonged conflict, defined blocs,
    limited number of contingencies
  • Survival stakes


New Era


  • Multiple potential opponents, sources of
    conflict, and unprecedented challenges
  • New relationship with Russia
  • Spectrum of contingencies
  • Varying and unequal stakes




  • Emphasis on deterrence
- Required high confidence
  • Reliance on olfensive nuclear forces
    exclusive of other forces
  • Nuclear planning reflected continuities
- Threat-based

- Some flexibility for a few contingencies

- Arms levels fixed by elaborate
treaties; verification


  • Assure, dissuade, deter, defeat
- Uncertainties of deterrence
  • Synergy of nuclear/non- nuclear &
  • Nuclear planning
- Capabilities-based

- Greater flexibility for range of contingencies

- Unilateral reductions preserve
flexibility; transparency

        Before I get into this, what I'd like to do is make a couple of comments about some of the people who were involved in this.  The Office of the Secretary of Defense [OSD] -- I chaired a senior steering group on this issue, along with the director for Strategic Plans in the Joint Staff, that sort of guided the process.  Additionally, we had a co-chair from the NNSA, National Nuclear Security Administration, Dr. John Gordon, who was a co-chair for nuclear issues.  All OSD organizations that anything to do with these issues were involved, as well as all the individual services, Strategic Command, and other commands, as appropriate.  It was a very broad-based participation.

        And another thing I would point out is that while the review has a number of decisions in it, which we're -- I will brief to you, there's actually quite a bit of implementation that will have to be done -- follow-on implementation and decisions that will come out of this report.  So it's an ongoing process.

        The slide that you see is really a contextual slide to show how we see the difference between the world in which our current strategic triad was built for, the Cold War world, and the context of that -- basically, a known, single ideological peer opponent; the idea that there would be prolonged conflict, a limited number of potential contingencies in which the United States and its strategic forces would have to be involved.

        And the implications of that for us was that we relied not exclusively but very heavily on our offensive nuclear forces, and we had a threat-based approach to nuclear planning, both because we had to, we had a -- the focus was on the Soviet Union, which of course is no longer with us, and because everything else was sort of a lesser included case -- any other potential contingencies were lesser included cases.

        Today we have a very different situation.  We have situation where the United States may face multiple potential opponents, but we're not sure who they might be.  There are multiple sources or potential sources of conflict.

        We also have a new relationship with Russia, which is heading down a more positive course, a much more positive course.

        And the implications of this are that, on the one hand, while it's very hard to know the who and when of when we might have to use our military forces broadly and even our strategic forces more narrowly, we do or ought to plan the how -- that is to say, what are the kinds of capabilities that we need to counter the potential adversaries or the capabilities of potential adversaries that are either extant today or that will emerge in the years to come?

        And so our conclusion here is basically that we -- the NPR underscored the need for the continued main defense goals of the QDR [Quadrennial Defense Review], to assure, dissuade, deter and defeat.

        And in the nuclear planning context, we adopted the concept of a capabilities-based force.  We underscored the need for greater flexibility for a range of contingencies that will be harder to know, and we also will be making changes in how we plan, not just our nuclear forces, but the other components of the strategic capability that I'll talk about in a second.

        Next slide, please.

Extant and Emerging Threats
to the U.S., Our Friends, and Allies

  • Proliferation of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons
    and ballistic missile delivery systems continues unabated
- 12 nations have nuclear weapons programs

- 28 nations have ballistic missiles

- 13 nations have biological weapons

- 16 nations have chemical weapons

        Among the extant and emerging threats to the United States, our friends and allies -- I've put this slide up, you've seen these kinds of things before at briefings.  But one of the things we want to focus on is the problem of weapons of mass destruction.  I think one of the things that came out of the NPR is that there is not a single solution to the problem of weapons of mass destruction.  It is not entirely a military problem, it also is a diplomatic problem.  It is also a problem that will involve other aspects of national power.  But from the military standpoint, we are concerned about the growing capabilities of various states in the biological, chemical, nuclear and ballistic-missile delivery area.  And obviously, we are also concerned explicitly about certain states that are developing those capabilities.

        Next slide, please.

New Environment and the President's Direction

  • Encourage/facilitate Russian cooperation: "new framework"
  • Cold War approach to deterrence no longer appropriate
  • End relationship with Russia based on MAD
  • Deploy the lowest number of nuclear weapons consistent with
    the security requirements of the U.S., its allies and friends
  • Achieve reductions without requirement for Cold War-style
  • Develop and field missile defenses more capable than the
    ABM Treaty permits
  • Place greater emphasis on advanced conventional weapons

        The new security environment.  This sort of focuses a little bit on the security environment in which -- and the direction that the president gave us to conduct our NPR. Obviously, first and foremost we are trying to encourage a positive relationship with Russia.  And we believe that we can do that by establishing a new framework of relations that sets aside the sort of Cold War hostilities, in particular the idea of ending the relationship with Russia that is based on mutual assured destruction.  This seems to be a very inappropriate relationship given the kinds of cooperation, for example, that have been evinced in the last few months in the campaign against global terrorism.

        We also underscored the fact that the Cold War approach to deterrence, which was highly dependent upon offensive nuclear weapons, is no longer appropriate, which is not to say that we think that nuclear weapons don't continue to play a role in that.  We think they play an important role, a fundamental role. But we also believe that other kinds of capabilities will be needed in the future.

        The other thing the president gave us, obviously, was to try to develop a framework in which we were able to reduce to the lowest possible number of operationally deployed nuclear weapons.  And the number, of course, as you know, that we came up with, or the number that he released was, in fact, informed by this review, and that is 1,700 to 2,200 operationally deployed nuclear weapons.  And additionally, we are trying to achieve these reductions without having to wait for Cold War arms-control treaties, and placing greater emphasis both on missile defense capabilities and also on the development of advanced conventional capabilities.

        Next slide, please.

QDR: Defense Policy Goals

Assure Allies and Friends

Deter Aggressors

  • Credible non-nuclear and nuclear
    response options support U.S.
  • Defenses protect security partners and
    power projection forces
  • Second-to-none nuclear capability
    assures allies and public

  • Nuclear and non-nuclear options
    provide tailored deterrent
  • Defenses discourage attack by
    frustrating adversary's attack plans
  • Infrastructure improves U.S.
    capabilities to counter emerging

Dissuade Competitors

Defeat Enemies

  • Diverse portfolio of capabilities denies
    payoff from competition
  • Non-nuclear strike favors U.S.
  • Infrastructure promises U.S.
    competitive edge

  • Strike systems can neutralize range of
    enemy targets
  • Defenses provide protection if
    deterrence fails

        This slide, you will be familiar with the titles in each block. This is, in fact, the QDR defense goals.  And what we attempted to do here -- and I'm not going to go through the slide in detail -- but what we attempted to do here was provide a overview of the kinds of capabilities that were needed in each one of these particular defense goals.

        I would note, under "Assuring Allies and Friends," we believe that developing credible non-nuclear and nuclear response options were necessary to supporting U.S. commitments. Under "Dissuading Competitors," maintaining a more diverse -- or developing a more diverse portfolio of capabilities would help to deny a payoff from competing with the United States directly in this area.  And under "Deterring Aggressors," we -- we note not only the need for nuclear and non-nuclear options, but also defenses to discourage attack by frustrating enemy attack plans and the like.

        So these are sort of the broad goals around -- and capabilities around which we conducted the analysis.

        Next slide, please.

The New Capabilities-Based Force

Traditional Threat-Based Approach

Capabilities-Based Approach

  • U.S. force size primarily reflected
    response to a specific threat

  • Nuclear offensive emphasis
  • Some flexibility in planning
  • Missile defense considered
    impractical and destabilizing

  • Capabilities for multiple contingencies
    and new threats in a changing
- Capabilities required are not country-specific

- Maintaining capabilities for unexpected and
potential threat contingencies are a priority

- Reduce risk to nation as reductions occur

  • Includes active defense and non-nuclear
- Defenses reduce dependency on offensive
strike forces to enforce deterrence

- Non-nuclear strike forces (conventional strike
and information operations) reduce
dependency on nuclear forces to provide
offensive deterrent

  • Effectiveness depends upon command
    and control, intelligence and adaptive

        This slide talks a little bit about our approach in terms of the distinction between a traditional threat-based approach and a capabilities-based approach.  As you can see, under the threat-based approach, the size of our force was primarily reflected -- was a reflection of a specific threat. There was an emphasis on nuclear offensive forces.  There was clearly some flexibility in our planning, but the requirement for flexibility and adaptability, particularly under sort of real-time conditions, was not really there during the Cold War, and missile defenses were considered by some in this time frame as impractical or destabilizing.

        The capabilities-based approach argues that there may be multiple contingencies and new threats that we have to deal with.  We're focusing on how we will fight, how we will have to fight, not who or when, and we don't really know.  We expect to be surprised, and so we have to have capabilities that would deal with a broad range of the potential capabilities that adversaries may array against us.

        These capabilities are not required to be country-specific. Indeed, in some cases, it's -- it would be difficult for them to be country-specific.  You know, one example out of -- out of today's situation, obviously, is Afghanistan, where we would not have expected to be in Afghanistan maybe six months earlier.

        We also believed it was very important to include new components or new kinds of capabilities in this approach, including active and passive defenses and non-nuclear capabilities.  The non-nuclear strike forces, we believe, have the potential, if fully exploited, fully developed, to reduce our dependency on nuclear forces for the offensive-strike leg of the -- of the component.  And even defenses give us more options and will allow us to do the same.

        The last bullet is extremely important, because it talks about effectiveness of command control, intelligence and adaptive planning.

        We believe that by improving -- investing in these areas and improving in these particular areas we're going to create a more efficient capability, one that, in fact, will allow us to reduce our forces overall but to maintain the overall capability that will be necessary as we move forward in the 21st century.

        Next slide, please.

        I'll let you stare at this for a second.  This is a pictogram that is designed to kind of tell you where we are and where we want to be.  And there's a transition that's going to go on here; it's not something that's going to happen overnight. Our strategic forces today continue to be arrayed around a triad that looks very much like it did during the Cold War: ICBMs [intercontinental ballistic missiles], bombers and SLBMs [submarine-launched ballistic missiles].  We would like to transition to what we call a new triad, a triad of forces that includes non-nuclear and nuclear strike capabilities, and notice that the smaller triad is, in fact, embedded in this.  We will continue to maintain a balanced nuclear force triad, but at a much smaller or reduced level.

        In addition to that, we think it's important to augment those capabilities with a -- defensive systems that in some cases may offer a president more options, may also reduce our reliance on offensive systems, both active and passive defensive systems, and a responsive infrastructure.  When I use that term, I'm not strictly talking about the nuclear infrastructure, I'm talking about a responsive defensive infrastructure that can respond to -- in time frames that are not in the sort of 15-20 year time frame that we are used to thinking about the development of new systems, in much shorter time frames to critical problems as well as repairing our nuclear infrastructure and supporting the forces that we currently have deployed.  So -- and that responsive infrastructure is very critical to -- repairing it is critical to being able to reduce risk as we bring the operational force down to lower and lower levels of nuclear forces.

        So basically, what we have here is a concept of reductions of our nuclear forces, but the introduction of some new elements that help to mitigate risks as we introduce new elements to the force.

        Next slide, please.

Sizing the Nuclear Force

  • A new approach to U.S. nuclear requirements to address the
    spectrum of immediate and potential contingencies
- Operationally deployed force for immediate and unexpected

- Responsive force for potential contingencies

- Preplanning is essential for immediate and potential contingencies

  • Goal of 1,700-2,200 operationally deployed warheads by 2012 to
    meet requirements of new defense policy goals
- Force sizing not driven by an immediate contingency involving Russia
  • Force structure and downloaded warheads preserved for the
    responsive force

        Now, in a capabilities-based approach we had to determine a way to size the nuclear component of the force.  And we did that by essentially adopting a completely new approach to this problem.

        And what we posited is that there are sort of immediate and potential contingencies that we will have to deal with.  In fact, there's a broad range of contingencies.  Immediate things in that category may be rogue states that we would have to deal with, WMD, states with WMD, and the like.

        And we will maintain an operationally deployed force for immediate and unexpected contingencies.  Obviously, anything that is unexpected, you're going to have to deal with, with your operationally deployed systems.  In addition to that, any sort of immediate threats that you would identify would also be dealt with with these systems. And these essentially can be thought of as, at the nuclear level, bombers and missiles that would be available right now, in minutes, to days to a few weeks.

