WASHINGTON, DC – In his first Congressional testimony since the release of the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review, National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Administrator Thomas D’Agostino today highlighted NNSA’s role in implementing the President’s nuclear security agenda during a House Armed Services Committee hearing. Joined by Gen. Kevin P. Chilton of the U.S. Strategic Command, Under Secretary of State Ellen O. Tauscher and Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense James N. Miller, Administrator D’Agostino highlighted the critical role NNSA and its laboratories and production sites play in enhancing our nation’s nuclear security.
In remarks prepared for delivery, the Administrator called the NPR “an important step toward ending Cold War thinking and adopting a 21st century approach to nuclear weapons and a broader array of nuclear security issues.” In addition to supporting the recapitalization of NNSA’s physical infrastructure, the NPR also recognized the importance of revitalizing human capital across the nuclear security enterprise. Those investments support the full range of NNSA’s nuclear security missions.
Administrator D’Agostino also highlighted the joint statement on the NPR and NNSA’s life extension programs issued last week by the directors of NNSA’s three national security laboratories. In their statement, the Directors said that approach, which excludes further nuclear testing and includes the consideration of the full range of life extension options, “provides the necessary technical flexibility to manage the nuclear stockpile into the future.”
The following are excerpts of Administrator D’Agostino’s opening remarks as prepared for delivery. The full text can be found here:
• ADOPTING A 21ST CENTURY APPROACH TO NUCLEAR SECURITY: “This Nuclear Posture Review is an important step toward ending Cold War thinking and adopting a 21st century approach to nuclear weapons and a broader array of nuclear security issues. This path forward will require a long-term commitment from the Congress to provide the support and the resources necessary to sustain our nuclear deterrent and enable future arms reductions.”
• RECAPITALIZING THE NNSA INFRASTRUCTURE: “The NPR also concluded that the NNSA needed to recapitalize the aging infrastructure and to renew our human capital -- the critical cadre of scientific, technical, and engineering experts who carry out our stockpile management work and support our other missions.”
• FUNDING UPF AND CMRR: “NNSA will also fund two key facility projects: the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement Project at Los Alamos National Laboratory to replace the existing 50-year old Chemistry and Metallurgy Research facility by 2021; and a new Uranium Processing Facility at the Y-12 Plant in Oak Ridge, Tennessee to come on line for production operations by 2021.”
• REVITALIZING NNSA’S HUMAN CAPITAL: “Responsible stockpile management requires not only the supporting infrastructure, but also a highly capable workforce with the specialized skills needed to sustain the nuclear deterrent and to support the President’s nuclear security agenda. The NPR noted the importance of recruiting and retaining the ‘human capital’ needed in NNSA for the nuclear security mission.”
• STATEMENT FROM THE LAB DIRECTORS: “I want to share with the Committee a statement from our National Laboratory Directors that provides their views on the NPR. The Directors universally state that: ‘We believe that the approach outlined in the NPR, which excludes further nuclear testing and includes the consideration of the full range of life extension options …. provides the necessary technical flexibility to manage the nuclear stockpile into the future with an acceptable level of risk.’”
Established by Congress in 2000, NNSA is a semi-autonomous agency within the U.S. Department of Energy responsible for enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear science. NNSA maintains and enhances the safety, security, reliability and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear testing; works to reduce global danger from weapons of mass destruction; provides the U.S. Navy with safe and effective nuclear propulsion; and responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the United States and abroad.
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