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The hearing will come to order.

JUNE 12, 2002

The Military Procurement Subcommittee meets today to receive testimony on the safety, security, reliability and performance of the United States nuclear stockpile. The Subcommittee welcomes our witnesses: General John Gordon, Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Adrninistration, and Rear Admiral John Byrd, Director of Plans and Policy for the United States Strategic Command. We are also pleased to have with us today the National Laboratory Directors and the Plant and Site Managers of the defense nuclear complex.

We especially welcome Doctor Michael Anastasio (AN a STOZ e o) who appears before the Subcommittee for the first time today. Doctor Anastasio was selected last week to become the ninth director of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, effective the first of July. Congratulations on what will be an interesting, and no doubt challenging assignment.

While on the topic of the Livermore National Lab, I will note that two days after Doctor Anastasio's selection, the President announced his proposal to create a Homeland Security Department, that includes a major role for the Livermore Laboratory. The details relating to the President's proposal are likely to take some time to develop, and it is not my intention to address this issue today, as we will have ample opportunity to do so once we receive the Administration's legislative proposal on the Homeland Security Department.

Turning to the topic at hand.

Our conventional military capability-most recently displayed in Afghanistanhas been much in the limelight since the end of the Cold War, but nuclear weapons remain a vital part of our national security strategy. Unlike conventional weapons, nuclear weapons are not currently tested, nor have they been for nearly a decade. And the average age of the nuclear weapons in the stockpile is approaching 20 years old. Still, the National Nuclear Security Administration must annually assess and certify that those aging weapons remain safe and reliable, and that they are capable of meeting military requirements. To accomplish the difficult task of annual certification of the stockpile in the absence of underground testing, the National Nuclear Security Administration pursues a science-based stewardship program, with a goal of developing a detailed understanding of how nuclear weapons work, as well as the capability to predict with high confidence how weapons might perform in the future. Science-based stewardship is very much a work in progress, and the Subcommittee looks forward to hearing the assessment of our witnesses as to the long-term efficacy of this approach.

Although the force structure details related to the recent Nuclear Posture Review and the Treaty of Moscow remain to be worked out, it is clear that our weapons production complex faces a monumental task to extend the life of the enduring nuclear stockpile. For far too long we have allowed our infrastructure and production capacity to deteriorate.

I am encouraged by the steps being taken by the National Nuclear Security Administration to restore and modernize our manufacturing capability.

Though not directly part of today's discussion, but because of its relevance to recent events, I note that our defense nuclear complex is also heavily engaged in international efforts to reduce the danger of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. I recently visited the Kurchatov Research Institute in Moscow, and was briefed on its cooperative programs with the Sandia National Laboratory, directed

toward furtherance of mutual energy security and nuclear counterproliferation. The Subcommittee looks forward to exploring these important programs at a future date. At this point I want to turn to my good friend, and ranking member of the Procurement Subcommittee, Mr. Taylor for any remarks he would like to make. Mr. Taylor.

Thank you all for taking the time to be with us today. Your statements and comments have been very helpful.

With that, we stand adjourned.



Thank you Chairman Weldon.

JUNE 12, 2002

I join the Chairman in welcoming all of our witnesses to this hearing today.

I also want to thank the Chairman for scheduling this hearing on a subject that gets very little attention but is a critical part of our national security strategy. . . maintaining our strategic nuclear weapons capability.

I am also sensitive to the fact that there are a lot of policy implications associated with the discussion of the stockpile stewardship program that are beyond the purview of the procurement subcommittee.

General Gordon, I am especially interested in hearing your comments on the implications of the proposed reassignment of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to become part of the Homeland Defense organization as it will help us to better understand the risks, if any, to our ability to maintain our strategic nuclear capability.

This hearing could be the start of a dialogue that is long overdue.
I look forward to your testimony.