        We also are going to maintain a responsive capability. Now, this is not a separate force, it's the ability to augment the operationally deployed force in a way where, over weeks, months and even years, that we could respond to changes.  What kinds of changes?  Potentially changes in the security environment that were more adverse than we thought. Technological surprise.  Changes in our assumptions about how well we can introduce or field new elements of the triad.

        Planning in all this continues to be a very important -- important idea.  We will continue to do pre-planning for our immediate and potential contingencies, but one of the important things that came out of the QDR is it's necessary to develop new tools for adaptively -- in a timely way adaptively creating plans for situations that may arise very quickly in an unexpected way.  And again, that was not something we had to think about in the Cold War.  We didn't think about adaptive planning in the kinds of short time-frames that we have to think about it now, because we knew who the opponent was going to be, we knew that it was going to be sort of a -- not very much time to make decisions and we would in fact have to execute very much preplanned kind of options.

        Our goal is to reach the level of 1,700 to 2,200 operationally deployed warheads within a decade to meet these requirements for the new defense policy goals.  And I think another key point that comes out of this is the idea that the force size that we have here was not driven by an immediate contingency involving Russia, because of assumptions we've made about where we think our relationship with Russia is headed and the path that Russia is on, both politically and also in terms of its own nuclear reductions.

        But we will maintain the force structure and the warheads that we take off these systems as part of that responsive force; and how we look at immediate and potential contingencies over the future will change.

        We will reassess our situation continually and in an ongoing way and probably more formally periodically.

        Next slide, please.

Sustainment of Current Nuclear Forces

  • Current force projected to remain until 2020 or longer
- Average ages of current systems are: MM-III 26 yrs; D-5 SLBMs 9 yrs;
B-52 bombers 40 yrs; B-2 bombers 5 yrs; SSBN 10 yrs

- Life extension programs for all systems

- Study alternatives for follow-ons

  • Fully fund Trident D-5 SLBM life extension program
Accelerate DOE's test readiness
- Last underground nuclear test in 1992

- No change in Administration's position on nuclear testing

· Oppose CTBT ratification

· Continued adherence to testing moratorium

        We -- this slide basically talks a little bit about the sustainment of our current nuclear forces.  To give you some idea of what's in the budget, we are currently projecting to keep the nuclear forces that we have to 2020 and beyond -- and longer, and beyond.  If you look at the average ages of some of these systems, you can see that they're as old or maybe older than some of the people in this room -- certainly as old as I am, in some cases.  We have life-extension programs that we are funding for those now that are necessary, and we are planning on life-extension programs for those that will need them in the out years.

        We are also looking at study alternatives for follow-on systems at this point, but at this point, we are planning on going with the existing force of ICBMs -- submarine-launched ballistic missiles on SSBNs [ballistic missile submarines] and bombers.  We will be fully funding the Trident D-5 SLBM life-extension program in this five-year defense plan, and we'll also be, I know, accelerating -- DOE is planning on accelerating its test- readiness program.  I point out one item on there: No change in the administration's policy at this point on nuclear testing.  We continue to oppose CTBT [comprehensive test ban treaty] ratification.  We also continue to adhere to a testing moratorium, and I know that I have a colleague here from the Department of Energy who will be happy to talk about their program in a little bit more detail, if you have any questions about that.

        Next slide, please.

Building the New Triad

  • Non-Nuclear Strike:
- Improved capabilities against hard and deeply buried targets

- Conversion of four Trident submarines to carry cruise missiles

  • Missile Defense
- Robust Research, Development, Testing and Evaluation program

- Deploy limited and effective missile defenses

  • Command and Control, Intelligence, and Planning:
- Develop secure, wide-band communications between national
decision makers, command centers and operational forces

- Develop advanced technology programs for intelligence, e.g. for
Hard and Deeply Buried Targets and mobile targets

- Upgrade STRATCOM's capability for adaptive planning

        This slide gives you some additional background on additional -- the new components of the new Triad and some of the -- some of the initiatives that we have in the report. Again, I don't want to go over all of it.  I would point, under "Non-nuclear Strike," you're probably aware of our initiative to convert four Trident submarines for cruise-missile carriage. Under "Missile Defense," we have an ongoing, robust RDT&E program.  And under the "Command Control and Planning," we have a number of initiatives that we think will help to create better intelligence, more efficient command and control and faster and adaptive planning.

        Next slide, please.

        This slide is designed to kind of give you a picture of how all these two things come together -- the reductions on the one hand but the implementation of the new Triad on the other. As we bring the force down from START I levels, which is essentially where we are now at around 6,000 warheads, down to the president's goal of 1,700 to 2,200 operationally deployed strategic nuclear weapons, we will be making decisions.  And you notice that we see periodic assessment points.  We'll be making decisions along the way about what our force structure will look like, how -- what the composition of it will be, and the like.

        And we have made initial decisions right now, including the Peacekeeper elimination, which you see there; the taking down -- taking four Trident submarines out of strategic service; and taking away the requirement for the B-1 to maintain a nuclear capability. We've also made additional decisions, which will result in additional reduction in warheads to FY '07.

        At the same time, we are going to be introducing new kinds of capabilities.  And again, this is not something that's going to happen overnight.  There's no particular order for the things you see at the bottom, but I think one of the most important elements -- and you'll see this reflected in -- when the president submits his budget, I think you will see this reflected, is to try to repair our infrastructure so that we have a more responsive infrastructure.  We will be putting dollars against the command, control and planning. And as time goes on, we hope to be able to field limited missile defense capabilities and improve our conventional strike capabilities.

        The assessment points are very important.  We have a responsive force.  We may decide at -- somewhere along the line that we have to flatten out our reductions because changes have been made in the strategic environment that require us to do that.  We may decide that we would have to increase our forces. We may also decide that we could decrease our forces further, or bring our forces down much faster, depending upon the security environment, depending upon technological surprise, and depending upon our ability and our confidence in developing new elements or fielding new elements of the triad.  So we are going to be assessing along the way, along this journey, as we reach the president's goal of 1,700 to 2,200 operationally deployed warheads in a decade.

        Next slide, please.

NPR Decisions Made

  • Reduce operationally deployed warheads to 1700-2200 over
    next decade
· Retire Peacekeeper (MX) ICBMs beginning in calendar year 2002

· Remove 4 Trident submarines from strategic service

· Will not retain capability to return B-1 to nuclear role

· Download warheads from operationally deployed ICBMs and

  • Planned reductions will be completed in phases
· By FY 07, reductions to ~ 3800

· Beyond FY 07, reductions to 1700-2200 will be completed by 2012

        This just summarizes for you the decisions that have been made. We have been over most of those.  I would also say that we're planning on downloading warheads from both the operationally deployed ICBMs and SLBMs.  And these planned reductions are going to be completed in phases.  In addition to the 1,300 START accountable warheads that will come off the force as a result of the retirement of Peacekeeper, the Tridents and the like, we will be taking additional operationally deployed warheads off existing ICBMs and SLBMs down to a level of about 3,800 by FY '07.  And beyond FY '07, we'll be making the force structure decisions on how we will be bringing down the force to 1,700 to 2,200 operationally deployed warheads.

        Next slide, please.


  • NPR charts the path for the first step in military
  • More accurately reflects new security environment
  • Replaces dependence on nuclear weapons with
    synergies between all parts of defense
  • Balances near-term risks with longer-term risks

        Just in concluding, I want to hit a couple of high points that I think were reflected in the review.  First, this new triad concept, we think, can both reduce in the long run our dependence on nuclear weapons and improve our ability to deter attack in the face of a proliferating WMD capability.  We think the combination of these new capabilities along with a smaller nuclear capability is more appropriate to the kind of security environment that the United States will enter -- has entered and will see over the next 10 to 20 years. And so in that context, I also think it's important to point out that this new triad concept really was also a way for us to draw down the force by lowering -- and lowering risk as we did -- as we draw down the force, reducing that dependence on nuclear weapons, but making the force -- the nuclear force that we retained as safe, reliable, and effective as it can be.

        And with that I will open the floor to questions.  I would also like to ask Admiral Costello from the Joint Staff and John Harvey from the Department of Energy to join me up here. They may have some additional insights and be able to answer some technical questions that I'm -- that are beyond me.

        How do we do this, in terms of the calling?  Am I the guy?

        Q:  Yeah.

        Q:  Yeah.

        Crouch:  And this guy goes first always, right?  (laughter) Okay, good.

        Q:  How are we to know who's talking?

        Crouch:  Well, you usually don't.

        Q:  My question is, there are many critics who say that while you are announcing sharp reductions in nuclear weapons here, that since you aren't going to destroy the weapons -- the warheads that you're pulling off these weapons or removing from aircraft, that you aren't really reducing nuclear weapons. Correct me if I'm wrong, you already have thousands of warheads on the shelf, in addition to the 6,000 that are deployed.  What would you say to people who say that since you're not destroying these weapons, you really aren't reducing the nuclear force, if these weapons are ready to put back on planes quickly?

        Crouch:  Right.  We are in fact -- right now, as you say, there are weapons in the stockpile -- and we refer to this as an active and an inactive stockpile.  There are a number of weapons in that stockpile.  Many of them are in the queue for dismantlement and destruction.

        Q:  Could you -- I'm sorry.  I don't mean to break in. Could you give us a ballpark figure on how many there are in addition to --

        Crouch:  That's one thing we can't do.  (laughs)  But what I can say is that, you know, as -- there have been no final decisions made at this point on what the size of our responsive capability would be, and also there have been no final decisions made on the overall size of the active stockpile and the inactive stockpile.  Those things will shift over time.

        And they are a function of a number of factors.  One of them is restoring the health of our infrastructure.  In fact, one of the interesting facts is that it's necessary to restore that infrastructure not only to be able to maintain our own -- the nuclear forces that we have, but it's the same infrastructure that in fact dismantles and retires weapons.  And so one of the things we'll -- our ability to put weapons through that process, that dismantlement process, is in some way shaped by the health of that infrastructure.

        We have been taking -- we have taken weapons all throughout the history of arms control off of systems.  I don't think there's a single arms control treaty that required you to actually destroy the weapons.  The unilateral reductions that were announced by President -- the first President Bush back in '90, '91, we -- they did mandate destroying weapons.  And there will be weapons that will be destroyed as a result of our reductions.  Which -- what we will end up with is a situation where some weapons will move off and stay in the responsive capability of the United States, others will be earmarked for destruction and will be put in the queue for destruction, and others will remain in the inactive stockpile.

        So this is going to shift over time.  It's also going to shift as a result of factors that we cannot foresee at this time frame.

        But I think the fact that -- the important fact -- and that's why I left it for last -- is that we are actually taking weapons off of the operationally deployed force.  This is the force that, you know, would be -- could be or would be used in an extreme situation, and consequently I think that is a very positive benefit, and I believe in fact the Russians will be doing a very similar thing.

        Q:  So just briefly, you are denying that the 1,700 to 2,200 figure would be -- then be misleading, since you're going to have more than 1,700 to --

        Crouch:  That -- I don't think it's misleading.

        In fact, I think I've done a -- we have all done a very good job of explaining to you and everybody else exactly what it is.  We're certainly not trying to mislead anybody.  We think it's very important, and that one of the advantages -- and we've had a situation, really since the signing of START I, where both sides have kept very high force levels on both sides and that are on operationally deployed systems.  We think it is a major step in the right direction that we're able to move those forces down to significantly lower levels, and we also think it is a prudent thing on the other side to have, in a very uncertain period, some responsive capability that we could respond to unforeseen contingencies.

        Q:  Sir?

        Crouch:  Yes?

        Q:  Could you give us a rough percentage, perhaps, of the 3,800 missiles that you -- warheads that you'd be taking off, what amount of those you would keep in the responsive force?  And could you also sketch out for me what you mean, our -- philosophically our dependence on nuclear weapons, because I didn't really get it.  I mean, you've used them only one time, in World War II, so how are we dependent on them?  What do you mean by that?

        Crouch:  Okay.  Let me take the second question first.

