OMAHA, Neb. - Administrator Thomas P. D'Agostino of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) today discussed the future of the Nuclear Security Enterprise and its strategic deterrence mission in light of President Obama's unprecedented nuclear security agenda.
Administrator D'Agostino spoke at the U.S. Strategic Command's first Strategic Deterrence Symposium in Omaha. He was joined by the directors of NNSA's three nuclear security laboratories for a panel entitled "The Weapons and Infrastructure of the Nuclear Inventory."
The Administrator's speech highlighted NNSA's commitment to stockpile stewardship while discussing the additional benefits our nation gains from its investment in the science and technology that forms the core of the nuclear security enterprise. D'Agostino also addressed the need to reinvest in key elements of the nuclear security infrastructure.
The following are excerpts from Administrator D'Agostino's remarks:
On President Obama's unprecedented nuclear security agenda:
"In his Prague speech, President Obama charted a new course for the United States. Like President Reagan before him, he spoke of a long-term glide slope to zero nuclear weapons. But he also made clear that, ‘[a]s long as these weapons exist, the United States will maintain a safe, secure and effective arsenal to deter any adversary, and guarantee that defense to our allies . . .' In pursuit of this agenda, there are two efforts currently underway – both of which will have major implications for the U.S. nuclear deterrent and for the infrastructure we employ to support that deterrent.
On NNSA's role in accomplishing the President's agenda:
"Over the coming months, President Obama will be advancing his program to bolster U.S. leadership in reducing global nuclear dangers and achieving strengthened nonproliferation. Because of our core capabilities, NNSA and the Department of Energy will play a critical role in this effort."
On the nuclear security professionals across the NNSA enterprise whose work and knowledge support the agency's core mission:
"Throughout the history of the U.S. nuclear weapons program, the scientists and engineers at our labs and plants have developed and sustained a very unique set of skills and capabilities that service a broad array of nuclear security needs. However, while maintaining and modernizing our nuclear stockpile forms the core of their work, it is these people and the skills and capabilities they provide that form the foundation for a broader agenda… In a sense, our job is much more than Stockpile Stewardship; it is the stewardship of a science and technology base that can respond to a wide array of national security concerns."
On the need to recapitalize the infrastructure of the nuclear security enterprise:
"My main concern with respect to infrastructure and deterrence – the topic of this panel – is that we must continue to modernize, advance and exercise our technical capabilities. We must replace old, expensive, large Manhattan Project-era facilities. And, finally, we must recruit and retain the best scientists and engineers in the world."
To read the full text of Administrator D'Agostino's speech, please click here .
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.
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