JUNE 12, 2002

Thank you for the opportunity to appear today to discuss the National Nuclear Security Administration's (NNSA) weapons work and the budget needed to ensure that we can meet our commitment to provide the Nation with a safe, secure and reliable stockpile. The Committee's strong support for the President's budget is greatly appreciated by the men and women across the complex. They are producing the thousands of parts, designing the experiments, and analyzing the data needed to sustain America's nuclear deterrent. Equally important, it sends a clear signal to our allies and adversaries alike that the United States is committed to a robust national defense. I would like to begin my testimony here today by setting a policy framework and discussing the issues and accomplishments of the NNSA.

Transforming the National Security Strategy

President Bush is transforming U.S. national security strategy to meet the threats of the 21st century. The NNSA was intimately involved in the formulation of the Administration strategy through active participation in the Strategic and Nuclear Posture Reviews. This ensured that the choices, plans, and requirements being developed were within the realm of the technical and production capabilities of the NNSA. It also increased the awareness of our issues and technical capabilities within the Administration's national I security senior management team.

We responded swiftly and comprehensively to the terrorist events of September 11th, protecting our valuable national security assets and employees, and offering

our unique capabilities to the national response. We have contributed directly to the Homeland Security needs of Governor Ridge with our technology and scientific staff. This work will extend into FY 2003 and beyond.

While the policies and priorities established by the President, the Secretary, and the Congress will determine the scope of our work over the years to come, nuclear deterrence remains the cornerstone of our national defense strategy. The NNSA will make significant contributions to the Administration's new capabilities-based national security strategy that requires us to maintain our military advantages in key areas while developing new capabilities.

The NNSA faces major challenges during the next five-year period in responding to evolving customer requirements while maintaining and improving the health of the nation's nuclear security enterprise. The expanded focus on international terrorism following the September 11th attacks underscores the importance of maintaining and enhancing the strong research and development capability in the science and technology resident within the complex.

NNSA's ability to perform its national security functions depends upon revitalizing our scientific and engineering expertise to ensure the reliability, safety, and security of the Nation's nuclear weapons. Much of the physical and intellectual infrastructure of the nuclear security enterprise was built during the era of underground nuclear testing, and has eroded to the point that we are no longer able to perform some essential tasks. It is imperative that we address these issues during the upcoming five-year period. NNSA's program and budget planning emphasizes maintaining an adequate workforce of scientific, technical and business skills, and building a diverse, multi-talented leadership. We must engage the laboratories in an advanced concepts program that can provide future Presidents with the national security tools suited to the Post Cold War strategic environment. We must be able to recruit, train, and develop highly skilled employees throughout our organizations in a highly competitive employment environment. We must implement our plans to renew the physical infrastructure to ensure adequate capability and capacity, as well as compliance with environment, safety, health and security standards.

Budget Summary

By way of summary, the NNSA FY 2003 budget supports the recommendations from the Nuclear Posture Review to assure the continued safety, security, and reliability of the stockpile without underground nuclear testing, develop a stockpile surveillance engineering base, refurbish and extend the lives of selected warheads, and maintain the science and technology base needed to support nuclear weapons. The request protects the operational readiness of the nuclear weapons stockpile through surveillance, experiments, and simulations for individual weapons and weapon systems, and investment in advanced scientific and manufacturing for the future.

The President's FY 2003 budget_request for Defense Programs was developed based on two primary resource drivers. First, the strategic reviews of national security-related activities conducted this past year. The NNSA actively participated in the President's Strategic Review of deterrence and missile defense policy and was a key participant in the Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) which lays out the direction for this nation's nuclear forces over the next five to ten years. These reviews reaffirmed NNSA's stockpile refurbishments and the need for a robust, responsive research and development and industrial base of which the nuclear weapons enterprise is a key element. The NNSA Laboratories are on the cutting edge of technology and have a vital national security role to play in combating terrorism. The other is the President's Management Initiatives on the human capital management and competitive sourcing initiatives which serve to focus our FY 2003 activities, particularly in the NNSA restructuring of the headquarters and field offices and in the Federal Program Direction budget. Recruitment, retention, and skill mix are critical to NNSA's success in the future and are key to our plans for re-engineering the workforce.

