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and deferred maintenance. Typically, much of this work is deferred to the out-years, usually with no guarantee that adequate funding will be available when it is needed.
It is essential that NNSA's infrastructure initiative be fully funded over many years if we are to restore the capability to adequately support the maintenance and production missions of the Stockpile Stewardship Program. Adequate infrastructure is also a factor in recruiting and retaining the technical talent that is essential for stockpile stewardship.
STOCKPILE STEWARDSHIP PROGRAM PLANNING
The Foster Report criticizes NNSA's long-range planning and budgeting performance, but I believe that significant progress has been achieved. The Defense Programs laboratory directors have worked closely with the NNSA leadership during the last several months to create a multi-year plan to prioritize and integrate programmatic needs within a defensible appropriations profile. The funding levels of the multi-year estimates in this "Future-Years National Security Plan" reflect our consensus estimate of resource requirements under the guidance provided by Presidential directives, DoD requirements, and the Nuclear Posture Review. The plan is a significant milestone inasmuch as NNSA has for the first time achieved a multiyear planning basis agreement with the Administration. With careful management, we believe that NNSA's major deliverables can be completed within the FutureYears National Security Plan schedule and budget profile.
The difficulty of long-range planning and budgeting is compounded by uncertainties that are not under the control of NNSA. The recent Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) and the Treaty of Moscow will reduce operationally deployed nuclear weapons to between 1,700 and 2,200 warheads over the next decade. However, the precise force structure (in terms of warhead types and their readiness status) that we must work toward under the NPR has not yet been defined in detail.
It has been stated that many of the warheads to be removed from the operationally deployed stockpile will be maintained as a "responsive force” in case of a major change in the global threat environment. The intent is to maintain the warheads of the responsive force in a condition that would permit them to be redeployed in a matter of weeks or months but not within days or hours. Consequently, the stewardship requirements for the responsive force are not yet fully defined, although I expect that the warheads will require a level of maintenance and surveillance by the NNSA that is not substantially different from what is required for the active, deployed stockpile.
It is certainly appropriate, as required by Section 1014 of the Defense Authorization Bill, that the Secretaries of Defense and Energy (through the Nuclear Weapons Council) define a Strategic Force Structure Plan that will specify the makeup of the enduring stockpile under the NPR and the Treaty of Moscow, as well as the stewardship expectations of the responsive force. As part of that plan, it will be important to validate the NNSA life extension program schedule against future DoD mission requirements and delivery systems. Under almost any scenario for the NPR implementation, the NNSA laboratories will have a substantial workload of life extension programs for systems that require refurbishment or complete redesign of electronic subsystems and other components. NNSA needs reliable strategic guidance to adequately plan its life extension program schedule and resources. The Defense Programs laboratories will work closely with NNSA to adjust the Future-Years National Security Plan as necessary to prioritize and integrate programmatic needs within a defensible budget.
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION
With respect to Sandia's stockpile responsibilities, it is my judgment that sciencebased stockpile stewardship has met expectations during the last decade. The program has succeeded in stimulating the development of powerful new tools and simulation capabilities that are extending our ability to maintain and certify the stockpile. These tools will undoubtedly continue to improve in the years ahead as sciencebased stockpile stewardship campaigns mature. I fully expect that we will be able to meet our stewardship responsibilities with the tools that we have developed and are improving under science-based stockpile stewardship as we proceed with our system life-extension responsibilities. More definitive evidence of the efficacy of science-based stockpile stewardship should be available when we complete our first full-scale life extension program for a major warhead system.
I commend the Foster Panel for focusing attention on the importance of the annual certification process. It may be appropriate to establish annual certification as a statutory requirement with responsibilities carefully defined in law. However, Sec
STATEMENT OF REAR ADMIRAL JOHN T. BYRD, USN
UNITED STATES STRATEGIC COMMAND
BEFORE THE HOUSE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE
SAFETY, SECURITY, RELIABILITY, AND PERFORMANCE
OF THE UNITED STATES NUCLEAR STOCKPILE
JUNE 12, 2002
Chairman Weldon, Congressman Taylor, and distinguished members of the Committee, I appreciate the opportunity to appear before you today to testify on the safety, security, and reliability of our Nation's nuclear stockpile. Please allow me to express on behalf of the men and women of the strategic forces, and on behalf of Admiral James Ellis, the Commander of U.S. Strategic Command, our appreciation for your continuing support and recognition of the unique responsibilities we bear in regards to our Nation's nuclear weapons. Additionally, thank you for your continuing efforts in strengthening the National Nuclear Security Administration and your strong support for General John Gordon and his efforts in rebuilding the Nation's nuclear weapons complex. I am honored to be a part of today's panel.
