WASHINGTON, DC – Today the House Armed Services Committee took great strides to strengthen the Stockpile Stewardship Program. This is the program tasked with maintaining the safety, security and reliability of our nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile.
“H.R. 2647 builds on the work we did in the last Congress, and on the recommendations of the Strategic Posture Commission. It authorizes important funding increases to the Stockpile Stewardship Program, from scientific and experimental activities to infrastructure maintenance accounts,” commented Strategic Forces Subcommittee Chairman Ellen Tauscher (D-CA). “And to support the stewardship program, the bill establishes a new Stockpile Management Program to codify clear objectives and boundaries for maintaining our nuclear weapons capabilities. I am proud of the ways in which this bill sustains and strengthens the Stockpile Stewardship Program.”
“The STRATCOM Commanders have told us that they do not need new nuclear weapons, but they do need unimpeachable confidence in the capabilities we have,” said Representative John Spratt (D-SC). “This bill bolsters that confidence and ensures a robust deterrent without the need to resume testing.”
Representative Jim Langevin (D-RI) said, “By boosting the resources authorized to support stockpile stewardship and by establishing legal objectives and limitations for weapons stockpile work, H.R. 2647 brings badly needed clarity to the debate over our nuclear posture.”
The bill does the following:
- Clarifies two broad objectives of the Stockpile Stewardship Program: to ensure that core intellectual and technical competencies are maintained and to ensure the nuclear weapons stockpile is safe, secure, and reliable without the use of underground nuclear weapons testing.
- Establishes the Stockpile Management Program – a new program for weapons work in support of the Stewardship Program. The program requires that changes to the nuclear weapons stockpile may be made only if:
The following objectives are met:
- Increase the reliability, safety, and security of the stockpile;
- Further reduce the need for nuclear weapons testing; and
- Reduce the future size of the nuclear weapons stockpile;
And only within the following limits:
- Remain consistent with basic design parameters;
- Include well understood components that can be certified without weapons testing; and
- Fulfill current military requirements.
Amends existing requirements for an annual plan for the Stockpile Stewardship and Management Programs to require an assessment of the adequacy of the capabilities and workforce needed to execute the Stockpile Stewardship Program, and to require independent peer review in the annual assessment and certification process.
*** All provisions are subject to change
pending final passage of H.R.2647 ***