Status of Planning for Stockpile Life Extension
GAO-02-146R, Dec 7, 2001
In the late 1980's, the Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Defense Programs altered its mission. Instead of designing, testing, and building new nuclear weapons, the Office began to focus on maintaining the safety and reliability of the nation's nuclear weapons stockpile indefinitely without nuclear testing. This mission is performed by the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), a semiautonomous agency within DOD. GAO found that NNSA's Office of Defense Programs is not developing a comprehensive stockpile life extension program plan as called for in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2000. The Office believes their fiscal year 2002 budget submittal fulfills the spirit of the legislative requirement, and they have no plans to complete a comprehensive plan for the stockpile life extension program, other than to again include certain high-level refurbishment-related information in the fiscal year 2003 budget request. The Office is trying to improve the planning processes for some individual weapon life extension programs as well as their overall planning processes; however, they have no plans to integrate the individual life extension plans into an overall program.