I'm particularly thankful for your invitation for the Command to appear before the committee side-by-side with General Gordon. Our appearance together illustrates the historical synergy that has always existed between the Department of Energy nuclear weapons complex and the Department of Defense strategic forces. As you know, both of our organizations are relatively young, but owe our successes to the historic legacy inherited from our predecessors who forged a culture of rigor, discipline, and analytical expertise inherent in all we do today in support of our Nation's nuclear arsenal. This synergy is what has made our nuclear deterrent so effective throughout the years and will be key to a safer and more secure future. Unitended Consequences of the Peace Dividend
As we claimed victory in the Cold War, in large part due to the efforts of our predecessors, we found ourselves at the peak of capability in terms of both our nuclear weapons complex and our strategic forces. Our overwhelming capability, made even greater virtually overnight by the disintegration of our previous enemy, allowed our Nation to make significant and prudent decisions to reap the benefits of our newfound peace dividend. For the nuclear weapons complex, these decisions included not replacing our sole means of manufacturing new nuclear weapon primaries, suspending indefinitely underground testing of our nuclear weapons stockpile, and significantly reducing both nuclear weapon facilities and personnel.
The benefit of hindsight enables us to recognize that the well-intentioned decisions made as a result of the end of the Cold War present us with unintended challenges today. These challenges include maintaining the safety and reliability of nuclear weapons that average nearly 20 years old without being able to fully test them; replacing an already reduced pool of invaluable experts in weapons design and production, half of whom are eligible to retire today; and rebuilding a manufacturing complex built primarily in the 1950s and now supporting not only the maintenance of our aging stockpile, but also life extension programs for existing warheads and, additionally, the dismantlement of nuclear weapons already identified for retirement.
These challenges did not appear overnight and there are solutions identified or in development for many of them. The Stockpile Stewardship Program was instituted to support the nuclear weapons complex in a non-testing environment. In addition, the recently completed Nuclear Posture Review clearly recognizes the nuclear weapons complex is a vital element of our Nation's strategic deterrent capability and requires significant investment to ensure its continued success. However, we must not only address the concerns identified to date, but also anticipate, study, and prepare for the concerns of the future. As the stewards of our Nation's nuclear arsenal, we must make the difficult choices to position ourselves appropriately to meet the strategic requirements of the next several decades.
Stockpile Stewardship Program and its Relationship to Test Readiness
The technological challenges inherent in the full development of the Stockpile Stewardship Program have been compared to the Nation's efforts in the 1960s towards putting a man on the moon. The significant investments in Stockpile Stewardship tools, such as the Advanced Simulation and Computing Program, the National Ignition Facility (NIF), and the Dual-Axis Radiographic Hydrodynamic Test (DARHT) Facility, are vital to ensuring the safety and reliability of our nuclear weapons. These tools are providing ever-increasing volumes and fidelity of data not available when the weapons in the stockpile were built. However, as this data is analyzed and our knowledge increases, we may actually identify a fault or age-related problem whose correction cannot be verified through modeling and simulation alone. Consequently, there may come a day in the future when United States Stra tegic Command may have to recommend to the Secretary of Defense that the US. conduct a nuclear test. It is prudent, whether we get to that point gradually or suddenly, we be able to conduct such a test in less than the current 24-36 month timeline.
