A smaller, safer and less expensive complex, that leverages the scientific and technical capabilities of our workforce, and meets national security requirements
As Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), it is my responsibility to ensure that the NNSA can fulfill its critical role in maintaining the United States nuclear weapons deterrent. President Bush has said that the United States needs to maintain the lowest possible number of nuclear weapons consistent with our national security requirements. Over the last several weeks, we have demonstrated that the NNSA is fully supporting the Presidents objective. We announced that the NNSA: increased the number of weapons dismantled by 146 percent over last year; maintained the current stockpile without the need to carry out an underground nuclear test; and, rebuilt a W88 warhead with a replacement pit manufactured at Los Alamos. The above accomplishments are truly significant and clearly demonstrate that we are Getting the Job Done.
During the last year, I have been carefully evaluating whether the facilities that make up the current nuclear weapons complex are what we need to address our ongoing activities and our future requirements. I have determined that we need a smaller, safer, and less expensive complex and that we must leverage the scientific and technical capabilities of the NNSA workforce, while remaining responsive to changing geopolitical events. In the near future, NNSA will announce a proposal that outlines possible paths towards this goal. This proposal will be presented in a Preferred Alternative for Complex Transformation Supplemental Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement, which will go out for public comment.
We must also address the fact that NNSAs special nuclear material (SNM) is spread among too many sites and that it is getting increasingly expensive to provide effective security for this material. It is imperative that we consolidate SNM to fewer sites and fewer locations within the nuclear weapons complex.
I believe that over the next ten years as we continue to operate without significant budget increases, we must eliminate multi-site redundancies and dramatically improve our efficiencies by consolidating both missions and capabilities at our sites. For instance, I want to consolidate SNM to 5 sites, and have a smaller footprint within those sites. I also want to close or transfer hundreds of buildings that are no longer needed for the NNSA mission and reduce NNSAs overall footprint by as much as a third where we can improve our operational efficiency.
This transition will not be easy, and there will be some impacts on our workforce and our communities. However, if we do not act now, we will be spending billions of dollars to maintain an aging and inefficient complex when the resources could be better applied to mission-oriented activities. The steps I have outlined are a necessary start to ensuring that NNSA will continue to meet its national security requirements and be responsive to the challenges of the future. In order for this Vision of the Future to become a reality, I will need your support and assistance. I look forward to working with each of you and our stakeholders as we transition the NNSA complex to a smaller, safer and less expensive complex, that leverages the scientific and technical capabilities of our workforce, and meets national security requirements.