Accountability and Control of Warheads in the Custody of the Department of Defense and the Energy Research and Development Administration

PSAD-77-115: Published: Jun 2, 1977. Publicly Released: Jun 2, 1977.

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The record systems that the Defense Nuclear Agency (DNA) and the Energy Research and Development Agency (ERDA) use for accountability and control of nuclear weapons were found to be functioning properly.

No discrepancies were noted between the active stockpile and accountability records. DNA's inspection function would be more effective if the units to be inspected were selected independently rather than taken from lists of units nominated by the military units. Present regulations governing the military unit's semiannual inventory procedures do not require a unit to verify permanently affixed serial numbers or to inspect containerized or alert warheads.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should require DNA to independently select and inspect each unit at least once every 5 or 6 years. Existing inventory procedures should be strengthened by requiring each unit to: perform blind inventories; verify the permanently affixed serial numbers, including those on containerized and alert warheads, whenever reasonably accessible; verify the contents of a sample of containerized weapons during each inventory; and require a serial number verification by the accountable officer when warheads are taken off alert for maintenance. For those warheads where serial numbers are not readily accessible, ERDA and the Department of Defense should determine the feasibility of relocating the serial numbers to a more accessible place on the warhead and/or designing containers for future weapons with a window so that the serial numbers are visible.

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