One of many important elements of the Stockpile Stewardship Program is the annual assessment process for our nuclear weapons in which the Commander of U.S. Strategic Command plays a role, advised by members of his Strategic Advisory Group. The assessment process is a necessary element to ensure we maintain the historically high levels of confidence and reliability necessary in our nuclear weap
Rebuilding the Nuclear Weapons Complex
On behalf of Admiral Ellis, I thank you for your continued support for the increased funding necessary to restore the infrastructure in the nuclear weapons complex for not only the proper maintenance of the stockpile but a quality work environment for the people working in the complex. One of the key elements of General Gordon's infrastructure plan is the design and development of a Modern Pit Facility to replace the Rocket Flats Facility which closed more than ten years ago and was our sole facility for producing the primaries for our nuclear weapons. Development and construction of a Modern Pit Facility will enable us to replace aging warheads as well as reduce our reliance on significant numbers of existing warheads held in reserve as insurance against a technological failure of an entire warhead type. Though the exact composition of this reserve is yet to be determined, it will nonetheless be a significant portion of our active and inactive nuclear warhead stockpile. Adapting to International Change
One of the many challenges we face for both the nuclear weapons complex and our strategic forces, is that due to the drawdown of our forces, we have not produced a new nuclear warhead since 1989, we have no new strategic systems in development, and only one strategic system still in production (the Trident D-5 Missile). As a result, we are faced with the dilemma of adapting nuclear weapons and strategic forces designed for Cold War missions to support deterrence in the 21st Century. One of the most pressing threats posed by our potential adversaries in the international arena today is the proliferation of hard and deeply buried facilities capable of protecting nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons; the means of delivering them; and the leaders who would threaten the United States. Our current arsenal, developed in the Cold War, was not designed to address this growing worldwide threat. There are facilities today which we either cannot defeat, even with existing nuclear weapons, or must hold at risk using a large number of weapons. As a result, both the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy, through the Nuclear Weapons Council, have approved a study of how to effectively counter this threat. This study of a Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator (RNEP) will evaluate modifications to existing nuclear weapons that do not require nuclear testing.
The ideal outcome of an RNEP study would be a recommendation to proceed with selective modifications to existing weapons that would ultimately strengthen deterrence by improving the credibility of our strategic forces against hard and deeply buried facilities. As you are well aware, our efforts to strengthen deterrence involve denying sanctuary to our adversaries. This may mean making our nuclear weapons more tailored to the target type, which is not equivalent to making them more likely to be used. Tailored weapons strengthen deterrence, which in turn makes them less likely to be used. Also, a robust nuclear earth penetrator is only one piece of the overall solution for targets contained in these types of structures. Other capabilities such as advanced conventional, information operations, and special operations capabilities must be developed as well. A full spectrum of capabilities strengthens deter
rence and maintains the nuclear threshold by developing a range of options for the President to counter the growing hard and deeply buried target set.
Nuclear Warhead Reductions
As you know, the recent treaty signed by President Bush and Russian President Putin recognized that the Cold War is over and as a result we will reduce our operationally deployed strategic nuclear warheads by two thirds over the next ten years. U.S. Strategic Command played an important role in analyzing the reductions contained in this landmark treaty. The reductions called for are fully consistent with the United States' valid military requirements.
The lower number of deployed weapons is a long awaited and welcome development, but we must now prepare for implementation. With fewer weapons and weapon types, an unpredicted catastrophic failure of a warhead type places even greater emphasis on improved test readiness. Currently, there is no need to conduct nuclear tests, but at lower inventory levels, increasing test readiness is necessary to minimize the potential impact a technological failure would have on our operationally deployed strategic nuclear weapons. U.S. Strategic Command strongly supports the findings of the Nuclear Posture Review as well as the recommendations of the Foster Panel to improved our readiness to conduct nuclear testing. This improved readiness will bolster the credibility of our arsenal and ultimately strengthen deterrence. Conclusion
On behalf of all the men and women of United States Strategic Command, we look forward to continuing our strong relationship with the National Nuclear Security Administration and its predecessors. Together, we have encountered a number of unexpected challenges resulting from our decisive victory in the Cold War. With your continuing support, we have implemented or identified many of the solutions for these pressing issues. Under the outstanding guidance of General John Gordon, the NNSA has determined a path for regaining the health of our nuclear weapons complex both in terms of infrastructure and people. Your solid support of General Gordon's initiatives to improve our nuclear test readiness and to proceed with studies to modify our existing arsenal will help this Nation meet its critical deterrence needs in the 21st Century.
I am sure the future will be a period of great change in the international environment, much as it has been during the previous ten years. As we have learned so often in the past, it is prudent to anticipate, study, and prepare for the difficult challenges that lie ahead. Throughout this period of change our strategic mission will endure as it has for the past 56 years. With your continuing support for both the nuclear weapons complex and our strategic forces, we are ensuring that our strategic deterrent will remain the Nation's ultimate insurance policy.
Thank you again for the opportunity to represent Admiral Ellis and all the men and women of the United States Strategic Command.
I welcome your questions.