Stockpile Stewardship

In spite of the many challenges we are facing, the NNSA has continued to meet the core Stockpile Stewardship mission-that is, to maintain the safety, security, and reliability of the nuclear stockpile to meet national security requirements. We have done this by deploying the best science and engineering technology at our disposal across the weapons complex. The ASCI supercomputers, experiments on DARHT, NOVA, and the Z facilities have done much to improve our understanding of the dynamic nature of the aging nuclear weapons stockpile. We have put in place new manufacturing processes at the production sites which have allowed NNSA to deliver, the thousands of parts needed each year to support the stockpile. We have

also delivered on time, our commitment to the Air Force to deliver a refurbished W87, more than 50 percent of the warheads have already been returned to the service. As new tools come on line, the ASCI Q machine and the second arm of DARHT at Los Alamos, the CFF and NIF at Lawrence Livermore, Atlas at the Nevada Test Site and Red Storm at Sandia should give us the ability to solve the ever more complex problems of an aging stockpile.

In addition to the deployment of new tools and technologies, the implementation of Integrated Safety Management (ISM) and Integrated Safeguards and Security Management (ISSM) is improving our operations. The core of ISM is the performance of work in a manner that ensures protection of the workers, the public and the environment. All of NNSA sites have been verified through a comprehensive assessment of the implementation of the basic tenets of ISM. Across the complex we have witnessed some remarkable improvements in the conduct of operations.

• At Pantex, BWXT has implemented a behavior-based safety program to improve overall safety at the site and to address procedural compliance discrepancies in four areas: material transfers; authorization basis implementation/compliance; packaging and transportation; place-keeping or incorrect procedures.

• I am also pleased with BWXTs successful re-engineering of the pit repackaging process. BWXT has been able to repackage more than 200 pits per month for over a year now. This new process has also reduced radiation exposure for our workforce by 25%.

• The National Safety Council has awarded the National Ignition Facility project with its Perfect Safety Award for operating 1,155,930 employee hours without an occupational injury or illness.

Integrated Safeguards and Security Management (ISSM). The basic tenet of ISSM is to build safeguards and security considerations into management and work practices, at all levels, so missions are accomplished securely. It is desired to involve the individuals performing work in the process of establishing appropriate safeguards and security practices. Implementation of ISSM relies on the responsibility and accountability for safeguards and security practices in the line management. • Y-12 management requested federal marshals to deal with the Easter protests, a first for the site. Four protesters crossed the federal boundary and were arrested on Federal Trespassing Violations. Similar violations in the past had been handled locally under city ordinances with little or no penalties levied. The YSO Manager worked with the U.S. Attorney's Office to enforce federal trespassing laws. The individuals arrested during the April demonstration are to be tried in Federal Court beginning June 18th. I view the actions of the YSO manager as a prudent and reasoned response to the threat posed by demonstra


Nuclear Posture Review

While there are many important points and conclusions in the NPR including the goals to reduce operationally deployed strategic nuclear weapons to between 1,700 and 2,200 by calendar year 2012 and the maintenance of a "responsive force" for use as a hedge against unforeseen problems, several points are of particular relevance to the NNSA.

First, nuclear weapons, for the foreseeable future, remain a key element of U.S. national security strategy. The NPR reaffirms that NNSA's science-based Stockpile Stewardship Program is necessary to ensure the safety and reliability of the nuclear stockpile in the absence of nuclear testing. This includes surveillance of our aging weapons, weapon refurbishment, chemistry and metallurgy of materials aging, detailed understanding of weapons physics, reestablishment of warhead advanced concepts teams, and development of additional diagnostic and predictive tools for long-term stewardship. The NPR revalidated the stockpile refurbishment plan previously developed and approved by the NNSA and the Department of Defense. The committees support for the FY 2003 budget request for Directed Stockpile Work of $1.2 billion will allows us to support life extension activities for the W80, W76, and B61 warheads, including supporting research and development and additional hydrodynamic testing for assessment and certification. Also, $2.1 billion is requested for the 16 scientific and engineering campaigns that provide the knowledge, technologies and capabilities to address current and future stockpile issues. Second, more than any previous review, the NPR's concept of a New Triad emphasizes the importance of a robust, responsive research and development and industrial base. This calls for a modernized nuclear weapons complex, including contingency planning for a Modern Pit Facility, which would provide the Nation with the means to respond to new, unexpected, or emerging threats in a timely

manner. The FY 2003 budget request supports our industrial base through: a request of $1.7 billion for Readiness in Technical Base and Facilities, a 10 percent increase supporting the operations of weapons complex facilities. In addition, the NNSA has requested $243 million for the Facilities and Infrastructure Recapitalization program to continue this important multi-year initiative into its third year.

