Testimony on the Fiscal Year 2011 President’s Budget Request Before the Senate Armed Services Committee Subcommittee on Strategic Forces

Congressional Testimony
Apr 14, 2010

As prepared for delivery

Thank you Mr. Chairman and members of the Subcommittee. I am pleased to appear before you today to discuss the Department of Energy’s FY 2011 Budget Request for the National Nuclear Security Administration.

Last year when I appeared before the Subcommittee, the focus of my testimony was the continuing transformation of an outdated, Cold War nuclear weapons complex into a 21st Century Nuclear Security Enterprise, and our initial efforts in implementing the President’s Nuclear Security Agenda.

Since that time, we have defined a portfolio of programs to carry out the President’s nuclear security agenda. Our FY 2011 Budget Request for these programs is $11.2 billion, an increase of more than 13% from last year. In developing this portfolio, Secretary Chu and I worked closely with Secretary Gates to ensure that we remain focused on meeting the DoD’s requirements.

This request fully supports and is entirely consistent with the new nuclear strategy outlined last week in the Administration’s Nuclear Posture Review. The NPR lays out the nuclear deterrent policies for the next decade. For the NNSA, the impacts are significant. The NPR documents the President’s commitment to provide the NNSA the resources required to support his nuclear security agenda and maintain the safety, security, and effectiveness of the nuclear deterrent without underground nuclear testing.

I understand there will be a separate full Committee hearing later this month to discuss the details of the NPR. I look forward to that hearing.

To summarize, the NPR provides direction for the NNSA to:
• Maintain the stockpile through enhanced surveillance and with appropriate life extension programs for weapons remaining in the stockpile;
• Renew our human capital – the critical cadre of scientific, technical, and engineering experts who underpin our stockpile management work and support our nuclear nonproliferation and counterterrorism missions; and,
• Recapitalize the aging infrastructure used to support the stockpile and conduct the full range of nuclear security missions.

Our FY 2011 budget request for NNSA supports that direction. Within our overall request, Weapons Activities increases nearly 10% to a level of $7 billion, Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation increases nearly 26% to a level of $2.7 billion, and Naval Reactors increases more than 13% to a level of $1.1 billion.

Our request can be summarized in four components that, collectively, ensure we implement the President’s direction.

First, our request describes NNSA’s crucial role in implementing the President’s nuclear security agenda, including his call to secure all vulnerable nuclear material around the world within four years. The $2.7 billion request for our nonproliferation programs includes several efforts that are directly linked to the President’s agenda, including:
• Nearly $560 million for the Global Threat Reduction Initiative to secure all vulnerable nuclear material at civilian sites worldwide;
• Over $1 billion for our Fissile Materials Disposition program to permanently eliminate 68 metric tons of surplus weapons-grade plutonium and more than 200 metric tons of surplus highly enriched uranium; and,
• Over $350 million for the Nonproliferation and Verification R&D programs to provide technical support for arms control and nonproliferation.

The second component is our investment in the tools and capabilities required to effectively manage the Nuclear Weapons Stockpile. Because the NNSA, the Department of Defense and the White House were all intimately involved in the formulation of the NPR from the start, much of the early analysis enabled NNSA to formulate a budget request that already responds to many of the recommendations in the recently released NPR. We concluded very early on that maintaining the safety, security and effectiveness of the enduring nuclear deterrent would require increased investments to strengthen an aging physical infrastructure and sustain a depleting technical human capital base. Our request includes more than $7 billion to:
• Ensure the capabilities required to complete ongoing weapons systems Life Extension Programs;
• Strengthen the Science, Technology, and Engineering base; and,
• Reinvest in the scientists, technicians, and engineers who carry out the NNSA mission.

These activities are consistent with the new Stockpile Management Program responsibilities outlined in the FY 2010 National Defense Authorization Act, and consistent with the path forward outlined in the NPR.

As Vice President Biden highlighted in a recent speech, we need to continue to invest in a modern, sustainable infrastructure that supports the full range of NNSA’s missions – not just Stockpile Stewardship. He stated that “This investment is not only consistent with our nonproliferation agenda; it is essential to it.”

And, there is a bipartisan consensus that now is the time to make these investments to provide the foundation for future U.S. security, as noted by Senator Sam Nunn, and Secretaries George Schultz, Henry Kissinger, and William Perry last January.

That leads me to the third component, our investment in Recapitalizing our Nuclear Infrastructure and Deterrent Capability into a 21st century Nuclear Security Enterprise. As the Vice President said last month, “some of the facilities we use to handle uranium and plutonium date back to the days when the world’s great powers were led by Truman, Churchill, and Stalin. The signs of age and decay are becoming more apparent every day.”

Our request includes specific funds to continue the design of the Uranium Processing Facility at our Y-12 facility and the construction of the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement facility at Los Alamos.

The Naval Reactors' request includes funds to address the OHIO-class replacement, including a new reactor plant, and our need to refuel one of our land-based prototypes to provide the platform to demonstrate manufacturability of the OHIO replacement core and to realistically test systems and components.

Mr. Chairman, investing now in a modern, sustainable Nuclear Security Enterprise is the right thing to do; the investment will support the full range of nuclear security missions -- including stockpile stewardship, nonproliferation, arms control and treaty verification, counterterrorism, nuclear forensics, and Naval nuclear propulsion -- to ensure future U.S. security.

Finally, the fourth component – one that ties all our mission efforts together -- is our commitment to aggressive Management Reforms across the NNSA. With the increased resources provided by the Congress comes increased responsibility on our part to be effective stewards of the taxpayer’s money and to ensure the NNSA is an efficient and cost effective enterprise. We take this responsibility very seriously.

• We initiated a Zero-Based Security Review to implement greater security efficiencies, and to drive down costs while sustaining highly effective security capabilities.

• Our Supply Chain Management Center has already saved taxpayers more than $130 million, largely through “eSourcing” and “Strategic Sourcing.”

• And last month, I announced a new Contracting and Acquisition Strategy that included among other items an initiative to consolidate site operations of the Y-12 National Security Complex and the Pantex Plant into a single contract, with an option for the phase-in of Savannah River Tritium Operations. The proposed single contract award will further strengthen our ability to achieve the ambitious goals set by the President in his budget request and is consistent with my vision to move toward a fully integrated and interdependent enterprise that will enhance mission performance, reduce costs, and strengthen private sector partnerships. While many of the details still need to be worked out, we believe these efforts can save the taxpayers more than $895 million over the next decade.

Finally, NNSA’s leadership team stresses performance and financial accountability at all levels of our organization for all of our operations. In 2009, our programs met or exceeded 95% of their performance objectives. And, we continue to reduce the percentage of carryover, uncosted, uncommitted balances in several of our nonproliferation programs.

Mr. Chairman, the investments made to date in the nuclear security enterprise provide the tools to address a broad array of nuclear security challenges. However, we must continue to cultivate the talents of our people to use those tools effectively, because our highly dedicated work force is the key to our success.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would be pleased to respond to your questions.