        When I talk about dependence on nuclear weapons, I'm talking about the fact that during the Cold War, where we were dealing with a country -- single country, essentially, a nuclear-armed country, although it had allies that were not nuclear armed -- a single armed country that had many thousands of nuclear weapons, conflict, I mean the avoidance of conflict with that country was really dependent upon offensive retaliation.  And so the fact that we -- the happy fact that we did not -- we have only used nuclear weapons once, at the end of the Second World War, does not reduce or mitigate the fact that we were, I think, very dependent upon our strategic nuclear force capabilities to deter that kind of an attack on ourselves and our allies.  So when I talk about dependence, I'm certainly not indicating that there were not roles and needs for other kinds of military capabilities.  There certainly were during the Cold War period.  But I think that today those circumstances have changed and --

        Q:  We can no longer depend on nuclear weapons to deter our future aggressors, like September 11th --

        Crouch:  I think I would put it slightly differently; that I think we need a broader array of capabilities, including nuclear forces, to deter and, if deterrence were to fail, to defend against potential adversaries.  And I also think it's important to underscore that we continue to need nuclear forces as well as other elements of the new triad, both to assure our friends and allies of U.S. security commitments and to dissuade potential competitors from competing with the United States in ways that are harmful to U.S. security and allied security.

        Q:  And the percentage of the warheads in a responsive force?

        Crouch:  Oh.  At this point no decisions have been made exactly on the character of that responsive force.  And as I said, there will be ongoing assessments on that.  And that number itself will probably change over time.


        Q:  Following on your previous answer to Pam, in the -- one statement, "a diverse portfolio of capabilities denies payoff from competition," can you give us an example of what you mean by that?

        Crouch:  Well, I think that what we want from the standpoint of dissuasion is to be in a position where other -- countries that might try to challenge the United States or might try to find sort of asymmetrical ways of attacking the United States are going to find it very difficult for two reasons.  One is we will maintain sufficient nuclear forces to put us, in effect, beyond their reach in terms of being able to develop themselves as a peer competitor to the United States.  But secondly, and I think this is more important for -- is that there are going to be a lot of cases where offensive retaliatory deterrence may not be appropriate or we may need other capabilities in the event deterrence fails, and that's where non-nuclear strike capabilities and our defensive capabilities would come into play and hopefully being able to shape -- so, for example, limited but effective defenses could well help us along with other tools to dissuade countries from investing in large numbers of ballistic missiles that might threaten the United States or our allies and friends.

        I don't know, do I go row by row here, or what's the -- sure, you'd like that, right?  We'll do this one, and then we'll go back.

        Q:  Could you explain what the difference is, if there is a difference, between inactive and the responsive force? When you refer to -- whatever, some of the -- the current operational force going into the responsive force, is that different from being in an inactive status?

        Crouch:  Unfortunately, these are not terms that are necessarily separate baskets.  When I talk about the immediate -- the operationally deployed force to deal with immediate and unexpected contingencies, those are, in fact, the forces that are deployed on a day-to-day basis that can respond in anywhere from minutes to days and a few weeks.  The responsive capability would be able to augment that force.  And it essentially will be additional warheads that could be uploaded back onto that force if necessary and, obviously, if the president were to make a decision to do that.  And that would take weeks, months, even years to do that, depending upon the system and the character of the threat.

        Q:  Presumably we have weapons in that status now, correct? Warheads that are -- that have been removed from delivery systems that are available to be uploaded --

        Crouch:  Well, we have weapons that are in the inactive stockpile.  That is correct.

        Inactive stockpile -- and I don't know, John, do you want to maybe talk a little bit about the distinction between the active and inactive stockpile?

        Harvey:  Sure.

        Crouch:  I think that might help this -- that's sort of a DOE question, but I think that will maybe give you a flavor for the distinction here.

        Harvey:  It's a very straightforward distinction.  The active stockpile is a unit, a weapon which is available, fully ready to be deployed and used.

        The inactive stockpile, typically the limited-life components that go into a nuclear warhead, such as tritium, neutron generators, things that live for a relatively short period of time in comparison with the weapon, are typically removed, and when the weapon is transitioned to the active stockpile from the inactive, those components are reinstalled in the weapon.  So the inactive weapon consists of those weapons that are not fielded with limited-life components.

        Crouch:  And there are a number of things in that inactive stockpile, including weapons that are in that dismantlement, you know, earmark or --

        Q:  So -- I'm sorry.  Can I ask just one more?  Would -- in a responsive stockpile, would the tritium be removed, or would these simply be warheads that are removed from the delivery vehicle?

        Crouch:  The responsive capability would reside in the active stockpile.  Right?  So, in other words, those forces would be maintained at -- with the critical components that John was talking about available.  Otherwise, it wouldn't be responsive, if you follow me.


        Q:  I sense that there's a -- that you want to accelerate DOE's testing readiness, but at the same time, you want to maintain a moratorium on testing.  Does that indicate that you're moving in the direction of testing, if you want to accelerate readiness?

        Crouch:  The two were actually very distinct things.  We are continuing the current administration policy, as I said, which is we continue to oppose ratification of the CTBT; we continue to adhere to a test moratorium.  And the testing readiness issue really came out of -- in fact, a number of studies that had been done prior to the NPR, including, I think, what was it, the Foster Panel, which was a congressionally mandated study, which said that two to three years from a decision to test is too long; that if you were to have a problem with a weapon system that you needed to rectify using a test, you would want to be able to do that faster.

        And so one of the recommendations that came out was that -- has nothing to do with the issue of whether we would conduct a nuclear test, but that if there was in fact a determination that we needed to conduct a nuclear test, what would be the time period -- what would be an appropriate time period?  And we're continuing to study what that time period would be.  And -- but one thing that the NPR does state is that we need to improve our readiness posture to test from its current two to three year period to something substantially better.

        Do you have anything you want to add to that?

        Harvey:  That got it.

        Crouch:  Okay.


        Q:  Preserving the existing triad, are you going to be abandoning the counting rules that you use right now under START, or -- and does that mean that you're going to be counting strictly the number of warheads and not counting a bomber as a certain number of warheads and a submarine as a certain number of warheads?

        Crouch:  START I will continue to be in force, and all of its applicable rules, including the verification provisions as well as the counting rules, are still in force.  However, when we talk about 1,700 to 2,300 operationally deployed systems, we are talking -- this is what we might call truth in advertising.  There are no phantom warheads here.  This is the actual number of weapons that we will deploy on the force.

        Now, those two things are not inconsistent, because obviously START force levels are at about 6,000 weapons, and we're going to be -- we are in fact drawing down to force levels that are not only below START I, but are below what would have been deployed under START II.

        Q:  When you say the number of weapons that will be deployed, weapons and warheads then are interchangeable there; you mean the number of warheads that will be deployed?

        Crouch:  Warheads.

        Somebody in the back.  This lady, here?

        Q:  Yeah.  Mr. Harvey, what is the status of the stockpile stewardship program, and is that going to change after the NPR is approved?

        Harvey:  We have two main responsibilities for the -- to the Department of Defense.  One is we have to assure that the stockpile is safe and reliable.  And two, we have to make sure that we respond to any requirements that the Department of Defense has with regard to modifications, refurbishments, et cetera, of nuclear warhead systems.

        We have a very aggressive stockpile stewardship program designed to surveil the nuclear weapons stockpile, to be able to assess and fix problems on a time scale relevant to DOD needs. We -- as part of that stockpile stewardship program, we intend to do this -- we feel confident we can do this without nuclear testing, but there are no guarantees.  We need to retain, as part of stockpile stewardship, an ability to, if the president so decides in response to a possible problem in the stockpile that can't be fixed without testing, that we have to be able to be prepared to carry out a test, and we maintain the readiness to do so.  Currently, that readiness is 24 to 36 months.

        That's a key element of stockpile stewardship.

        In addition, with regard to the program itself, we have a long ways to go to restore some of the capabilities we need later this decade to be able to refurbish elements of the stockpile in connection with our sustaining the force levels that J.D. talked about earlier, including elements of our SLBM force, the W-76 warhead for Trident, elements of our air-delivered systems, our cruise missile systems, the W-80 warhead for the air-launched cruise missile and the advanced cruise missile, and also some of our air-dropped bombs, the B-61 in particular.  We will need to establish and recover production capabilities in order to be able to refurbish that element of the stockpile later on this decade, and that's one of our key challenges in the future.

        Q:  Mr. Crouch?  Mr. Crouch?  Mr. Crouch?

        Crouch:  Yes?

        Q:  May I ask a question?  I know you probably think you might have answered it, but just for the average American, average public, without getting into technical terms, provided you can even avoid the word "triad", would you just explain the -- exactly what it is that you are doing and why it is important, if you can?  Just summarize what it is and why is it important.

        Crouch:  Right.  The Cold War is over.  We have a nuclear capability that was built then.  And what we are doing is we are transforming our forces in a way that I think will make -- that is much more appropriate to the security environment and the threats that we believe we will face in the future.  And as a result of that, I think we will have a U.S. military uniformly, because of that military transformation, and in this particular piece of that transformation in this new strategic triad, we will have a capability that will make the United States safer, will give the president more effective options for dealing with crises and managing crises.  And I think that that benefits every American.

        Q:  And why is this being done?  Is it strictly because of Russia, or is this also the best plan?

        Crouch:  (laughs) I think it's definitely the best way to arrange or to array our forces for the future.  And -- but I want to underscore that one of the -- I mean, one of the things that enabled us to -- gave us the opportunity to do this was our improved relationship with Russia.  So I think the two sort of go hand in hand.

        How about this gentleman?

        Q:  Thank you.  I think this is a question for Mr. Harvey. What do you see our tritium supply looking like over the next 10 years, taking into account that we're going to be -- a lot of these weapons are going to be deactivated?

           Harvey:  We're currently reestablishing a capability to produce tritium.  For the time being, given the dramatic reductions over the past 10 years of weapons moving from the active to the inactive stockpile -- that is, weapons that don't require tritium -- we've been able to free up quite a bit of tritium to be able to sustain ourselves until we can resume production.  We're currently scheduled to resume production sometime later on this decade, and I believe we're in good shape with regard to being able to support the DOD requirements.

        Q:  Does that mean that you won't be needing TVA to produce any tritium?  And does it also mean we won't have to import any?

        Harvey:  Our approach to producing tritium is to use a commercial light-water reactor, the TVA reactor approach.  And no, we -- that is our approach to producing it, and that's the capability that we'll require in the future.

        Q:  One more question.  With -- and Mr. Crouch said that not all of them would be destroyed.  I'm still not sure exactly what he means by "destroyed."  But does this reinforce or boost the need to get the MOX process up and -- MOX or immobilization going?

        Harvey:  Basically, when we talk about destroying, we talk about dismantling the warheads, taking the components that are not needed and disposing of them, but making sure that we still can take good care of the safety and security of nuclear weapon materials from the warhead.  So we will need to continue, obviously, to store those components that have special nuclear materials in them -- we call them enriched uranium or plutonium --

        McGraw:  We can take two more questions.

        Harvey:  -- until such times as they can be disposed of.

        McGraw:  Excuse me.  Didn't mean -- two more questions, folks.

        Q:  Sir, is there a doctrine of retaliation that is now replacing assured destruction, or is it just a doctrine of, you know, more options for the president?

        And specifically, when you talk about missile defense, it seems as though you're heading for a potentially very odd scenario.  Right now, if somebody were to attack the United States with a ballistic missile and weapon of mass destruction, it's assumed, I think generally, that there would be a severe retaliation, probably nuclear. You seem to be implying that if a future country were to do that, and the missile were intercepted, that country would be, quote, unquote, "rewarded" with a lesser level of retaliation, because there hasn't been actual destruction caused to the United States.  That seems to be what you're implying when you're talking about this new menu of options for the president.

        Crouch:  If that's what you think I was implying, that's certainly not what I was implying.  What I was stating is that by providing, in this particular example, an additional capability to the president, a missile defense capability, the president would be in a position to defeat the attack of a weapon of mass destruction on the United States.

        The lady earlier mentioned, you know, what's in this for the United States and what's in this for the American people? And it seems to me while deterring an attack of a weapon of mass destruction against the United States is something that we have to continue to have forces and capabilities to do, and we will certainly maintain forces and capabilities to do that, being able to defeat that attack, whether it were to come out of the Middle East or some other place, would be a far more preferable option and does not, in fact, foreclose any other options that the president might have.

