NNSA Administrator Testifies Before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development

Press Release
May 21, 2009

NNSA Administrator Testifies Before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a testimony today before the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development,  Administrator Thomas D'Agostino of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) said the President's fiscal year 2010 budget request of $9.9 billion for the agency will enable NNSA to leverage science to promote U.S national security objectives.

The following are excerpts from the Administrator's opening remarks during today's hearing:

On the Science of Nuclear Security: "The NNSA is actively participating in the national debate over our nation's nuclear security and nonproliferation strategic framework.  This debate is not just about warheads and the size of the stockpile.  It includes an inescapable obligation to transform our current Cold War-era nuclear weapons complex into a 21st Century Nuclear Security Enterprise that retains the capabilities necessary to meet emerging national security requirements.   In a future with fewer warheads, no nuclear tests, tighter controls on weapons material world-wide and effective counteraction of nuclear terrorist threats, the NNSA's science and technology capabilities will play an increased role in addressing these challenges."

On Nuclear Nonproliferation: "In President Obama's speech in Prague, he indicated his commitment to maintaining a safe, secure, and reliable stockpile while pursuing the vision of a world free from the threat of nuclear weapons.  The NNSA maintains the unique knowledge and technical capabilities that are critical to achieving both objectives.   Our nonproliferation programs are focused on securing the key ingredients of nuclear weapons: weapons usable nuclear materials, and related equipment and technologies…"

On Disposing of Excess Weapons Plutonium: "The NNSA Elimination of Weapons Grade Plutonium Production Program, and the Fissile Materials Disposition Program, will provide a disposition path for at least 34 metric tons each of U.S. and Russian excess plutonium."

On Reducing the Nuclear Stockpile: "As you know, we have made tremendous progress in reducing the size of the stockpile.  The stockpile will be less than one-quarter of what it was at the end of the Cold War—the smallest stockpile in more than 50 years.  These stockpile reductions send the right message to the rest of the world that the U.S. is committed to Article VI of the NPT, which will help create a positive momentum heading into the 2010 NPT Review Conference."

On NNSA's Human Capital: "Chairman Visclosky, numerous external reviews have identified the fragile state of our technical expertise and capabilities that reside in our people.  It is clear that people are our most important resource.  We need to retain those skills and capabilities and develop the next generation of scientists, engineers, and technicians needed to perform work in nonproliferation, nuclear counterterrorism, and forensics.  We also need the skilled personnel to maintain the stockpile for the foreseeable future without the benefit of underground nuclear testing."

To see the full remarks from today's hearing, visit http://www.nnsa.energy.gov/mediaroom/congressionaltestimony/05.21.09.

Today's testimony follows Administrator D'Agostino's appearance last week before the House Armed Forces Committee's subcommittee on Strategic Forces. The Administrator's testimony before the Strategic Forces subcommittee can be found online at: http://www.nnsa.energy.gov/mediaroom/congressionaltestimony/05.13.09.

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 in the nation's national security enterprise.  NNSA maintains and enhances the safety, security, reliability, and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear testing; reduces the 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 U.S. and abroad. 

Media contact(s):
NNSA Public Affairs (202) 586-7371