DOCI: DODD 5210.41
TITL: DODD 5210.41 Security Policy for Protecting Nuclear Weapons, September
23, 1988, USD(P)
References: (a) DoD Directive 5210.41, "Security Criteria and Standards
for Protecting Nuclear Weapons," September 12, 1978
(b) DoD C-5210.41-M, "Nuclear Weapon Security Manual (U),"
March 1983, authorized by this Directive
(c) DoD 5025.1-H, "Directives System Procedures," April 1981,
authorized by DoD Directive 5025.1, October 16, 1980
(d) DoD Directive 5000.1, "Major and Non-Major Defense
Acquisition Programs," September 1, 1987
(e) through (i), see enclosure 1
A. REISSUANCE AND PURPOSE
This Directive reissues and updates reference (a) to establish
security policy for protecting U.S. nuclear weapons and to assign
responsibilities for the promulgation of that policy. This Directive
continues the authorization to issue reference (b), consistent with
B. APPLICABILITY AND SCOPE
1. This Directive applies to the Office of the Secretary of Defense
(OSD), the Military Departments, the Organization of the Joint Chiefs of
Staff (OJCS), the Unified and Specified Commands, the Defense Agencies
having responsibility for the protection of nuclear weapons, and the DoD
Field Activities (hereafter referred to collectively as "DoD Components.")
2. The protection required for nuclear weapons shall be applied
equally to nuclear warheads and nuclear components of a weapon, except
nonnuclear limited life components. Protection shall also be applied to
the entire weapon system where the nuclear warhead(s) and components are
an integral part of the system or become part of the system for
operational reasons. Nonnuclear limited life components shall be provided
protection commensurate with their security classification and
Terms used in this Directive are defined in enclosure 2.
1. It is DoD policy to protect nuclear weapons from loss, theft,
sabotage, unauthorized use, and unauthorized or accidental damage or
destruction. The policy in this Directive is provided for a peacetime
environment. While adherence to prescribed security procedures during
wartime may be impractical, particularly in a combat theatre, the same
peacetime philosophy for protecting nuclear weapons remains in effect.
However, in times of transition to war and during wartime, commanders are
expected to use those resources available to them to provide security for
weapons and to ensure their survivability.
2. Nuclear weapons require special protection because of their
political and military importance, their destructive power, and the
consequences of an unauthorized deliberate or inadvertent prearming,
launching, firing, or detonation (conventional or nuclear). Nuclear
weapons must not be subjected to adverse physical environments except when
such exposure is dictated by operational requirements. The safety of the
public, operating personnel and property, and the protection of weapons
from capture, theft, damage, and unauthorized use or loss are of paramount
importance during all phases of operations involving nuclear weapons.
3. Positive measures shall be taken to ensure the complete physical
control of nuclear weapons during all phases of their life cycle. To
ensure a balanced security system, physical security procedures, forces,
and facilities must be combined. Survivability must be a significant
consideration in the design of a security system. In providing protection
for nuclear weapons, accurate assessments must be made of all relevant
a. Their location.
b. The configuration in which they are maintained.
c. The nature and capabilities of potentially hostile forces.
d. The reliability and capabilities of personnel responsible for
working with or protecting them.
4. Security shall be considered early during the research,
development, and acquisition of nuclear weapon systems and the
modernization and updating of existing systems. DoD Components
participating in the acquisition and development process shall provide a
security concept of operations for new or modernized systems to the Under
Secretary of Defense for Policy (USD(P)) for approval before the Milestone
Il/Full-Scale Development decision described in DoD Directive 5000.1
(reference (d)) and DoD Instruction 5000.2 (reference
5. Physical security requirements have a major impact on the
affordability and life-cycle costs of a nuclear weapon system. Similarly,
modernization or product improvement efforts on existing systems must
include reevaluation of system security provisions early in the process to
assess the utility of new technology and to determine changing security
requirements because of changes in deployment mode, location of the
systems, or other factors.
6. Whenever there is an indication of an increased threat in an area
where nuclear weapons are located, security measures appropriate to the
threat shall be taken to ensure adequate protection.
7. Access to nuclear weapons shall be restricted to authorized
persons, and the nnmber of persons afforded such access shall be kept to a
minimum and controlled by two-person policy measures described in
8. Minimum security criteria and standards for protecting nuclear
weapons are prescribed in DoD C-5210.41-M (reference (b)).
1. The Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy (DUSD(P)), in
with the Assistant to the Secretary of Defense (Atomic Energy), shall:
a. Be responsible for overall policy guidance and establish minimum
security standards and procedures for protecting nuclear weapons.
b. Conduct management oversight visits to assess the adequacy of
nuclear weapon security programs and standards.
2. The DoD Physical Security Review Board shall advise and assist the
DUSD(P) on matters involving the security of nuclear weapons.
3. The Director, Defense Nuclear Agency (DNA) shall coordinate the
publication and updating of DoD C-5210.41-M (reference (b)) with
appropriate DoD Components, consistent with DoD 5025.1-M (reference (c)).
Proposed changes, consistent with DoD Directive 5100.76 (reference (f)),
and the DoD Components comments and recommendations shall be forwarded to
4. This Directive does not abrogate or abridge the authority or
responsibility of a commander to apply different, equal, or more stringent
criteria and standards during emergencies. Such a change in standards
does not abrogate the requirement for maintaining U.S. custody of nuclear
weapons and components.
Concepts and procedures for the protection of nuclear weapons are
described in enclosure 3 and are prescribed in detail in DoD C-5210.41-M
G. EFFECTIVE DATE AND IMPLEMENTATION
This Directive is effective immediately. Forward one copy of
implementing documents to the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy
within 120 days, and forward one copy of changes to implementing documents
within 60 days of publication.
