Another new U.S. Air Force Instruction (pdf) describes the Air Force role in joint DoD-DOE nuclear weapons development, production, refurbishment, and retirement activities.
“Although the DoD and DOE co-manage nuclear weapons through all system life cycle phases, each has specific responsibilities,” the Instruction explains.
“The DOE through the NNSA is responsible for designing, developing, building, sustaining, and dismantling all nuclear warheads. The DoD through the service component is responsible for developing the requirements and specifications for nuclear warhead operational characteristics; the environments in which the warhead must perform or remain safe; the determination of design acceptability; and the military requirements for warhead quantities.”
See Joint Air Force-National Nuclear Security Administration (AF-NNSA) Nuclear Weapons Life Cycle Management, AF Instruction 63-103, September 24, 2008.