Safeguarding nuclear warheads and materials that can be used to make nuclear weapons is a primary national security concern of the United States. Since 1993, the Departments of Energy (DOE) and Defense (DOD) have worked to improve security at sites housing weapons-usable nuclear material and warheads in Russia and other countries. In 1995, DOE established the Materials Protection, Control, and Accounting (MPC&A) program to implement these efforts. GAO examined the (1) progress DOE has made in improving security at nuclear material sites in Russia and other countries, (2) progress DOE and DOD have made in improving security at Russian nuclear warhead sites, and (3) efforts DOE and DOD have undertaken to ensure the continued effective use of U.S.-funded security upgrades. To address these objectives, among other things, GAO analyzed agency documents, conducted interviews with key program officials, and visited four Russian nuclear sites.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Department of Energy||To increase the effectiveness of U.S. efforts to secure nuclear material and warheads in Russia and other countries, the Secretary of Energy, working with the Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), should revise the metrics used to measure progress in the MPC&A program to better reflect the level of completion of security upgrades at buildings reported as "secure."|
|Department of Energy||To increase the effectiveness of U.S. efforts to secure nuclear material and warheads in Russia and other countries, the Secretary of Energy, working with the Administrator of NNSA, should develop a sustainability management system or modify the Metrics Information Management System to more clearly track DOE's progress in developing a sustainable MPC&A system across all sites where it has installed MPC&A upgrades, including evaluations of progress for each of the seven key elements of sustainability outlined in DOE's Sustainability Guidelines.|