        So I don't think I'm implying that we would be rewarding a country for shooting a ballistic missile.  What we would be doing, hopefully, is -- in the long run, is dissuading them from developing those missiles because to have them would be fruitless because we would have the ability to defeat them -- defeat an attack on the United States.  And I think that's a very positive outcome.

        McGraw:  One more --

        Q:  It just seems to me -- if I can follow this -- this clear implication that the macabre business of massive retaliation is being gotten rid of.  And yet, your answer just now seems to indicate that it's not, that it's still there; that you would still, in addition to intercepting the missile, retaliate massively against -- is there a doctrine that tells a president, a future president, what do to in circumstances like this?

        Crouch:  No, the president will have a -- one of the things that will come out of this is the president, hopefully, will have a much wider range of options that he can deal with. And that's why one of the initiatives here was not only to maintain a smaller nuclear force, but also to develop additional non-nuclear strike capabilities that would also be part of a -- sort of this diverse portfolio of options that the president could draw from.

        We're certainly not -- there's nothing in the review that talks about what the president's options are or are not are.  Those are really up to the president.  The main idea was that we feel we need to give the president and future presidents a broader portfolio of responses and options to deal with the kinds of uncertainties.  You know, we thought we knew fairly confidently how to deter the Soviet Union during the Cold War. I think one of the reflections here is that we're not as confident that we will be able or we will know how to deter the kinds of attacks that might be presented in the United States in the future.  And if September 11th doesn't underscore that, since I don't -- most of us did not expect that, I think nothing else would.

        (cross talk)

        Crouch:  How about somebody way in the back?

        Q:  When you talk about taking warheads off of the operationally deployed force, but keeping them available for return, are you effectively saying that they're going to be de-alerted?  And also, will warheads that are on missiles or ships that are in overhaul be considered part of the operationally deployed force?

        Crouch:  De-alerting usually refers to taking off alert the weapons platforms that you have decided to retire.  All right?  So in this context, no, because the -- basically we're actually -- and those, of course, could be brought back up to alert in a few minutes to, you know, maybe a few hours.  What we're talking about is a responsive capability that would take, at the very least weeks but likely months and even years to be able to regenerate -- would not be something that you would respond, let's say, under a tactical threat. It would be a major change in the security environment, for example.

        And to answer your second question, we are planning on maintaining a trident SSBN fleet of 14 submarines.  Two of those submarines will be in overhaul at all times, and those submarines will not have missiles available to fire, and they will not be part of the operationally deployed nuclear weapons.

        Thank you very much.

        Q:  Can I just clear up one thing you said about the 2020?  You said you'd planned to maintain the current force until 2020 -- the current force.  Does that mean you're not going to try to develop smaller nuclear weapons, earth-penetrators, and other things that -- but that you will go with conventional forces to do that kind of thing for the short term?

        Crouch:  (to McGraw) And I'm violating your rule.  I shouldn't do this, right?

        (to press)  At this point, there are no recommendations in the report about developing new nuclear weapons.  The -- so I don't know whether that answers the question, but I think that's where we stand. Now, we are trying to look at a number of initiatives.  One would be to modify an existing weapon, to give it greater capability against deep and hardly -- or hard targets and deeply-buried targets.  And we're also looking at non-nuclear ways that we might be able to deal with those problems.

        Q:  Thank you.


[Web version: http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Jan2002/t01092002_t0109npr.html]


Statement of the Honorable Douglas J. Feith

Undersecretary of Defense for Policy

Senate Armed Services Hearing on the Nuclear Posture Review

February 14, 2002


The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2001 required the Secretary of Defense, in consultation with the Secretary of Energy, to conduct a comprehensive review of U.S. nuclear forces and to develop a long-range plan for the sustainment and modernization of United States strategic nuclear forces. The Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) constitutes the Department of Defense response to this requirement.

We submitted the NPR to Congress on January 8, 2002. It is the first comprehensive review of nuclear forces since 1994, when the first Nuclear Posture Review was completed. The primary purpose of the 1994 review was to determine the strategic nuclear force structure to be deployed under the second Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START II).

The current review of the U.S. nuclear posture differs from the 1994 review. The 1994 review assumed that the central strategic U.S. concern was managing a potentially hostile relationship between the two largest nuclear powers. The current review recognizes that the United States and Russia have a new relationship, and that the proliferation of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles has created new challenges for deterrence. It defines the capabilities required of the nuclear forces in the new strategic environment, and in relation to other U.S. defense capabilities. Most especially, it recognizes that Russia, unlike the Soviet Union, is not an enemy. There is ground for mutual cooperation, and the United States is seeking to move beyond the outdated Cold War nuclear confrontation to develop a new strategic framework with Russia.

A New Era

The basic features of the Cold War shaped our approach to security, including the role and size of our nuclear forces and deterrence policies. Our current nuclear triad of ICBMs, bombers, and ballistic missile submarines, and the ways we have pursued deterrence and arms control negotiations, reflect the conditions of Cold War. The new features of the international system, particularly the types of threats we face, are dramatically different. Consequently, President Bush charged the Department of Defense with transforming our approach to defense, including nuclear weapons and missile defenses, to meet the new challenges of the post-Cold War era.

During the Cold War we faced a single, ideologically hostile nuclear superpower. We prepared for a relatively limited number of very threatening conflicts with the Soviet Union. Much of the world was part of two competing alliances and the stakes involved in this competition were survival for both sides. We must never lose sight of just how dangerous the situation was.

There was, however, considerable continuity and predictability in this competition of two global alliance systems. For decades, U.S. nuclear forces were organized and sized primarily to deter the Soviet Union, and there were few sharp turns in U.S.-Soviet relations. Based on the continuities of the international system at the time, the successful functioning of nuclear deterrence came to be viewed as predictable, ensured by a sturdy "balance of terror." Many argued that defenses which might lessen that terror by offering protection against Soviet nuclear attack would instead undermine the predictable "stability" of the balance of terror.

The Cold War system of two competing blocs has been replaced by a new system, one with a broad spectrum of potential opponents and threatening contingencies. The continuities of the past U.S.-Soviet relationship have been replaced by the unpredictability of potential opponents who are motivated by goals and values we often do not share nor well understand, and who move in directions we may not anticipate. We no longer confront the severe but relatively predictable threats of the Cold War; instead we have entered an era of uncertainty and surprise. As the attacks of September 11th demonstrated, we must now expect the unexpected. What we can predict today is that we will face unanticipated challenges, a range of opponents-some familiar, some not-with varying goals and military capabilities, and a spectrum of potential contingencies involving very different stakes for the United States and its foes. These conditions do not permit confident predictions about the specific threats against which we must prepare or the "stability" of deterrence.

Of particular concern in this era of uncertainty is the emergence of hostile, regional powers armed with missiles and nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons of mass destruction. When the U.S. failed to deter or promptly defeat a challenge in the past, two great oceans generally provided protection to American civil life. Nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons technology, however, increasingly is in the hands of brutal leaders who have few institutional or moral constraints and are motivated by an extreme hatred of the United States and the personal freedoms and liberties we hold dear. This emerging feature of the international landscape has rendered the failure to deter or promptly defeat a threat much more dangerous for all Americans. We can no longer take comfort in the belief that the conflict will be "over there," or that opponents will be deterred in predictable ways. As was illustrated by September 11th, we now confront enemies who are eager to inflict mass destruction on innocent civilians here and abroad, without regard for the possible cost.

Transforming Defense

What are the implications of these changes in the international system for how we think about security? Most basically, we must transform our forces and planning to meet the dramatically different conditions of the new security environment. Rather than focusing on a single peer opponent, and preparing for a few threatening contingencies, we now need the flexibility to tailor military capabilities to a wide spectrum of contingencies, to address the unexpected, and to prepare for the uncertainties of deterrence. We can no longer approach our military requirements by conveniently defining one or a few countries as the specified "threat," and then sizing our military capabilities against that defined threat. U.S. planning can no longer be so "threat-based" because, in an era of uncertainty, the precise source of "the threat" is unpredictable.

Our defense preparations must now focus on, and be responsive to, a wide spectrum of potential opponents, contingencies, and threatening capabilities, some of which will be surprising. A capabilities-based approach to defense planning will look more at the broad range of capabilities and contingencies that the United States may confront in the future, as opposed to planning against a fixed set of opponents identified as the threat.

Nuclear weapons will continue to be essential, particularly for assuring allies and friends of U.S. security commitments, dissuading arms competition, deterring hostile leaders who are willing to accept great risk and cost to further their evil ends, and for holding at risk highly threatening targets that cannot be addressed by other means.

Instead of our past primary reliance on nuclear forces for deterrence, we will need a broad array of nuclear, non-nuclear and defensive capabilities for an era of uncertainty and surprise. The United States will transform its strategic planning from an approach that has been based almost exclusively on offensive nuclear weapons, to one that also includes a range of non-nuclear and defensive capabilities. In particular, because deterrence will function less predictably in the future, the United States will need options to defend itself, its allies and friends against attacks that cannot be deterred.

A New Triad for a New Era

The current nuclear triad is a legacy of the Cold War. It is exclusively nuclear and offensive. As part of the defense transformation, we will move to a New Triad. The New Triad comprises a more diverse set of nuclear and non-nuclear, offensive and defensive capabilities. These capabilities encompass nuclear forces and non-nuclear strike means (including information warfare), passive and active defenses (notably missile defense), and the defense-industrial infrastructure needed to build and sustain the offensive and defensive elements of the New Triad. Command, control and intelligence systems are also critical to deterrence. They form an integral part of the New Triad.

This New Triad will provide the United States with the broad range of capabilities suitable for an era of uncertainty and a wide variety of potential opponents and contingencies. In some cases, where nuclear weapons may have been necessary for deterrence and defense in the past, the use of advanced non-nuclear strike capabilities or defensive systems may now be sufficient militarily, involve less risk for the U.S. and our allies, and be more credible to foes. In some cases, nuclear weapons may remain necessary to deter or defeat a particularly severe threat. The New Triad will provide the spectrum of offensive and defensive military capabilities, and the flexibility in planning necessary to address the new range of contingencies, including the unexpected and the undeterrable.

The New Triad differs in a number of important ways from the current triad. In addition to the difference in its overall composition, the strategic nuclear forces of the New Triad are divided into two new categories: the operationally deployed force and the responsive force.

The operationally deployed force includes bomber and missile warheads that are available immediately or within a matter of days. These forces will be available to address immediate or unexpected contingencies. Thus, our stated nuclear forces will correspond to our actual nuclear deployments, which did not occur during the Cold War. By using such "truth in advertising," we will no longer count "phantom warheads" that could be deployed, but are not. To address potential contingencies-more severe dangers that could emerge over a longer period of time-the responsive force augments the operationally deployed force, largely through the loading of additional warheads on bombers and ballistic missiles. Such a process would take weeks to years. The capability for force reconstitution provided by the responsive force allows significant reduction in the current number of operationally deployed nuclear warheads. This reduction can be achieved prudently and without the need for drawn out and difficult negotiations.

In addition, the New Triad expressly serves multiple defense policy goals. Deterrence of nuclear or large-scale conventional aggression was viewed as the main objective of the Cold War triad. The deterrence of aggression, although still an essential aim, is just one of four defense policy goals for the New Triad. The capabilities of the New Triad, like other U.S. military forces, not only must deter coercion or attack, but also must assure allies and friends of U.S. security commitments, dissuade adversaries from competing militarily with the United States, and, if deterrence fails, decisively defeat an enemy while defending against its attacks on the United States, our friends, and our allies. Linking nuclear forces to multiple defense policy goals, and not simply to deterrence, recognizes that these forces, and the other parts of the New Triad, perform key missions in peacetime as well as in crisis or conflict. How well the New Triad serves these multiple goals¾thereby enabling us to cope effectively with the uncertainty and unpredictability of the security environment¾is the standard for judging its value.

The New Triad offers several advantages in this regard. Its more varied portfolio of capabilities, for example, makes it a more flexible military instrument. This greater flexibility offers the President more options for deterring or defeating aggression. Within the New Triad, nuclear forces will be integrated with, rather than treated in isolation from, other military capabilities. This creates opportunities for substituting non-nuclear strike capabilities for nuclear forces and defensive systems for offensive means. This does will not blur the line between nuclear and non-nuclear weapons, but it will reduce the pressures to resort to nuclear weapons by giving U.S. Presidents non-nuclear options to ensure U.S. security.

