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Fact Sheet

About NNSA
Mar 2, 2010
President Obama has outlined a bold nuclear security agenda that makes the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and its four core missions more important than ever.

President Obama has outlined a bold nuclear security agenda that makes the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and its four core missions more important than ever.  The NNSA will play a critical role in implementing that agenda and in continuing to keep the American people safe.

Congress established NNSA in 2000 as a semi-autonomous agency within the U.S. Department of Energy. The agency is responsible for enhancing U.S. national security through the application of nuclear science and technology. NNSA contributes to the overall U.S. national security across four core mission areas:

    * Maintaining the safety, security and effectiveness of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear testing;
    * Preventing the proliferation nuclear weapons and securing dangerous nuclear materials;
    * Providing the U.S. Navy with safe and effective nuclear propulsion;
    * Providing the nation with state of the art nuclear counterterrorism and emergency response capabilities.

MANAGING THE STOCKPILE

NNSA is charged with maintaining the safety, security and effectiveness of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile.  Through its Office of Defense Programs, NNSA ensures that the U.S. nuclear arsenal meets the country’s national security requirements and continues to serve its essential deterrence role.  In partnership with the Department of Defense, NNSA’s Office of Defense Programs provides the research, development, production and dismantlement capabilities necessary to support the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile and manages the physical infrastructure required to maintain that capability.

IMPLEMENTING THE PRESIDENT’S NUCLEAR SECURITY VISION

President Obama has called the threat of terrorists acquiring nuclear weapons “the most immediate and extreme threat to global security” and the threat of nuclear weapons “greatest danger to the American people.” In his landmark speech in Prague, President Obama pledged to lead an international effort to secure the most vulnerable nuclear material around the world in four years.  Through its Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Program, NNSA plays a critical role in achieving that objective. Leveraging the equipment and expertise developed as a result of our 60 year investment in nuclear security, NNSA works in more than 100 countries to detect nuclear and radiological materials and Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) related equipment; secure vulnerable nuclear weapons and weapons-usable nuclear and radiological materials; and dispose of surplus weapons-usable nuclear and radiological materials.

    * Detect: NNSA, with its foreign government partners, works to deter and detect illicit transfers of weapons-usable nuclear and radiological materials and equipment by deploying radiation detection systems at key border crossings, airports and seaports;
    * Secure: Preventing terrorist access to WMD remains one of NNSA’s highest priorities. NNSA helps to keep the world’s most dangerous materials out of the hands of the world’s most dangerous people by securing nuclear weapons and nuclear and radiological materials at their source, and improving security practices around the world;
    * Dispose: Integral to NNSA’s nonproliferation strategy is disposing of excess nuclear and radiological materials. NNSA downblends, converts or otherwise makes the material no longer suitable for use in a nuclear weapon.

POWERING THE NUCLEAR NAVY

The Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program provides militarily effective nuclear propulsion plants and ensures their safe, reliable and long-lived operation.  This mission requires the combination of fully trained U.S. Navy men and women with ships that excel in endurance, stealth, speed, and independence from supply chains. The program consists of the military and civilian personnel who design, build, operate, maintain, and manage the nuclear-powered ships and the many facilities that support the U.S. nuclear-powered naval fleet.

COUNTERTERRORISM AND EMERGENCY RESPONSE

NNSA’s emergency operations program, which encompasses planning, response, counterterrorism and training, works both domestically and around the world to keep the American people safe. NNSA ensures that capabilities are in place to respond to any emergency at an NNSA or U.S. Department of Energy facility.  The agency also is the premier responder to a nuclear or radiological incident anywhere in the world and provides planning and training to counter both domestic and international nuclear terrorism.

CONTINUING NNSA MANAGEMENT REFORM

NNSA is committed to being an effective steward of tax dollars and is pursuing an unprecedented set of Management Reforms aimed at making the enterprise more efficient, more effective and less expensive.  Transforming from a Cold War nuclear weapons complex to a 21st Century nuclear security enterprise also means promoting proactive, sound management reforms that save the taxpayers money, improve the way NNSA does business, and make NNSA more efficient.  NNSA and its contractors are working to together to reduce unnecessarily burdensome requirements, reduce administrative and indirect costs, and redirect savings to direct mission work. NNSA is a recognized leader in Management Reform and an incubator of reform within the Department – leading the way on everything from procurement reform to pay for performance.

NNSA LABORATORIES AND SITES

NNSA’s nuclear security enterprise spans eight sites, including three national laboratories, with more than six decades of cutting-edge nuclear security experience. That history and technical expertise enables NNSA to accomplish its work across its four mission areas.