STATEMENT OF C. PAUL ROBINSON, DIRECTOR
SANDIA NATIONAL LABORATORIES
UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
SUBCOMMITTEE ON MILITARY PROCUREMENT
JUNE 12, 2002
Mr. Chairman and distinguished members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify on the efficacy of the Science-Based Stockpile Stewardship Program and related topics. I am Paul Robinson, director of Sandia National Laboratories. Sandia is managed and operated for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) by Sandia Corporation, a subsidiary of the Lockheed Martin Corporation.
Sandia National Laboratories is one of the three NNSA laboratories with research and development responsibility for nuclear weapons. Sandia's unique role is the design, development, qualification, and certification of nearly all of the nonnuclear subsystems of nuclear warheads. Our responsibilities include arming, fuzing, and
firing systems; safety, security, and use-control systems; engineering support for production and dismantlement of nuclear weapons; field support to the military; and surveillance and support of weapons in stockpile. We perform substantial work in programs closely related to nuclear weapons, including intelligence, nonproliferation, and treaty verification technologies. As a multiprogram national laboratory. Sandia also conducts research and development or DOE's energy and science offices. as well as work for other national security agencies when our special capabilities can make significant contributions.
My statement addresses the topics specified by the subcommittee, including the efficacy of the Science-Based Stockpile Stewardship Program and its future prospects; the adequacy of our current test readiness posture; the value of exercising the nuclear weapon design process; the stockpile annual certification process; and the condition of the nuclear weapons complex infrastructure. In addition, I will comment on the issue of programmatic planning that was raised in the most recent Foster Panel report.1 I would also like to refer you to the attached appendix, which summarizes some of Sandia's recent accomplishment in the nuclear weapons program and other national security programs. We state our core purpose as "helping our nation secure a peaceful and free world through technology." I believe the accomplishments reported here will convince you that we are "on course" in fulfilling that purpose.
EFFICACY OF SCIENCE-BASED STOCKPILE STEWARDSHIP
Science-based stockpile stewardship was adopted about ten years ago in response to the curtailment of all major warhead development programs and the increasing likelihood of an indefinite moratorium or even permanent ban on underground nuclear testing. With respect to Sandia's stockpile responsibilities, it is my judgment that the Science-Based Stockpile Stewardship Program has met expectations during this last decade. We have developed and proved an array of diagnostic and design tools that are enabling us to meet the enormous challenge placed on us by the loss of nuclear testing and that permit us to fulfill our responsibilities for the stockpile with high confidence and predictability.
However, it is crucial to note that nearly everything Sandia designs and surveils can be tested—and is tested-using nonnuclear processes. We subject our components and subsystems to extensive nonnuclear testing at every stage of development and service life. We have made fair progress during the last decade under the Science-Based Stockpile Stewardship Program in strengthening our testing capabilities, and good progress in advancing our modeling and simulation capabilities to deal with those aspects that cannot be directly tested, such as the effects of hostile radiation fields on our components and stems.
The primary application of nuclear testing for Sandia in the past was to confirm the functionality of nonnuclear weapon components and the warhead as a system when exposed to hostile environments such as the full radiation fluxes and extreme mechanical impulses of fratricide, preemptive strike, or nuclear-armed anti-ballistic missile (ABM) defenses. This is a different purpose than that served by the underground nuclear testing performed by the nuclear design laboratories, Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore, for development, safety, or confidence testing related to the performance of the nuclear explosive assembly or "physics package."
Perhaps the best example of the efficacy of the new science-based stockpile stewardship tools is Sandia's development and qualification of the MC4380A neutron generator for the W76 Trident warhead. Neutron generators must be designed for ruggedness against severe environments such as acceleration, vibration, high voltage, radiations, and mechanical impulse. In the past, we relied on an iterative design process involving numerous physical tests and whatever modeling tools were practical at the time.
Relying on data from past underground nuclear tests and aboveground simulations using accelerators and reactors, our scientists and engineers have developed large integrated software models that simulate three-dimensional radiation transport and mechanical response. These models allow our designers to visualize the electrical and physical performance of a neutron generator under many combinations of conditions while it is still "on the drawing board.” A design engineer can change the model and re-visualize its performance on the computer many times before committing to a physical prototype.
The combination of advanced computational simulations such as these and a comprehensive suite of several kinds of nonnuclear tests made it possible for the first time in the history of the program to qualify a neutron generator design for performance reliability and resistance to hostile radiation effects without underground nuclear testing.