The New Triad reflects a capabilities-based approach to nuclear force planning and the type of defense transformation required in a new era. It deserves wide support. It gives the United States the greater strategic flexibility needed in an era characterized by surprise. It provides the basis for shifting some of the strategic requirements for dissuading, deterring, and defeating aggression from nuclear forces to non-nuclear strike capabilities, defensive systems, and a responsive infrastructure. As we reduce our nuclear forces to bring them into line with the security environment, the New Triad will mitigate the risks inherent in an increasingly fluid and dynamic security environment. Getting to the New Triad will require us to sustain a smaller strategic nuclear force, reinvigorate our defense infrastructure, and develop new non-nuclear strike, command and control, intelligence, and planning capabilities so that we possess the ability to respond to the kinds of surprises the new security environment holds. By taking these steps, we will reduce our dependence on nuclear weapons and build a New Triad that serves a broader range of American national security goals.

Strategic Nuclear Forces in the New Triad

The positive shift in the U.S. relationship with Russia is of great significance in considering today’s nuclear force requirements. Russia is not the Soviet Union, nor is it an enemy. We no longer have to focus our energies on preparing for a massive Soviet nuclear first strike. Rather, we now seek a new strategic framework with Russia to replace the Cold War’s balance of terror.

President Bush has announced his decision to reduce our operationally deployed strategic nuclear force to 1700-2200 warheads over the next decade, a level informed by the analysis of the NPR. While roughly one-third the number of our currently operationally deployed warheads, this range is adequate to support our new defense policy goals, including the deterrence of immediate contingencies. It also preserves the flexibility and capability for reconstitution necessary to adapt to any adverse changes in the new security environment.

These reductions, and other adjustments in our offensive and defensive capabilities, will be achieved outside the Cold War’s adversarial and endless negotiating process that was centered on the balance of nuclear terror. Today, that competitive and legalistic process would be counterproductive. It would impede or derail the significant reductions both sides now want; it would lock both sides into fixed nuclear arsenals that could be excessive or inadequate in the future; and, by perpetuating the Cold War strategic relationship, it would inhibit movement to a far better strategic framework for relations.

I would like to highlight five key findings of the NPR. Each needs to be well understood:

1. A New Relationship With Russia: Away From MAD

The planned reductions to 1700-2200 operationally deployed nuclear warheads are possible and prudent given the new relationship with Russia. We can reduce the number of operationally deployed warheads to this level because, in the NPR, we excluded from our calculation of nuclear requirements for immediate contingencies the previous, long-standing requirements centered on the Soviet Union and, more recently, Russia. This is a dramatic departure from the Cold War approach to nuclear force sizing, which focused first and foremost on sustaining our side of the balance of terror and mutual assured destruction (MAD). In the NPR we moved away from this MAD policy framework.

This, of course, is not to imply that we will not retain significant nuclear capabilities, or that we can ignore developments in Russia’s (or any other nation’s) nuclear arsenal. Nuclear capabilities will continue to be essential to our security, and that of our friends and allies.

Nevertheless, we no longer consider a MAD relationship with Russia the appropriate basis for calculating our nuclear requirements. MAD is a strategic relationship appropriate to enemies, to deep-seated hostility, and distrust. Russia is not our enemy, and we look forward to a new strategic framework for our relations.

2. Reductions Plus Security

The President’s plan for nuclear reductions permits us to cut the number of operationally deployed nuclear weapons by about 65%, to levels far below current levels, without taking great risks with America’s safety. The new relationship with Russia makes such cuts possible, and the President’s plan prudently preserves our option to respond to the possible emergence of new threats. Some commentators say we should continue to reduce our forces without preserving our capacity to adapt to changing circumstances, but doing so would require an ability to predict the future with enough accuracy to ensure we will not be surprised or face new threats.

Because the future almost certainly will, in fact, bring new dangers, we do not believe it is prudent to set in stone the level and type of U.S. nuclear capabilities. We have embarked on a program to deploy a New Triad that may allow us increasingly to rely on non-nuclear capabilities, and under the President’s plan we have the option to adjust our nuclear forces down even further than now planned if appropriate. If severe new threats emerge, however, we must also retain the capacity to respond as necessary. The President’s plan is a reasonable way to both reduce nuclear forces and prudently preserve our capability to adjust to the shifting requirements of a dynamic security environment. In the NPR we have recognized that force requirements are driven fundamentally by the realities of a changing threat environment, and we have adopted, in the capabilities-based approach, the commonsense standard that we must retain the flexibility necessary to adjust to and shape that environment.

3. New Emphasis on Non-nuclear and Defensive Capabilities

The President’s plan, for the first time, emphasizes the potential for substituting non-nuclear and defensive capabilities for nuclear capabilities. In many likely cases involving an attack against us, our allies or friends, it will be far better to have non-nuclear and defensive responses available. For example, during the Cold War, one of the President’s only options to limit damage to the United States was to strike the enemy’s offensive weapons, raising the stakes in any confrontation. Defenses will offer the ability to limit damage to the United States without requiring America to "fire the first shot." In the case of an accidental launch of nuclear-armed missiles, defenses will give us the opportunity to destroy such weapons before they inflict any damage on the United States, its friends, or allies.

The NPR, for the first time, explicitly calls for the integration of non-nuclear and defensive capabilities as part of our strategic triad. This is another reason we can move forward with deep nuclear reductions while being careful to preserve our security. The new non-nuclear and defensive capabilities that are emphasized in the NPR may also provide the basis for further nuclear reductions in the future, depending on their effectiveness.

4. A New Diverse Portfolio of Military Capabilities for an New World

The NPR’s call for a New Triad begins the transformation of our strategic capabilities to suit a world that is very different from that of the Cold War. In the past we focused on the Soviet Union and a few severely threatening contingencies. We prepared our military to address this relatively narrow Cold War threat.

Today the sources of the threats that face us are much more diverse and even unpredictable, as the September 11 attacks showed. The spread of missiles and weapons of mass destruction makes the current spectrum of potential opponents significant. Whereas in the past, only the Soviet Union posed a serious threat to American cities, in the foreseeable future, several countries¾and perhaps some non-state actors¾will present such a risk. Our defensive capabilities must take these new post-Cold War realities into account.

The President’s plan will transform our military to provide us with a new portfolio of capabilities to meet these new threats, even while reducing our reliance on nuclear weapons. This portfolio will enable us not only to tailor our force options to the range of potential contingencies and types of opponents, it will help us to shape the threat environment in the most benign directions possible.

5. The Rejection of Adversarial Negotiations

The rejection of the Cold War’s adversarial-style of arms control negotiations represents a key change introduced in the NPR. The NPR moves us beyond the essentially hostile and competitive negotiations of the Cold War because such negotiations no longer reflect the reality of U.S.-Russian relations. We do not negotiate with Britain or France with regard to the permitted features of our respective nuclear capabilities. Although our relations with Russia are not yet comparable to our relations with our allies, they are not based on Cold War hostilities.

Were we to have put nuclear reductions on hold until we could have hammered out a Cold War-style arms control agreement with Russia, we would not be making the reductions we plan over the next decade. We would be under pressure to hold on to the weapons we no longer require as bargaining chips because that is the logic of adversarial arms control. Russia would be pressed by the same logic.

We see no reason to try to dictate the size and composition of Russia’s strategic nuclear forces by legal means. Russian forces, like our forces, will decline about two-thirds over the next decade. In truth, if the Russian government considers the security environment threatening enough to require an adjustment in its nuclear capabilities, it would pursue that adjustment irrespective of its obligations under a Cold War-style treaty. In fact, the Russian government did just that in 1995 with regard to the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty. Because the security situation had changed, Russia did not meet its obligations to reduce its conventional forces to the proscribed levels. The Russian Defense Minister at the time stated that Moscow would not fulfill legal obligations that "bind us hand and foot."

A highly dynamic security environment such as we now confront ultimately cannot be tamed by rigid, legal constructs, however sincerely entered into. It would be highly imprudent now to rigidly fix our capacity to respond to and shape such an environment by extending the negotiating practices of the Cold War into the future. We seek a new strategic framework in our relationship with Russia, not a perpetuation of the old.

Reducing the Number of Nuclear Warheads

Some now argue that the nuclear weapons removed from our strategic forces must be destroyed or the announced reductions would be "a subterfuge." The NPR, of course, calls for the destruction of some, but not all of the U.S. warheads removed from the operationally deployed force. We must retain these weapons to give the United States a responsive capability to adjust the number of operationally deployed nuclear weapons should the international security environment change and warrant such action. Presidents from both parties have long recognized the need for such a capability. For example, the previous Administration adopted a "lead and hedge" policy with regard to reductions below the levels required by the START II Treaty in the 1994 NPR. The last Administration planned to retain the U.S. ability to regenerate capabilities reduced by the START II Treaty as a "hedge" against the possibility that Russia might reverse its course towards democracy. The previous Administration continued that policy through its last day in office.

The current Nuclear Posture Review makes a similarly prudent decision to maintain the ability to restore capabilities we now plan to reduce. The difference, however, is that the NPR’s responsive force is not being sized according to the dictates of a possible resurgence in the threat from Russia. Instead, our new responsive capability is being defined according to how it contributes to the four goals of dissuading potential adversaries, assuring allies, deterring aggression, and defeating enemies.

At this time, the appropriate size of our responsive force has not been determined. However, the analysis that helped determine the size of the operationally deployed force and the decision to pursue non-nuclear capabilities in the New Triad suggests that our responsive capability will not need to be as large as the "hedge" force maintained by the previous Administration. Moreover, our responsibility to ensure U.S. security virtually dictated the maintenance of a significant number of stored warheads. First, both the United States and the Soviet Union recognized during the Cold War that the number and nature of their operationally deployed nuclear forces ready to go at a moment’s notice were the key determinants of their respective capabilities. That is why both sides pursued arms control agreements that sought to affect the nature and number of deployed nuclear delivery vehicles and why existing arms control treaties never addressed the issue of warhead dismantlement. In that context, implementing the NPR will significantly reduce the number of U.S. deployed warheads and change the nature of our nuclear arsenal by downloading the delivery vehicles. In short, the NPR addresses the most important aspects of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

Given the era of uncertainty we now face, maintaining a responsive force is only prudent and consistent with the capabilities-based approach to our defense planning.

Finally, the pace with which we reduce the nuclear stockpile will be determined in part by the state of our infrastructure and the very real limits of our physical plant and workforce, which has deteriorated significantly. For example, the United States today is the only nuclear weapon state that cannot remanufacture replacements or produce new nuclear weapons. Consequently, we are dependent on stored weapons to maintain the reliability, safety, and credibility of our stockpile and to guard against the possibility of a technical or catastrophic failure in an entire class of nuclear weapons. Other nuclear states are not bound by this limitation of their infrastructure. Repairing the U.S. nuclear infrastructure and building the responsive infrastructure component of our New Triad may well permit us to reduce the size of the nuclear stockpile needed to support the responsive force.

In sum, the NPR develops an approach to reductions that provides an accounting of reductions that reflects "truth in advertising," protects conventional capabilities from efforts to limit nuclear arms, and preserves the flexibility necessary in an era of uncertainty and WMD proliferation. This is the only prudent path to deep reductions given the realities of the threat environment we face.


Developing and fielding the capabilities for the New Triad will require a dedicated effort over the next decade. Program development activities must be paced and completed in a manner such that the integration of capabilities results in the synergistic payoff envisioned for the New Triad. The Department has identified an initial slate of program activities that we propose to fund beginning in FY2003.

DoD Infrastructure. Funding for the sustainment of strategic systems will be increased. This effort will support surveillance and testing of weapon systems slated for life extension programs such as the Air-Launched Cruise Missile (ALCM) and the Advanced Cruise Missile (ACM). We propose to conduct additional test flights for solid rocket motors and to increase our efforts for unique technologies for strategic systems, such as missile electronics and navigation. In addition, the Department will fund the development and qualification of radiation-hardened parts for strategic systems.

Offensive Strike. Funding has been programmed for two specific advanced conventional weapon applications and one concept development program to explore options for advanced strike systems. The two advanced conventional strike applications include a fast-response, precision-impact, conventional penetrator for hard and deeply buried targets and the modification of a strategic ballistic missile system to enable the deployment of a non-nuclear payload.

Missile Defense. The Department will conduct an aggressive R&D program for ballistic missile defense and we are evaluating a spectrum of technologies and deployment options.