Third, a study examining the aspects of reducing test readiness lead time below the existing 24 to 36 month requirement for a fully diagnosed test is nearing completion. The XPR states that the lead time needs to be shortened out of prudence, not because there is a current need to test. Pending the completion of the study, the FY 2003 request includes $15 million for Enhanced Test Readiness activities at the Nevada Test Site.

It is NNSA's judgment, at this time, that a resumption of underground nuclear testing is unnecessary, because Stockpile Stewardship is working and is on track to deliver scientific tools needed for certification into the future. Since the end of underground testing (1992), the U.S. successfully certified the B61-11 and has recertified several warheads with components that have been modified, replaced, or in some cases redesigned. A number of problems uncovered by the surveillance program have been solved without recourse to nuclear testing.

The NPR calls for increased emphasis on reducing the time required for a nuclear test, if directed by the President at some future date. This may call for NNSA contractors to recruit and train new staff to become skilled to support fielding and performing nuclear experiments and or tests. Additionally, NNSA would acquire specific long-lead-time equipment needed for testing, such as field-test neutron generators and certain test diagnostic equipment. Another important aspect of enhancing test readiness is to revise testing procedures to make them compliant with current safety and environmental regulations. Finally, high-fidelity field exercises would be conducted to demonstrate the ability to field a nuclear test.

The Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) states that the number, composition, and character of the Nation's nuclear forces ought to reflect the reality that the Cold War is over and that required deterrent capabilities may need to be different in the future. For example, current weapons in the stockpile cannot hold at risk a growing category of potential targets deeply buried in tunnel facilities, possibly containing chemical, biological, nuclear, or command and control facilities. As a result the NPŘ endorsed NNSA's Advanced Concepts Initiative that could provide the Nation with options that could be considered for future production and deployment. However language has been introduced that would require NNSA to treat these modest research and development activities as line items in the budget, greatly reducing the flexibility of the labs and plants to respond. The conduct of these studies must be done in a manner that fosters intellectual creativity. Studies tend to beget additional studies as designers investigate and better understand what kinds of nuclear weapons are technologically possible. This greater understanding of what is possible allows designers to become more creative in their approaches to defining new concepts (for new or modified nuclear weapons) that are responsive to emerging national security needs, and provides us insurance against technological surprise by new weapons development in other countries. Unless this provision is substantially modified it could have a chilling effect on research and development activities associated with maintaining the stockpile. It will also impose additional bureaucratic burdens on the federal structure that NNSA is attempting to reduce, consistent with off stated desires of the Congress and the President's ongoing management reform activities.

By direction of the Nuclear Weapons Council, and in response to an Air Force requirement, the initial focus of the Advanced Concepts Program will be the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator (RNEP). The committees' strong and continued support for RNEP and the $15.5 million in the President's budget is vital. As this committee's report points out, “RNEP is not a new design, it is not a low yield “mini nuke"... and it is not a significant departure from current stockpile weapons." The three-year RNEP Feasibility Study will assess the feasibility of modifying one of two candidate nuclear weapons (B61 or B83) currently in the stockpile to provide enhanced penetration capability into hard rock geologies and develop out-year costs for the subsequent production phases, if a decision is made by the Nuclear Weapons Council to proceed. This work complies with existing legislation, including section 3136 of the FY 1994 National Defense Authorization Act.


The NWC approved the Block 1 refurbishment plan for the W76 in March 2000. The Block 1 refurbishment of the warhead (about one quarter of all W76 warheads) will focus on the high explosive, detonators, organic materials, cables and addition

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