The Department of Defense supports today’s announcement by the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration that it will proceed with the Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW) program.
The decision is the culmination of an eighteen month study by the Nuclear Weapons Council (NWC), a group that oversees the safety, security, reliability, and effectiveness of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile.
The NWC is chaired by Kenneth Krieg, under secretary of defense for acquisition, technology, and logistics. The NWC members are the under secretary of energy for nuclear security and administrator of the NNSA, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the under secretary of defense for policy, and the commander of the U.S. Strategic Command.
“This program will improve the safety of the stockpile through new design and manufacturing techniques, and it will enhance security with state-of-the-art technology,” said Krieg. “Additionally, the RRW program will enable a more responsive nuclear infrastructure and, ultimately, a reduced stockpile size.”
The NWC approved a NNSA/Navy project proposal which is is largely based on a Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory design. As part of the core program, several features of the Los Alamos Nuclear Laboratory design will continue to be developed and incorporated as appropriate. Expertise from both laboratories will be used to maximize the success of the program. The initial task will be to clearly define the baseline configuration and project scope, cost and schedule.
“The RRW program is the right thing to do for the nation,” Krieg said. “RRW is critical for sustaining long-term confidence in our nuclear deterrent.”