Strike Support. Advancements in offensive and defensive capabilities alone will be inadequate without enhancements in sensors and technology to provide detailed information on adversary plans, force deployments, and vulnerabilities. Such systems are critical in developing the advanced command and control, intelligence, and adaptive planning capabilities required to integrate all three legs of our New Triad. Therefore the Department has proposed additional funding for the development of advanced sensors and imagery, for improved intelligence and assessment, and for modernization of communications and targeting capabilities in support of evolving strike concepts.


A half a century ago, in the midst of the Cold War, Prime Minister Winston Churchill noted in the House of Commons the "sublime irony" that in the nuclear age, "safety will be the sturdy child of terror and survival the twin brother of annihilation." The Cold War is long over and new approaches to defense are overdue. As President Bush has stated, "We are no longer divided into armed camps, locked in a careful balance of terror.…Our times call for new thinking." The New Triad, outlined in the Nuclear Posture Review, responds to the President’s charge.


No. 113-02
March 9, 2002


We will not discuss the classified details of military planning or contingencies, nor will we comment on selective and misleading leaks.

The Nuclear Posture Review is required by law. It is a wide-ranging analysis of the requirements for deterrence in the 21st century. This review of the U.S. nuclear posture is the latest in a long series of reviews since the development of nuclear weapons. It does not provide operational guidance on nuclear targeting or planning.

The Department of Defense continues to plan for a broad range of contingencies and unforeseen threats to the United States and its allies. We do so in order to deter such attacks in the first place.

Of particular significance in the new Nuclear Posture Review is President Bush's decision to reduce operationally deployed strategic nuclear weapons by two-thirds, a decision made possible by the new strategic relationship with Russia.

This administration is fashioning a more diverse set of options for deterring the threat of WMD. That is why the Administration is pursuing missile defense, advanced conventional forces, and improved intelligence capabilities.

A combination of offensive and defensive, and nuclear and non-nuclear capabilities, is essential to meet the deterrence requirements of the 21st century.

For more information, see the Nuclear Posture Review foreword and the Jan. 9 DoD news briefing transcript and accompanying briefing slides . [All three above.]

March 10, 2002


[7 pages.]









FEBRUARY 14, 2002

Mr. Chairman, Senator Warner, Distinguished Members of the Committee. . .

I appreciate the opportunity to appear before you today to testify on the Nuclear Posture Review. As you know this is my first appearance before this committee since my confirmation hearing last September. I am honored to be invited to participate in this hearing on a major report, the conclusions of which will reshape and revitalize, respectively, our strategic policy and capabilities.

As Congress recognized in the Fiscal Year 2001 National Defense Authorization Act, a periodic comprehensive review of our nation’s strategic posture is appropriate as the national security environment changes. The last Nuclear Posture Review was conducted eight years ago to address how to effectively draw down our strategic forces in the post-Cold War world. For a number of reasons, including a rapidly changing international environment and complex new national security challenges, the time is right to again assess our strategic direction. This Nuclear Posture Review provides that assessment and, indeed, moves beyond assessment to provide the initial details of a new direction, proposing a comprehensive approach that builds on the Quadrennial Defense Review’s strategic foundation of assure, dissuade, deter, defend and defeat.

As you know, the Nuclear Posture Review was conducted by the Office of the Secretary of Defense. US Strategic Command participated in the review as did the Joint Staff and the Services, particularly the Air Force and the Navy. We were consulted on many issues and provided our expertise as well as our frank opinions on the report’s findings as they were developed. I am pleased with the Nuclear Posture Review’s balance and focus and look forward to working with Congress, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, and the Services as we work to implement these findings in the months ahead.

Many of the details and key issues involving the Nuclear Posture Review are familiar to you and have been addressed by others, but I would, however, like to discuss some of the key findings from my perspective as the combatant commander of our Nation’s strategic forces.

Modernization and Sustainment

The first finding I’d like to highlight is the recognition of a pressing need for investment across the full range of our strategic capabilities. As we work to reduce deployed strategic nuclear warheads, this investment is needed to sustain and improve our aging operating forces, to recapitalize our infrastructure which has atrophied over the last ten years, and to refine and enhance current systems. Reductions of operationally deployed nuclear warheads to the lowest numbers consistent with national security, as the President directed, will require that remaining systems be reliable, sustainable and, therefore, fully credible.

As you know, our current operating forces, our intercontinental ballistic missiles, our bombers, and our strategic ballistic missile submarines, and their weapons, will remain the backbone of our strategic strike forces for at least the next twenty years. These platforms and their weapon systems are projected to remain in service well beyond their original design lives and require significant sustained investment to monitor and, if necessary, to replace aging and obsolete components in addition to more comprehensive overhauls or life extension programs. The NPR fully recognizes this.

Our operating forces could not be effective without robust complementary capabilities including command, control and communications systems as well as effective intelligence and planning support. Increased strategic flexibility and adaptability will require an equally robust but much more capable nuclear command and control system. The Nuclear Posture Review identifies advances in speed and capabilities in these areas as critical to improving the capabilities of our strike forces. General Myers, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has similarly identified improvement in command and control capabilities as a vital component of our military’s transformation. I fully support this renewed focus on improving these military capabilities. Investments in these areas are critical enablers to not only strategic forces but our overall military capability.

As the Secretary of Defense stated in his testimony last June, our military has been forced to make increasingly difficult choices between equally necessary procurement, readiness, and research and development needs over the last ten years. Strategic forces have not been excluded from this trend. The Nuclear Posture Review recognizes this and recommends renewed investment in existing and future operating forces, supporting capabilities and strategic infrastructure. I fully support those recommendations. Thank you for the positive steps you’ve already taken in this committee to provide much needed funding to improve these capabilities and for your continued support in this vital area.

Nuclear Warhead Reductions

A second key finding of the Nuclear Posture Review is the need for a measured approach to operationally deployed nuclear warhead reductions. This approach meets the President’s direction and establishes as a goal the lowest number of deployed strategic nuclear warheads consistent with the Nation’s national security needs. I fully support it.

The Nuclear Posture Review directs periodic assessments to evaluate the strategic environment and our progress in developing new capabilities for our strategic forces. These assessments allow us to respond appropriately to any emerging threat, dissuade any potential adversary and provide assurance to our allies of our resolve.

Broader Definition of Strategic Forces

The third key finding of the Nuclear Posture Review is the recognition that our strategic capabilities should not be limited to nuclear weapons alone. The inclusion of non-nuclear, and, potentially, non-kinetic capabilities into our strategic options provides a number of benefits. First, it helps to raise the nuclear threshold by providing the President with strategic options in a crisis or conflict that do not rely solely on nuclear weapons, yet still convey the Nation’s resolve and determination. Second, integrating non-nuclear capabilities into strategic forces strengthens our joint approach to developing and operating military forces. In the past, there have often been unique requirements for nuclear forces beyond those of conventional forces. Now, with technological advances, we have the potential to seamlessly integrate existing or projected enhancements to non-nuclear capabilities such as communications, intelligence flow and precision strike to improve our strategic capabilities. The integration of what had previously been considered conventional capabilities into national strategic plans allows for the development of responsive, adaptive, and interoperable joint forces that can be employed in a wider range of contingencies. There are certainly challenges associated with incorporating non-nuclear capabilities into our strategic forces, however, the benefits far outweigh the concerns.

Operational Flexibility

The final finding of the Nuclear Posture Review is the need for more flexible and adaptive planning in support of our strategic forces. US Strategic Command is in the process of developing a more flexible and adaptive planning system that retains the rigor and expertise developed over the last forty years, yet employs modern computing techniques and streamlined processes to significantly improve our planning capability for rapid, flexible crisis response in the face of new national security challenges. This new approach to planning will require significantly more collaboration with the regional combatant commanders as we continue to better integrate our military capabilities across the spectrum of conflict.


There are many positive results that will accrue from the Nuclear Posture Review process. A comprehensive and focused assessment of our strategic posture has provided new concepts that can both allow us to reduce our deployed nuclear weapons inventory and strengthen our national security to meet this era’s new challenges. This bold change in direction will allow us to begin shifting our focus from the number of launchers and weapon platforms stipulated by previous treaties and based on latent mistrust of former adversaries. Instead, we will move toward significantly lower numbers of operationally deployed nuclear weapons reflecting our new relationship with Russia and technologically transform our strategic posture from a purely nuclear focus to the broader capabilities of the New Triad.

The New Triad, when development is complete, will include improved strategic strike forces, active and passive defenses, and a responsive infrastructure all supported by improved command and control as well as robust intelligence and planning capabilities. Over the next decade two of the legs of the NPR’s New Triad, defenses and a responsive infrastructure, will be combined with a modernized strategic strike force including nuclear and nonnuclear options. This New Triad can broaden the definition of strategic forces, enhance deterrence concepts against a wider range of threats and offer dramatic improvements in the speed, accuracy and agility of the full range of our nation’s military response.

I look forward to reporting in the future on our progress in implementing the findings of the Nuclear Posture Review as we, together, reshape our strategic capabilities to meet the challenges of this new era.

Thank you very much. I welcome your questions.



Basic Terminology of the Nuclear Posture Review

Strategic Nuclear Forces (Strategic Weapon Systems): Strategic nuclear platforms with their associated strategic nuclear weapons.

- Strategic nuclear platforms: (retained in the NPR)
* 14 SSBNs

* 500 MMIII

* 76 B-52s & 21 B-2s

- Strategic nuclear platform reductions:

* 50 Peacekeeper missiles

* 4 Trident submarines

* All B-1s (nuclear re-role requirement eliminated)

Strategic Nuclear Weapon: A nuclear warhead and its necessary arming, fuzing and firing components necessary to produce a nuclear yield that can be loaded on a strategic platform.

Nuclear Warhead: A device that contains the nuclear or thermonuclear system.

Strategic Active Stockpile: Operationally Deployed Weapons, the responsive force and logistic spares.

- Operationally Deployed Weapons: Strategic nuclear weapons that are on operational ballistic missiles or on bombers or in bomber base weapon storage areas (logistic spares in bomber weapon storage areas would not be counted). Operationally Deployed Weapons are for immediate and unexpected threats.

- Responsive Force: Strategic nuclear weapons available for uploading on existing strategic nuclear platforms. (Note: Some weapons may be in inactive stockpile.)

- Logistic Spares: Strategic nuclear weapons required to meet Operationally Deployed Strategic Nuclear Weapons maintenance requirements.

Strategic Inactive Stockpile: Strategic nuclear warheads reserved for DOE’s Quality Assurance and Reliability Testing (QART) and Reliability Replacement requirements. These warheads have certain limited life components removed, but are otherwise maintained to the same standards as weapons in the active stockpile.

- Quality Assurance and Reliability Testing (QART): Nuclear warheads retained in the inactive stockpile to replace weapons in the active stockpile withdrawn for DOE’s surveillance program.

- Reliability Replacement: Nuclear warheads retained in the inactive stockpile to replace similar weapons in the stockpile that suffer a catastrophic failure.

Total Strategic Stockpile: The summation of the strategic active stockpile and strategic inactive stockpile

The following are not part of the stockpile.

10 March 2002


[12 pages.]

Statement of John A. Gordon
Under Secretary for Nuclear Security and Administrator,
National Nuclear Security Administration
U. S. Department of Energy
Before the
Committee on Armed Services
U.S. Senate

14 February 2002


Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to meet with you today on the Nuclear Posture Review and the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) role in working with the Department of Defense to implement it.

The NPR review of future national security needs, and the nuclear weapons stockpile and infrastructure required to support it, was carried out by DoD in close consultation and cooperation with the NNSA. Secretary Abraham and I fully endorse Secretary Rumsfeld’s December 2001 Report to Congress on the NPR.

The central question that I want to address today is: What are the implications of the NPR for nuclear weapons programs? More broadly, what does NNSA need to do to implement the findings and recommendations of the NPR? Let me first give the “short answer,” which I will then develop more fully.

First, the NPR reaffirms that nuclear weapons, for the foreseeable future, will remain a key element of U.S. national security strategy. As a result, NNSA must continue to assure the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear stockpile. Our stockpile stewardship program is designed to do just that, and to do so in the absence of nuclear testing.

