The Future of the U.S. Nuclear Weapons Complex

by Sabrina I. Pacifici on October 22, 2013

“The mission of the U.S. nuclear weapons complex is to ensure a safe, secure, and reliable nuclear arsenal. The complex must be able to extend the life of nuclear warheads, assess their reliability and safety, understand the impact of aging and modifications, and retain employees with essential scientific and technical expertise. Just as important for U.S. security, the complex should dismantle retired weapons in a timely fashion, and develop methods for verifying further reductions in nuclear weapons. The complex must also minimize the security risks entailed in storing, transporting, and disposing of weapons-usable materials. The complex must meet all these challenges with limited resources. Doing so will require making smart choices based on strict attention to priorities. The administration and Congress will make key decisions on the nuclear weapons complex over the next few years. Toward that end, this report examines the essential missions of the complex, considers its key challenges, and suggests critical near-term and long-term steps.”

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