William H. Taft, IV
Deputy Secretary of Defense
Enclosures - 3
3. Concepts for Protecting Nuclear Weapons
(e) DoD Instruction 5000.2, "Major Acquisition Program Procedures,"
September 1, 1987
(f) DoD Directive 5100.76, 1,Physical Security Review Board," February
10, 1981 (g) Title 50, United States Code, Section 797 (Section 21 of
the Internal Security Act of 1950)
(h) DoD Directive 5210.42, "Nuclear Weapon Personnel Reliability
Program," December 6, 1985
(i) DoD Directive 3150.2, "Safety Studies and Reviews of Nuclear Weapon
Systems," February 8, 1984
1. Access. Close physical proximity to a nuclear weapon in such a manner
as to allow the opportunity to tamper with or damage it. For example, a
person would not be considered to have access if an escort or guard were
provided for either the person or the weapon when the person is in close
proximity to the weapon. Furthermore, although an individual possessing a
direct fire, stand-off weapon may be viewed as a threat, such an
individual is not considered to have access.
2. Delay. The effect achieved by physical features, technical devices,
or security measures and forces that impedes an adversary from gaining
access to a nuclear weapon. Normally expressed as a function of time, it
is a major consideration in the design and development of nuclear weapon
3. Exclusion Area. A designated area immediately surrounding one or more
nuclear weapons. Normally, the boundaries of an Exclusion Area are the
walls, floors, and ceilings of a structure or are delineated by a
permanent or temporary barrier. In the absence of positive preventative
measures, access to the Exclusion Area constitutes access to the nuclear
4. Limited Area. A designated area immediately surrounding one or more
Exclusion Area(s); normally, this is between the boundaries of Exclusion
Area(s) and the outer or inner barrier or boundary of the perimeter
5. Postulated Threat. An estimate of the potential adversary types,
acts, capabilities, and combinations thereof that could constitute a risk
to a facility or asset. A postulated threat is necessary when a specific
threat cannot be determined or when an existing threat may change or grow
during the projected life cycle of an asset or system faster than security
improvements can be developed and implemented. The postulated threat
allows for the consideration of future growth in adversary capabilities
and is used as the basis for the design of security systems, equipment,
PROTECTING NUCLEAR WEAPONS
A. General. The concepts provided herein complement policy and are used
for designing and implementing security criteria and standards.
1. In planning the security system for nuclear weapons, priority of
efforts and resources shall be given to the protection of nuclear weapons
themselves. Additional security shall be commensurate with the threat to
or vulnerability of the weapons, space limitations, and environmental
2. All Exclusion Areas and Limited Areas shall be designated and
conspicuously posted as restricted areas under Section 21 of the Internal
Security Act of 1950 (reference (g)).
B. Selection and Use of Personnel
1. Personnel associated with and directly influencing the security of
nuclear weapons can be classified as command and supervisory, operational,
security, support, and maintenance. Individuals must only be selected for
these positions after extensive screening. The personnel screening and
selection process, as well as the requirement for a continuing evaluation
by supervisors and co-workers, is detailed in DoD Directive 5210.42
(reference (h)). Finally, strict application of the two-person policy
ensures that no lone individual ever has access to nuclear weapons.
2. The screening process used in the Personnel Reliability Program
(PRP) ensures that all individuals are certified proficient in their
position by a qualified person. Certification may occur after completion
of a formal course of instruction or experience gained by on-the-job
3. All personnel having access to nuclear weapons shall have a
security clearance commensurate with the level of classification of
materials to which they may have access.
C. Two-Person Policy
1. No lone individual shall have access to a nuclear weapon. During
any operation that may require access to nuclear weapons, there shall be
present a minimum of two authorized persons, each capable of detecting
incorrect or unauthorized procedures with respect to the task to be
performed and familiar with applicable safety and security requirements.
Two authorized personnel shall be physically positioned where they can
detect incorrect or unauthorized procedures with respect to the task or
operation being performed.
2. When application of the two-person policy is required, it shall be
enforced by the persons who constitute the team during the entire period
they are accomplishing the task or operation assigned and until they leave
the area within which the two-person policy is required.
3. Security procedures and equipment, intrusion detection systems,
and security force personnel shall ensure positive identification and
control of all persons entering Limited and Exclusion Areas. Entry
control procedures shall ensure no lone individual is permitted in an
Exclusion Area or to have access to a nuclear weapon.
4. The only exceptions to the two-person policy shall be those
specifically prescribed in approved nuclear weapon systems safety rules
established in accordance with DoD Directive 3150.2 (reference (i)).
D. Security System Concepts
1. Security for nuclear weapons is provided by in-depth systems that
provide deterrence, detection, delay, and denial of individuals who are
not authorized access to a nuclear weapon. These same systems may provide
protection from damage attempts including stand-off attacks. Security
systems are designed in response to actual validated threats or postulated
threats that may arise as adversary intentions develop.
2. Detection must be accomplished through physical or electronic
measures that detect possible threats to nuclear weapons at the earliest
possible point when an attempt or the preparation for an attempt to
penetrate the system is being made. Delay shall consist of active and/or
passive security measures using either equipment or personnel, or a
combination of both, to inhibit intruders from reaching their objective.
Denial is the ultimate goal of delay and is the nullifying, repulsing, or
termination of an attack. Essential to the proper operation of security
a. Assessment measures to determine the size and intention of an
b. Response by security forces specifically designated and trained
for countering intruders.
c. Diverse and redundant communications to ensure command and
3. The efficient installation and operation of the security system,
including the training and exercising of response forces, shall be
sufficiently imposing to deter potential attacks. Deterrence is the first
line of defense, but is only effective when supported by an active,
operational security system. Consequently, security forces shall be
trained as they would be expected to be employed. Such training shall
include, as a minimum, use of individual an