DSB Report Warns of Uncertainty in U.S. Nuclear Capabilities

12.15.06 | 1 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

There is an urgent need to reach consensus on how to configure the future U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile, says a new report (pdf) of the Defense Science Board (DSB).

“We are already late in addressing [stockpile] needs and the current pace of progress in defining, approving, and implementing the needed capabilities is not encouraging.”

The sources of the present urgency, the DSB report says, are several:

“We are behind on weapons surveillance, which is essential to continuing confidence in the reliability, safety, and security of weapons.”

“We are behind on dismantling unneeded weapons which adds to the security and safety concerns and burdens.”

“We have an inadequately defined and funded capability for replacement, over time, of aging weapons in the stockpile.”

In short, according to the DSB, “The current nuclear organization, management and programs do not provide for a nuclear weapons enterprise capable of meeting the nation’s minimum needs.”

The DSB proposes a series of recommendations that it says would help sustain the nuclear stockpile, transform the weapons production complex, and instigate needed organizational changes.

See Report of the Defense Science Board Task Force on “Nuclear Capabilities,” unclassified Report Summary, December 2006.

An analysis of the new report by Hans Kristensen of FAS may be found on the Strategic Security blog here.