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FY 2010 Request for National Nuclear Security Administration

Richard M. Jones
Number 63 - May 14, 2009  |  Search FYI  |   FYI Archives  |   Subscribe to FYI

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The National Nuclear Security Administration’s FY 2010 budget would increase by 8.9 percent to $9.9 billion under the request the Obama Administration has sent to Congress. Funding for NNSA’s Weapons Activity program would remain basically flat, while the budgets for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation and Naval Reactors would see significant increases. NNSA was established in 2000 as an independent entity within the Department of Energy to manage the country’s nuclear defense.

Weapons Activity:

Approximately 64 percent of NNSA’s budget in FY 2010 would be devoted to Weapons Activities. This budget would remain essentially unchanged:

The FY 2009 appropriation was $6,380.0 million
The FY 2010 request is $6,384.4 million, an increase of $4.4 million or 0.1 percent

DOE’s “FY 2010 Congressional Budget Request - Budget Highlights” comments on the Administration’s budget approach as follows:

“the budget reflects only a continuation of current capabilities, pending upcoming strategic nuclear policy decisions. . . . In the upcoming year, NNSA will participate in the national debate to lay out a vision for our nation’s nuclear security and non-proliferation goals. This vision is based on the reality that nuclear security is not just about warheads and the size of the stockpile. The vision emphasizes that we must increase our focus on nuclear security and transforming the Cold War nuclear weapons complex into a 21st century national security enterprise. We must ensure our evolving strategic posture places the stewardship of our nuclear arsenal, nonproliferation programs, missile defenses, and the international arms control objectives into one comprehensive strategy that protects the American people and our allies.”

There are 15 categories of spending in the Weapons Activity budget. They include:

Directed Stockpile Work: Down $75.5 million or -4.7 percent from $1,590.2 million to $1,514.7 million. The budget justification document states: “FY 2010 request is 4.7 percent below the FY 2009 level attributable mainly to the relocation of the funding for the Pit Disassembly and Conversion Facility to Readiness in Technical Base and Facilities (RTBF) and the Waste Solidification Building to Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation.”

Science Campaign: Funding would remain unchanged at $316.7 million. The budget document states: “The Science Campaign request includes a new subprogram called ‘Academic Alliances’ that consolidates funding for graduate fellowships, university programs, and the Joint Program in High Energy Density Laboratory Plasmas with the DOE Office of Science.”

Inertial Confinement Fusion and High Yield Campaign: Funding would remain unchanged at $436.9 million. The budget document states: “With the completion of construction of the National Ignition Facility in March 2009, emphasis will be shifted to prepare for the first ignition experiments to achieve ignition and thermonuclear burn in the laboratory in FY2010, a demonstration which will be of major significance to the Department of Energy’s fundamental science missions.”

Pit Manufacturing and Certification Campaign: Funding was zeroed out in this fiscal year; no new funding is requested for FY 2010.

In the section on Weapons Activities in the budget document, under “National Security Enterprise Information,” is the following which provides insight into the Administration’s perspective:

“Additional changes will continue the transformation process of the NNSA security enterprise as it marches forward, deeper into the 21st Century. Realigning capital and business infrastructure will take time and initial investments must be made in replacement facilities or business processes before significant savings are realized. In the long-term, this realignment will reduce staffing and overall costs with much less impact on capabilities by eliminating maintenance on buildings no longer needed, security on unnecessary fence lines, or inefficient business practices. Based on extensive business evaluations that have been shared with the public, this transformation path offers the lowest overall cost and risk going forward. Infrastructure changes where costs are not dependent on the size or composition of our future stockpile will be moved forward immediately. As the reports of the Bipartisan Congressional Commission on the U.S. Strategic Posture and subsequent Nuclear Posture Review are completed this year, opportunities to further reduce costs will be sought.”

See pages 63-70 of the budget justification document for further information on the Weapons Activity request.

Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation:

The FY 2009 appropriation was $1,482.4 million.
The FY 2010 request is $2,136.7 million, an increase of $654.4 million or 44.1 percent.

There are six programs in this request; see pages 71-75 of the budget justification document.

Richard M. Jones
Media and Government Relations Division
American Institute of Physics
rjones@aip.org
301-209-3095