Second, the NPR reaffirms the stockpile refurbishment plan agreed previously between DoD and NNSA, which calls for three warhead refurbishment programs—the W80, the W76 and the B61—to begin later this decade. As a result, NNSA must press ahead with its efforts to reverse the deterioration of its nuclear weapons infrastructure, restore lost production capabilities, and modernize others in order to be ready to begin those refurbishments on schedule.

This raises a key point—the NPR will not reduce NNSA’s costs or workload anytime soon. Regardless of the eventual size of the future stockpile, we will need to meet the agreed timelines, established with DoD well before the NPR, to begin refurbishments later this decade on the three warhead types. In this regard, near-term costs are driven not by the total number of warheads to be refurbished, but by the need to restore production capabilities in time to carry out the first refurbishment of each type. Possible cost savings from having to refurbish fewer warheads for a smaller stockpile would not be realized until well into the next decade.

Third, several NNSA initiatives have been endorsed by the NPR including efforts to:

Given our multi-year plan to reintroduce program stability to the enterprise, we believe we are “on track” to complete acquisition of the tools and capabilities needed to assure future stockpile safety and reliability, achieve the needed restoration and modernization of the production complex, and implement the NPR initiatives.

Role of the Nuclear Weapons Enterprise in Achieving Defense Policy Goals

Let me elaborate more on these matters starting from “first principles.” Four key defense policy goals were articulated in the Quadrennial Defense Review and later reaffirmed in the NPR.

Briefly, the goals are to:

In seeking to meet these goals, the NPR has established as its centerpiece a “New Triad” of flexible response capabilities consisting of the following elements:

Perhaps more so than in any previous defense review, this concept of a New Triad reflects a broad recognition of the importance of a robust and responsive defense R&D and industrial base in achieving our overall defense strategy.

The ability of our modern defense industrial base to bring advanced defense technology rapidly to the field is well respected internationally among both friend and foe. The breadth and scope of the U.S. strategic modernization program of the early 80’s, including the potential of a Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) then in the very early stages of R&D, was key to causing President Gorbachev in the late 1980’s to seek an end to strategic competition with the West and an end to the Cold War. The U.S. defense R&D and industrial base, including the nuclear weapons complex of national laboratories, production plants, and test sites that supported development of sophisticated warheads with build rates exceeding 1,000 weapons per year, permitted that modernization program to take place and was a major factor in reassuring allies (who depend on the U.S. nuclear umbrella), in dissuading, that is, convincing the Soviet Union that arms competition with the United States was futile, and in deterring aggression.

Many modern military capabilities evolved from the legacy of the Manhattan Project, characterized by the massive application of science and technology to the problem of developing and producing the atomic bomb and leading to later efforts across a range of military systems. It was not only nuclear and conventional forces that provided deterrence during the Cold War, but the latent potential—reflected in our defense scientific, technical and manufacturing base—to design and develop ever more advanced and capable military systems, and the ability to produce them in great quantities if need be.

Now that the Cold War is over, how can the nuclear weapons enterprise act both to reassure allies, and to dissuade or deter future adversaries? An enterprise focused on sustainment and sized to meet the needs of a smaller nuclear deterrent can provide capabilities to respond to future strategic challenges. A future competitor seeking to gain some nuclear advantage would be forced to conclude that its buildup could not occur more quickly than the U.S. could respond. Alternatively, an ability to innovate and produce small builds of special purpose weapons, characteristic of a smaller but still vital nuclear infrastructure, would act to convince an adversary that it could not expect to negate U.S. nuclear weapons capabilities. The development and subsequent modification of the B61-7 bomb—converting a few of them into B61-11 earth penetrator weapons—is a case in point.

Thus, it is not only in-being forces, but the demonstrable capabilities of the defense scientific, technical and manufacturing infrastructure, of which a responsive nuclear weapons infrastructure is a key part, including its ability to sustain and adapt, that provides the United States with the means to respond to new, unexpected, or emerging threats in a timely manner. This has served to reassure allies and friends, dissuade adversaries from strategic competition with the U.S., and underpin credible deterrence in a changing security environment.

Supporting the NPR—Capabilities for a responsive nuclear weapons enterprise

How far along are we in creating a “responsive nuclear weapons enterprise?” The answer is: “We’re making progress, but we have a ways to go.”

Over the past decade, our focus has been to develop means to assess and ensure the safety and reliability of the aging stockpile absent underground nuclear testing. We have also sought to reduce the size of the production infrastructure, consistent with post-Cold War force levels, with the goal of modernizing that smaller infrastructure to assure that the nation has the capabilities it will need in the future.1 The results of these efforts have been mixed. To date we have been able to certify stockpile safety and reliability without underground nuclear testing, but the capability to do so in the future as the stockpile continues to age remains uncertain. No advanced warhead concept development is underway. Past under investment in the enterprise—in particular, the production complex—has increased risks and will limit future options. Currently, we cannot build and certify plutonium “pits” and certain secondary components, much less complete warheads (although we are working hard to re-establish these capabilities). Many facilities are in poor condition—some are unusable—and we have a rapidly aging workforce. Restoring lost nuclear weapons capabilities, and modernizing others, will require substantial investment over the next several years both to recapitalize laboratory and production infrastructure, and to strengthen our most important asset: our people.


1 Among other things, over the past decade we have closed three facilities—Rocky Flats (pit production and reservoirs), the Mound Plant (non-nuclear components), and the Pinellas Plant (neutron generators)—and reduced floor space by over 50% in the manufacturing facilities at Y-12.

The nuclear weapons enterprise that we seek must: (1) continue to assure stockpile safety, reliability, and performance, and (2) respond rapidly and decisively to stockpile “surprise” or to changes in the international security environment. Let me address each in turn.

Assure stockpile safety, reliability, and performance

Since 1995, there has been a Presidential requirement for an annual assessment of the safety and reliability of the nuclear stockpile and a determination of whether a nuclear test is required to resolve any safety or reliability problem. This is an extensive technical effort supported by data from non-nuclear experiments, computer simulations, the nuclear test database, aggressive and ever-improving surveillance, extensive peer review by “other lab” design teams, and independent assessments by others.

To strengthen weapons assessment and certification, we are seeking fundamental improvement in our understanding of the physics of nuclear explosions, including the effects of aging or remanufacture on weapons system performance. This requires development of new simulation capabilities that use large, high-speed computers and new experimental facilities in areas such as hydrodynamics testing, materials science, and high-energy density physics. Campaign goals for reducing uncertainties in our understanding of weapons behavior have been established, and schedules and milestones have been set to meet these goals as soon as practicable. Because of the implications for stockpile certification, and the need to meet warhead refurbishment milestones, it is important to keep these campaigns on schedule.

Elements of our program to meet annual certification requirements are well along and include:

Respond rapidly and decisively to stockpile “surprise”
or to changes in the international security environment.

The NPR highlighted the importance of a robust and responsive defense R&D and industrial base as a key element of the New Triad. Here we refer to the ability of the enterprise to anticipate innovations by an adversary and to counter them before our deterrent is degraded, and its resilience to unanticipated events or emerging threats—all the while continuing to carry out the day-to-day activities in support of the enduring stockpile. Unanticipated events could include the catastrophic failure of a deployed warhead type. Emerging threats could call for new warhead development, or support to DoD in uploading the responsive force. In any case, there are a number of capabilities and activities that will help us to hedge an uncertain future including our ability to:

A key measure of “responsiveness” is how long it would take to carry out certain activities to address stockpile “surprise” or deal with new or emerging threats. Specific goals are being established for the following four activities; our progress towards meeting them will be an important measure of the success of our program.

Fix stockpile problems: The ability to assess a stockpile problem, once one has been identified, and then design, develop, implement and certify a fix will of course depend on the nature and scope of the problem. For a relatively major problem, we seek to be able to assess the problem and establish an implementation plan—Phases 6.2–6.2A—for the “fix” within one year, and then to conduct development and production engineering activities leading to initial production—Phases 6.3–6.5—within approximately three years.

New warhead design, development and initial production: New or emerging WMD threats from rogue states make it difficult to predict future deterrence requirements. If the U.S. is to have a flexible deterrent, it must be able to adapt its nuclear forces to changing strategic conditions. Adaptation and modernization of forces, including implementation of new technologies, will enable us to continue to achieve deterrence objectives more efficiently even as we move to significantly lower force levels. Our goal is to maintain sufficient R&D and production capability to be able to design, develop, and begin production on the order of five years from a decision to enter full-scale development of a new warhead.2 To achieve this goal, we must work with DoD to determine and prioritize potential weapons needs over the long term. In certain cases, it may be appropriate to design, develop and produce a small build of prototype weapons both to exercise key capabilities and to serve as a “hedge,” to be produced in quantity when deemed necessary.


2 During the era in which the current stockpile was designed, developed, tested, and manufactured, the Phase 3-5 timeframe (design, development, initial production) was roughly 5 years. At that time, continuing new requirements provided a “pipeline” capability so that weapons were regularly entering the stockpile.

Quantity production of new warheads: While there are no plans to increase the size of the stockpile, we must have flexibility to respond to various scenarios. Our goal is to maintain sufficient production capacity to be able to produce new warheads in sufficient quantities to meet defense requirements without disrupting ongoing refurbishments. In this connection, refurbishment demands starting later in this decade, and continuing until about 2014, are expected to dominate production capacity. If necessary, we would work with DoD to adjust production priorities.

Support to DoD in uploading the responsive force: We must assure that NNSA’s tasks, such as warhead transportation, tritium support, etc., are not “long poles in the tent” for uploading the responsive force. That is, they must be carried out on a time scale consonant with DoD’s ability to upload these weapons. Sufficient numbers of responsive warheads must be maintained in the active stockpile to ensure that ready warheads are available to meet upload timelines.

How do we get to where we want to be?—National commitment and a multi-year plan

What do we need to do in order to achieve the capabilities of a modern and flexible nuclear weapons design and production enterprise? In short, we need to revitalize and sustain our production capabilities, our R&D and technology base, and our world-class workforce. Critical to this is a national commitment to safe and reliable nuclear forces, which the NPR has reaffirmed, and implementation of a stable, multi-year fiscal plan. Such a plan would provide the long-term commitment and stability to restore or modernize critical infrastructure and capabilities so that we can meet future workload requirements under a more rigorous regulatory regime. It would also allow us to redress the deferred maintenance backlogs, assure world-class science and engineering capabilities and workforce, and carry out the initiatives of the NPR. Let me elaborate further.

Modernize nuclear weapons production capabilities

The production complex, which has seen site closures and considerable downsizing since the end of the Cold War, consists of the following “one of a kind” facilities: the Y-12 Plant (uranium and other components), Pantex Plant (warhead assembly, disassembly, disposal, high explosive components), Kansas City Plant (non-nuclear components), and Savannah River Plant (tritium extraction and handling). In addition, production activities for specific components occur at two national labs: Sandia National Laboratories (neutron generators), and Los Alamos National Laboratory (plutonium/beryllium parts, detonators, tritium targets for neutron generators).

The current production complex is limited in the number of weapons that can be processed at the Pantex Plant, with the work split among units undergoing surveillance, refurbishment or dismantlement. Planned renovations of existing facilities will expand capacity sufficient to meet the anticipated NPR workload and include a small reserve that would be available to fix unanticipated problems in the stockpile, respond to new warhead production requirements, or handle a potentially increased dismantlement workload (resulting from force reductions) without disrupting planned refurbishments.

Qualified processes for some uranium manufacturing and processing are not currently in place, but plans are underway to expand the capacity and capability of the Y-12 Plant to meet the planned workload for replacing warhead secondaries and other uranium components.

Regardless of the size of the future nuclear weapons stockpile, substantial work must be completed to get the production complex to the point where it is “ready” to begin refurbishment work on key systems later this decade. Additionally, new construction projects, including that for a modern pit production facility discussed below, are needed to ensure sufficient capacity for planned future-decade stockpile refurbishments.

