The Federation of American Scientists asked the Department of Energy and the Department of Defense to declassify and disclose the current size of the U.S. nuclear stockpile, as they have done in past years.
The number of nuclear weapons presently in the U.S. arsenal is deemed “Formerly Restricted Data” (FRD) that is classified under the Atomic Energy Act. Unlike information that is classified by executive order, there is no provision for automatic declassification of such information. Furthermore, information that is classified as FRD requires the concurrence of both the Department of Energy and the Department of Defense in order to be declassified.
But there is a provision of DOE regulations that enables anyone to request the declassification of specific FRD. And so we (once again) invoked that provision to request declassification of the stockpile size.
“We have formally sent this [request] over to the DoD for their consideration,” said Dr. Andrew Weston-Dawkes, director of the DOE Office of Classification, to whom the request was directed.