Dec 17, 2007

Nuclear Warhead Cut From Spending Bill

Congress Instead Seeks 'Weapons Strategy'

By Walter Pincus
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, December 18, 2007; Page A02

Congress has cut all funding for continuing development next year of a new nuclear warhead from the omnibus domestic spending bill, handing the Bush administration a significant setback.

Instead, the measure, which Congress expects to vote on this week, directs the administration to develop and submit to lawmakers "a "comprehensive nuclear weapons strategy for the 21st century," according to the draft report of the appropriations bill.

That strategy, to be prepared by the departments of Defense and Energy plus the intelligence community, is to contain a mission assessment of the new strategic nuclear deterrent, a definition of the weapons stockpile needed to carry it out, and the modernized weapons complex that could produce it and keep it reliable, the conference report says.

"Moving forward on a new nuclear weapon is not something this nation should do without great consideration," said Rep. Peter J. Visclosky (D-Ind.), chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee that handles funding of the nuclear weapons program. With the end of the Cold War and a new threat from terrorists seeking nuclear materials, Visclosky said, "the U.S. needs a comprehensive nuclear defense strategy, and a revised stockpile plan to guide the transformation and downsizing of the complex . . . to reflect the new realities of the world."

Lawmakers directed that the $15 million approved last summer for the Reliable Replacement Warhead program (RRW) be used for a new science program, termed Advanced Certification. That initiative would close gaps in the program currently used to certify that nuclear weapons retain their potency without the need for underground testing.

Such gaps, the conferees noted in their report, were first noted in a report this summer by an independent advisory group. "Jason," a group of scientists that regularly advises the government on nuclear defense matters, recommended additional scientific steps along with independent peer review, rather than having one of the nation's nuclear labs overseeing the work of another.

A spokesman for the Energy Department's National Nuclear Security Administration, which runs the RRW program, announced disappointment in the conferees' action, saying it means "we will likely have to go down a path of a full-life extension program for nuclear weapons in our stockpile, which in the long run will be more costly, without introducing modern safety and security measures into our weapons."


Anonymous said...


1. You have no plan.

2. You are on the wrong track with RRW.

3. We don't even believe your certifications.

Anonymous said...

Is there an agency less loved in D.C. than the NNSA? Those at LANL may feel the sharp, pointy heads of the NNSA are all directed their way. Not so. In fact, I don't think there is an NNSA lab that does not hate the NNSA at this point; seems like congress hates the NNSA too. Congress surely does not believe the NNSA.

For your amusement: LLNS has just directed that the stationary stockrooms at LLNL remove all pens to save money. It's a Dilbert moment: image all the LLNL staff scavenging for pens at conferences, since they can't get them any more at LLNL.

It's way beyond parody at this point. Could anyone possibly make this stuff up?

Anonymous said...

I like the people in DC that wear NNSA T shirts like shirts with football team logos. They never look all that bright.

Anonymous said...

I guess this bleak Congressional analysis of NNSA performance is just one more example that Tom D'Agostino "Isn't Getting the Job Done!". In fact, he is "Dropping the Ball!" and making sure that "The Utter Destruction of the whole NNSA Complex is Job 1!". Time to swap out those stupid NNSA banners for something more appropriate, Tom.

Anonymous said...

It's scary how much D'Agostino looked just like Lex Luther at today's NNSA video presentation.

Anonymous said...

You mean he's *not* Lex Luther?

Anonymous said...

Did anyone notice from today's video presentation that D'Agostino appears to be dyeing his eyebrows black?
Eewwwww! It's looks really creepy next to his bald, cone-shaped head.