NNSA has taken aggressive action to improve the security of its nuclear weapons material (often referred to as special nuclear material, or SNM) and nuclear weapons in its custody. One major challenge has been, and remains, ensuring that SNM is well protected, while at the same time, accessible for use in meeting the critical work activities of U.S. national security missions – maintaining a safe, reliable, and credible nuclear deterrent, supporting the nation’s nuclear non-proliferation efforts, and advancing energy security.
After the events of September 11, 2001, the Department of Energy set new requirements, called the Design Basis Threat (DBT), for securing the nation's nuclear weapons and weapons material.
NNSA met the goals of the first Design Basis Threat (DBT) policy at sites with nuclear material that requires the highest levels of security. The net effect of these upgrades continues to be that the nuclear weapons complex is among the most heavily fortified and secured locations in the world.
Meeting the Second Design Basis Threat Policy
The Department of Energy has issued a new DBT which reflects a significant increase in the planning threat over the first one for facilities that have high-security nuclear weapons material. While this is a large increase in threat capability, the upgrades in response to the first DBT do provide a strong foundation for future improvements. Some of the new guidelines include: