Reliable Replacement Warhead to be Adopted as U.S. Strategy

02.08.07 | 1 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

The interagency Nuclear Weapons Council (NWC) has formally decided to endorse the proposed Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW) concept as the basis of the future U.S. nuclear arsenal, a new report (pdf) from the Congressional Research Service revealed today.

In November 2006, “the NWC determined that the RRW is to be adopted as the strategy for maintaining a long term safe, secure and reliable nuclear deterrent,” the CRS report stated, quoting from new Department of Energy budget documents released this week (at page CRS-26).

It is a momentous decision on which Congress might be expected to weigh in.

Not only that, but RRW development will be funded at the expense of existing nuclear weapons programs, budget documents say, “through reductions in resources required to support legacy weapons” (at page CRS-27).

Defunding work to extend the functional lifetime of existing weapons would tend to foreclose efforts to avoid new nuclear weapons development.

According to a CRS calculation (and subject to future adjustments), the projected budget for the RRW program from FY 2008-2012 would be $725.1 million, including NNSA and Navy funds.

The Congressional Research Service does not release its publications directly to the public. A copy of the new report was obtained by Secrecy News and posted on the Federation of American Scientists web site.

See “Nuclear Weapons: The Reliable Replacement Warhead Program,” updated February 8, 2007.

See all publications
Nuclear Weapons
New Voices on Nuclear Weapons Fellowship: Creative Perspectives on Rethinking Nuclear Deterrence 

To empower new voices to start their career in nuclear weapons studies, the Federation of American Scientists launched the New Voices on Nuclear Weapons Fellowship. Here’s what our inaugural cohort accomplished.

11.28.23 | 3 min read
read more
Science Policy
Expected Utility Forecasting for Science Funding

Common frameworks for evaluating proposals leave this utility function implicit, often evaluating aspects of risk, uncertainty, and potential value independently and qualitatively.

11.20.23 | 11 min read
read more
Nuclear Weapons
Nuclear Notebook: Nuclear Weapons Sharing, 2023

The FAS Nuclear Notebook is one of the most widely sourced reference materials worldwide for reliable information about the status of nuclear weapons and has been published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists since 1987. The Nuclear Notebook is researched and written by the staff of the Federation of American Scientists’ Nuclear Information Project: Director Hans […]

11.17.23 | 1 min read
read more
Social Innovation
Community School Approach Reaches High of 60%, Reports Latest Pulse Panel

According to the National Center for Education Statistics’ August 2023 pulse panel, 60% of public schools were utilizing a “community school” or “wraparound services model” at the start of this school year—up from 45% last year.

11.17.23 | 4 min read
read more