Administrator D'Agostino's Remarks at the Second Annual Nuclear Deterrence Summit

Speech
Feb 17, 2010

Thank you, Ed, for bringing all these experts together to listen to and discuss the comprehensive range of security issues facing our Nation today.  Once again, you have brought together an impressive range of speakers.  I appreciate the opportunity to talk to you about the Program Priorities reflected in NNSA’s FY2011 Budget Request. 

This is an exciting time to be at NNSA and an opportune time to gather to discuss the future of NNSA and the nuclear security enterprise.

Two weeks ago, the President submitted his FY2011 Budget to the Congress.  For the NNSA, our FY 2011 Budget Request of $11.2 billion is a 13% increase over FY2010.  This reflects both the President’s commitment to the unprecedented nuclear security agenda he outlined last year in his Prague speech, and the critical role NNSA plays in implementing that agenda.  

Within that total, Weapons Activities – essentially our weapons stockpile and infrastructure programs -- increases nearly 10% to a level of $7 billion.  The request reflects the need to fully fund the investments in the critical infrastructure that will be required to maintain the safety, security and effectiveness of the nuclear stockpile without nuclear testing in a manner that is consistent with the Stockpile Management Program outlined by Congress last year. 

Based on early analysis from the Nuclear Posture Review, this budget reflects the reality that accomplishing this task, especially at lower numbers, will require increased investments to strengthen an aging physical infrastructure and sustain a depleting technical workforce at our nation’s national security laboratories.

As a result, the President’s budget requests increased funding for NNSA to support necessary infrastructure, warhead life extension programs, and science and technology.  Specifically, these funds will support several NPR priorities for the sustainment of our stockpile:

  • Completion of the design and commencement of construction of the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Facility Replacement nuclear facility at Los Alamos, to replace the 50-year old CMR facility;
  • Completion of the design and commencement of construction of the Uranium Processing Facility at Y-12 plant;
  • Ensuring capabilities are available for completion of ongoing life extension programs and for future programs; and
  • Strengthening the science, technology, and engineering base, which is critical to our ability to maintain the stockpile without a return to underground testing.

These increases represent an investment in transforming an outdated nuclear weapons complex into a 21st century Nuclear Security Enterprise.  As Vice President Biden noted in his Wall Street Journal op-ed last month, investing in a modern, sustainable nuclear security infrastructure supports the full range of NNSA’s nuclear security missions -- including stockpile stewardship, nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament, nuclear forensics, counterterrorism and emergency response, powering the nuclear Navy, and monitoring arms control treaties.

The same facilities, the same scientists, and the same core capabilities that support our stockpile also support these other missions.

That brings me to the President’s request for NNSA’s nuclear nonproliferation programs.  Because of the critical role we play in implementing the President’s commitment to secure all vulnerable nuclear material around the world within four years, NNSA’s Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation programs increase nearly 26% to a level of $2.7 billion. 

This is the largest, most effective nuclear nonproliferation program in the world.  The men and women working on these programs are engaged with their partners in more than 100 countries to secure vulnerable nuclear material, prevent the smuggling of dangerous nuclear material, and minimize the use of materials like highly enriched uranium. 

You will hear from some of the people who manage these programs later in this conference, but programs like the Global Threat Reduction Initiative, our follow-on security efforts through the Second Line of Defense and MEGAPORTS Programs, and our plutonium disposition programs are receiving the highest level attention and the support.  It is not only a reflection of how effective they are, but of how seriously this Administration takes what President Obama himself has called “perhaps the greatest danger to the American people – the threat of nuclear weapons.”

The upcoming 2010 Global Nuclear Security Summit here in Washington will continue to build a solid foundation for expanding nuclear security and nonproliferation work with a growing list of our international partners.  In addition, progress is anticipated in completing a new START Agreement along with a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, a Fissile Materials Cutoff Treaty, and other key agreements needed to keep the U.S. and the international community on a path to achieve the President’s vision that one day, there will be a world without nuclear weapons.  This budget request supports all of these areas.

Our Naval Reactors request increases more than 13% to a level of $1.1 billion to ensure the development of the next generation of naval nuclear propulsion systems, specifically the Reactor Design and Development efforts for the replacement propulsion system for the Ohio-class submarine replacement. 

Our program priorities are to ensure that our strategic posture, our stockpile, and our infrastructure, along with our nonproliferation, arms control, emergency response, counterterrorism, and naval propulsion programs, are all melded into one comprehensive, forward-leaning strategy that protects America and its allies.

The FY2011 budget request reflects the expanded and essential role NNSA plays in addressing a critical national security mission.  Managing our growth will be critical to mission success.  We cannot expect Congress to simply trust us with these new resources.  NNSA, the Department and our contractors have a responsibility to work together to reduce unnecessarily burdensome requirements, reduce administrative and indirect costs, redirect savings to direct mission work, and make sure that we are doing the best job possible.

At NNSA, we are committed to being an effective steward of tax dollars. I want to tell you a few of the many efforts already underway that improve the way we are doing business and to create a leaner, more efficient and more cost effective enterprise. 

For example, we began a Zero-Based Security Review that has helped drive down our security costs while sustaining core physical security capabilities at our sites.  

We established a Supply Chain Management Center that has already saved the taxpayers more than $130 million since its inception in FY2007, through two key elements:

  • eSourcing -- an electronic sealed-bidding and reverse auction function; and,
  • Strategic Sourcing – where our M&O contractors use their combined purchasing power to negotiate multi-site commodity contracts with vendors. 

Our actions in the Human Resources area have been an incubator of reform within the Department – with NNSA leading the way on Pay Banding and linkage of performance standards and results.

My point in raising these matters is that the NNSA is not operating on a “business as usual” basis.  We are making continuous improvements to ensure the taxpayers that we are good stewards of their money.  I strongly believe we will continue to be a leader in successful program and financial execution for the Department and for the U.S. Government.

Along that line, I am pleased to announce that we recently issued new NNSA Operating Principles that will implement the Department-wide management principles Deputy Secretary Poneman addressed earlier this morning.  These principles will ensure that NNSA remains a highly performing, highly reliable enterprise that consistently delivers its mission. They are the principles that guide our priorities, decision making process and collaboration and partnership with entities that perform our work. You can find these principles on our website at www.nnsa.energy.gov/

Our mission is as important today as it has ever been. We are seeing that in this Budget Request; in the upcoming Nuclear Posture Review; in the new START negotiations and the discussions about the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty; in the Department’s commitment to leveraging our nation’s investments in the Nuclear Security Enterprise to identify new tools to tackle our nation’s broader challenges; and in the renewed focus on innovation in science and technology. 

Because of all of this, for the first time in a long while, our nation is arriving at an emerging bipartisan consensus that now is the time to make the investments in the Nuclear Security Enterprise that will provide the foundation for future that will allow the United States to ensure its security.  A key example of that consensus in investing in our nuclear security missions was championed last month in another Wall Street Journal Op-ed article by Senator Nunn, George Schultz, Dr. Kissinger, and the Honorable William Perry, entitled “A World Free of Nuclear Weapons.”

I look forward to working with Congress to get this budget passed, and to working with each of you to build a stronger, more efficient and sustainable nuclear security enterprise.

Thank you, for your interest and attention.  Now, I would welcome comments from any of you in the audience.