Modernize the R&D and technology base

Stockpile stewardship requires strong R&D capabilities to predict, discover, and evaluate problems in the current stockpile (especially those associated with component aging or defects), to design, develop and certify new warheads in the absence of testing, and to attract and retain a world-class technical staff. Thus, in addition to modernizing production capabilities, efforts are underway to restore and improve the technical base of the nuclear weapons enterprise and to develop advanced capabilities to meet future requirements. Key needs include:

Secure and sustain a world-class work force

Recruitment and retention of an expert workforce is a major challenge. The aging of the technical staff at the national laboratories, the production plants and the NTS is a concern highlighted by a variety of review groups, including the Congressionally-appointed Commission on Nuclear Weapons Expertise (Chiles Commission) and the Foster Panel. In its 1999 report, the Chiles Commission observed that the average age of those supplying critical skills to the weapons program is 48 years—a population considerably older than that for the average U.S. high-tech industry. A major factor in this demography was the low hiring rates in the early-tomid-1990’s as budgets for the weapons program were in decline. Recruiting rates have gone up modestly, but are still much lower than required to support planned programs. More recently, morale problems at the laboratories in the wake of security problems have raised concerns for retention, and recruiting has been more difficult than in the past because of competition from the private sector of the U.S. job market, limited knowledge about the program among the general population, and adverse publicity, among other factors.

But the tide is turning. Morale is improving. Both the laboratories and the plants are working closely with the Federal staff to attract and retain the future workforce. Maintaining a strong science component of the stockpile stewardship program, coupled with real opportunities for working on advanced warhead concepts, developing a strong intern program to integrate new scientists and engineers into the weapons program, improving ties with universities, fixing the deteriorating manufacturing infrastructure, and developing new R&D facilities such as NIF, DARHT and MESA where the most advanced research in the world is taking place, are all examples of these efforts. The loss of knowledge resulting from retirement and attrition, and the need to transfer critical knowledge heighten the urgency of this effort.

Implications of the NPR for key NNSA missions

Next, I describe how specific NNSA missions will be affected by the NPR, and address the “game plan” for implementation of the NPR initiatives.

Stockpile Levels and Readiness Requirements

The NPR stated a goal to reduce the operationally-deployed strategic stockpile to 3800 nuclear warheads by 2007 and 1700-2200 nuclear warheads by 2012. The force would be based on 14 Trident SSBNs (with 2 SSBNs in overhaul at any time), 500 Minuteman III ICBMs, 76 B-52H bombers, and 21 B-2 bombers. There would also be a non-strategic stockpile whose exact quantities and readiness requirements are still to be determined.

Although the NPR did not determine specific stockpile quantities or readiness requirements, it did introduce to the stockpile lexicon the categories operationally-deployed and responsive. Operationally-deployed warheads are warheads fully ready for use and either mated on, or allocated to, operational delivery systems; these warheads are part of the active stockpile.3 Responsive warheads are warheads available to be uploaded to delivery systems in the event that world events require a more robust deterrence posture; most or all of these warheads would also be part of the active stockpile.


3 Active weapons are fully maintained with all Limited Life Components (LLCs, e.g., tritium bottles) installed. Inactive weapons have the LLCs removed upon expiration.

Remaining warheads not slated for retirement or dismantlement would be retained in the inactive stockpile, available for use in stockpile evaluation support or as one-for-one reliability replacements for warheads in the operationally deployed or responsive forces. Several factors would determine the nature, size and scope of warheads in this “other” category including: (1) progress in reestablishing lost production capabilities and infrastructure, (2) response times to fix problems in the stockpile, carry out other required refurbishments to sustain the stockpile, and develop and produce new or modified warheads, and (3) desire to retain a sub-population of nonrefurbished warheads to hedge potential common mode failures. Some warheads in this category would, based on future decisions, be retired and eliminated. NNSA and DoD will work together to clarify the NPR “drawdown” in terms of the numbers and types of warheads, by year, to be maintained in the active and inactive stockpiles at various states of readiness.

Stockpile surveillance

In the past, if a stockpile problem occurred, there was the flexibility, with larger warhead numbers, to maintain deterrence requirements by reallocating warheads to targets. With the force reductions planned under the NPR, these options diminish. As a result, as we go to lower numbers, we need increased levels of confidence in the safety and reliability of remaining deployed forces. This drives the need for an increasingly robust surveillance program to not only strengthen our ability to detect existing stockpile problems but also to predict and respond to stockpile problems (including problems associated with aging) before they occur. Key efforts planned over the next few years will greatly increase our knowledge of component aging. A study to strengthen surveillance efforts has recently been completed; a detailed plan to implement its recommendations will be developed during this fiscal year.

Stockpile Refurbishments—Meeting our commitments to DoD

The NPR reaffirmed the current stockpile refurbishment plan jointly agreed by NNSA and DoD, including the “block upgrade” concept which provides flexibility to adjust the plan to evolving weapons numbers.4 The plan calls for all eight warhead types in the enduring stockpile to be refurbished over the next 25 years. Near-term efforts focus on four warheads: the W87 (ICBM), the B61-7/11 (gravity bomb), the W80 (Air-Launched Cruise Missile (ALCM), Advanced Cruise Missile (ACM) and Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM-N)), and the W76 (Trident SLBM).


4 The “block upgrade” approach breaks up our major planned refurbishments into five-year “blocks,” with the option to either continue refurbishments with the current design, switch to a different design based on new information provided by surveillance efforts or as a result of new mission requirements, or simply stop refurbishments based on reduced weapons requirements.

Efforts to sustain and modernize our R&D infrastructure, restore our production capabilities, and recruit and retain a work force “second to none” are absolutely essential for the effective execution of stockpile refurbishment programs. Our ability to meet refurbishment timelines is a critical measure of merit for stockpile stewardship.

Revitalization of nuclear weapons advanced concepts efforts

The NPR recognized the need to revitalize nuclear weapons advanced concepts activity, which could include extending concepts that have been developed and tested but not yet deployed, as well as new concepts. To assess further nuclear weapons modernization options in connection with meeting new or emerging military requirements, NNSA has taken an initiative, endorsed by the NPR, to reestablish small advanced warhead concepts teams at each of the national laboratories and at Headquarters in Washington. DoD and NNSA will jointly review potential requirements for new or modified warheads, and identify opportunities for further study.

The vision is for small, focused teams (involving both lab and HQ personnel), in coordination with DoD and the services, to assess evolving military requirements, investigate options, and ensure our DoD partners understand what is and is not possible. The teams will carry out theoretical and engineering design work on one or more concepts, including options to modify existing designs or develop new ones. In some instances, these activities would proceed beyond the “paper” stage and include a combination of component and subassembly tests and simulations to introduce an appropriate level of rigor to challenge our designers.

Importantly, this effort will provide opportunities to train the next generation of nuclear weapons scientists and engineers. Part of this effort will be to demonstrate capabilities to assess options and associated timelines for new warhead design, development, and production (e.g., to replace a failed warhead or to field a new system to meet new military requirements) and to assist efforts to assess cost and other implications of any adjustments in production readiness needed in response.

Warhead retirements and dismantlements

Although no new retirements or eliminations of warheads were announced in the NPR, DoD and NNSA will jointly address the broad question of the size and character of the active stockpile and inactive stockpile. It will be prudent for NNSA to maintain reserve capacity, in addition to that planned for the near-term refurbishment workload, for warhead eliminations, addressing unforeseen problems in the stockpile, and for possible new production. Under current planning assumptions, NNSA would not define a firm schedule for dismantlements; rather NNSA would “load level” Pantex operations by scheduling dismantlements in a way that does not interfere with ongoing refurbishment or other production efforts.

Warhead transportation needs

NNSA is responsible for the ground transportation of nuclear warheads and nuclear material within the U.S. including transport of warheads between DoD sites. We will need to assess the NPR’s implications for NNSA’s transportation workload. Decisions to retire or dismantle additional warheads as part of the drawdown, or warhead upload requirements, could drive increased transportation needs. The future transportation workload should be manageable given current plans to ramp up transportation assets and associated personnel. That said, NNSA will work with DoD to assure that longer-term warhead transportation needs deriving from the NPR can be met.

Enhanced Test Readiness

President Bush supports a continued moratorium on underground nuclear testing; nothing in the NPR changes that. Over time, we believe that the stewardship program will provide the tools to ensure stockpile safety and reliability without nuclear testing. But there are no guarantees. It is only prudent to continue to hedge for the possibility that we may in the future uncover a safety or reliability problem in a warhead critical to the U.S. nuclear deterrent that could not be fixed without nuclear testing.

Based on a 1993 Presidential directive, NNSA currently maintains a capability to conduct an underground nuclear test within 24 to 36 months of a Presidential decision to do so. Test readiness is maintained principally by the participation of nuclear test program personnel in an active program of stockpile stewardship experiments, especially the subcritical experiments carried out underground at the Nevada Test Site (NTS).

During the NPR, two concerns were raised about our test readiness program. First, a two to three year readiness posture may not be sustainable as more and more experienced test personnel retire. Not all techniques and processes required to carry out underground nuclear tests are exercised with the work carried out at the NTS. As experienced personnel retire, it will become more difficult to train new people in these techniques, further degrading test readiness. This argued for an approach in which key capabilities required to conduct nuclear tests are identified and exercised regularly on projects making use of a variety of nuclear test-related skills.

Second, the current two to three year posture may be too long. If we believed that a defect uncovered in the stockpile surveillance program, or through new insight gained in R&D efforts, had degraded our confidence in the safety and/or reliability of the W76 warhead—the warhead deployed on Trident submarines and comprising the most substantial part of our strategic deterrent—the ability to conduct a test more quickly might be critically important.

To address these concerns, the NPR endorsed the NNSA proposal to enhance test readiness by reducing the lead-time to prepare for and conduct an underground nuclear test. To support this, NNSA has allocated $15 M in FY ’03 to begin the transition to an enhanced test readiness posture. Funds will be used, among other things, to:

NNSA will work with DoD over coming months to refine test scenarios and evaluate cost/benefit tradeoffs in order to determine, implement, and sustain the optimum test readiness time.

Accelerate Planning for a Modern Pit Facility (MPF)

Our inability to produce and certify plutonium pits is a shortfall in our stockpile stewardship program. Pit production was terminated at Rocky Flats in 1989 and is now being re-established on a limited scale at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Only engineering test units of a single warhead type have been produced to date, however, and no “war reserve” units are expected to enter the stockpile for about seven years. Current plans envision Los Alamos producing about 20 pits per year with a surge capacity to perhaps 50.

The current pit production strategy is first to carry out an assessment of pit lifetime, through our enhanced surveillance campaign, to yield initial results by FY’03 with completion by FY’06. Once that is completed, our policy is to reestablish pit production capability in a time frame and with a capacity sufficient to meet national needs. Implementing that policy means fielding a capability that is:

One thing is now certain—the Los Alamos production capacity will be insufficient to meet future requirements for pits. As a result of the NPR, we seek to accelerate planning and initial design work to establish an MPF. Relevant activities about to begin include preliminary MPF design, associated technology development, and initiation of the National Environmental Policy Act process.


While the NPR will result in a smaller active stockpile of both operationally deployed and responsive forces, the nuclear stockpile—by warhead type, by year, and by readiness state—has not yet been determined. This will be done in detail as part of the NWC process and will enable NNSA to plan for the delivery of sufficient tritium to meet all military requirements. Because stockpile reductions will not be accomplished for several years, we do know that there will be no near-term reduction in the immediate demand for tritium. NNSA plans to begin tritium production in commercial reactors in Fall ’03, and to complete construction and begin operations of a new Tritium Extraction Facility (TEF) at the Savannah River Site so that tritium can be delivered to the stockpile in advance of need.

It will be important for NNSA to assess future tritium needs in light of a number of factors in addition to NPR reductions in the active stockpile. These include potential changes to the tritium loadings of several warhead types and potentially increased “pipe line” needs at the Savannah River tritium facilities (in connection with the new extraction facility).


Mr. Chairman, today, our nuclear stockpile is safe, secure, and reliable. We are working hard to assess the implications of the NPR for NNSA and to work closely with our DoD partners in implementation. Most importantly, the flexibility to sustain our nuclear weapons stockpile, to adapt current weapons to new missions, or to field new weapons, if required, depends on a healthy program for stockpile stewardship and peer-review-based certification as well as a robust infrastructure for nuclear weapons production. As numbers of nuclear forces are reduced, it becomes even more important to maintain high confidence in the safety and reliability of remaining forces. We must also have the capability to respond to changes in the strategic environment, if need be, by being able to reconstitute larger force levels with safe and reliable warheads and develop, produce, and certify new or modified nuclear warheads to meet new military requirements. Achieving these goals will require a strong commitment to the recapitalization of the nuclear weapons infrastructure—a smaller infrastructure, to be sure, but one that is sufficiently modern and capable to fully support the NPR and, more broadly, our nation’s defense strategy.