Nuclear weapons complex
This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's focus on the fallout of nuclear "spin."
The U.S. nuclear weapons complex falls under the oversight of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), which was created by Congress in 1999 and under the guidance of retired Air Force General John A. Gordon.
Ramping Up Nuclear Weapons
According to the December 11, 2003, Oakland Tribune, NNSA Administrator Linton F. Brooks had been "busy pressuring the country’s nuclear labs to ramp up work on new nuclear weapons designs ever since President [George W.] Bush signed a bill in November 2003 that repealed a 1993 ban on designing low-yield nuclear weapons, a goal that had been outlined in the Nuclear Posture Review. The Tribune reported that in a leaked memo from Brooks to lab directors, the nuclear weapons executive wrote: 'I expect your design teams to engage fully with the Department of Defense to examine advanced (thermonuclear) concepts that could contribute to our nation’s security. Potentially important areas of such research include agent defeat [bombs directed at chemical and bio weapons] and reduced collateral damage. . . . In addition, we must take advantage of this opportunity to ensure that we close any gaps that may have opened this past decade in our understanding of the possible military applications of atomic energy—no novel nuclear weapons concept developed by any other nation should ever come as a technical surprise to us.'" 
Government Facilities / Contractors
- BWX Technologies Inc. (BWXT)
- Mason & Hanger
- BWXT Pantex Plant, Amarillo, TX
- BWXT Y-12 Plant, Oak Ridge, TN
- Air Force Weapons Laboratory at Kirtland Air Force Base, NM
- Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Inc.
- Ernest Orlando Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
- Kansas City Site Office
- Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
- Los Alamos National Laboratory
- MIT Lincoln Laboratory
- Nevada Test Site
- NNSA Service Center (Albuquerque, NM)
- Pantex Site Office
- Pittsburg Naval Reactors (Pittsburg, PA, and Idaho Branch)
- Sandia National Laboratories (Sandia Site Office)
- Savannah River Site Office
- Schenectady Naval Reactors
- Y-12 National Security Complex
- See NNSA Site Offices for details.
Reports & Documents
- Nuclear Weapon Initiatives: Low-Yield R&D, Advanced Concepts, Earth Penetrators, Test Readiness, Congressional Record Service, prepared by Jonathan Medalia, Specialist in National Defense, Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division, updated March 8, 2004.
- arms control
- Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board
- Depleted Uranium
- Dirty Bomb
- Loose Cannon Pentagon
- Manhattan Project
- nuclear weapons
- Nuclear Weapons Council
- Proactive Preemptive Operations Group
- R. Jeffrey Smith, "Groups Urge Nuclear Arms Control By Limiting Production of Materials. Key U.S. Manufacturing Facilities Now Shut, Need Costly Repairs," Washington Post, February 26, 1998: "All U.S. production plants for plutonium, tritium and highly enriched uranium, three key ingredients of nuclear arms, are shut down and need extensive repairs before they can renew operation."
- Jim McBride, Mason & Hanger gains 3-month extension, Amarillo Globe-News/Business Journal, September 7, 2000.
- News Release: "DOE To Compete Los Alamos National Laboratory. Management and Operations Contract Upon Completion of Current University of California Contract in 2005," NNSA, April 30, 2003.
- Thomas Neeley, "Los Alamos contract will go to highest bid. University of California must compete for job," UCSD Guardian, May 1, 2003.
- Julian Borger, "US scraps nuclear weapons watchdog," Guardian (UK), July 31, 2003.
- Charles D. Ferguson, "Congressional Debate on Nuclear Weapons Policy: From the Nuclear Brink to the Slippery Slope," Center for Nonproliferation Studies, October 27, 2003.
- Zachary Coile, "Bidding law threatens UC's grip on bay labs. GOP action requires competition to run Berkeley and Livermore sites," San Francisco Chronicle, December 3, 2003.
- Steven Aftergood, "US Urges Pursuit of Advanced Nuclear Weapons," Secrecy News from the Federation of American Scientists Project on Government Secrecy, December 17, 2003.
- Glen Milner, "Administration favors nuclear free-for-all," Seattle Post-Intelligencer, February 23, 2004.
- Paul Richter, "Questions Raised About Bomb Plan. Funding proposal shows 'bunker buster' nuclear weapon isn't merely under study, critics say," Los Angeles Times (clw.org), March 11, 2004: "Last year, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said the effort was "a study. It is nothing more and nothing less." But a report from the Congressional Research Service says the five-year, $485-million budget proposal 'seems to cast serious doubt on assertions that the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator is only a study.'"
- Lee Davidson, "No more Nuclear tests vowed. Downwinders hear good news at hearing," Deseret News, March 24, 2004.
- Krystal De Los Santos, "Bid for Los Alamos May Be Combined," The Daily Texan, April 12, 2004.
- David Perlman, "LIVERMORE. Concurrent bidding on nuclear lab pacts urged. Research council also recommends single manager," San Francisco Chronicle, May 18, 2004.
- Joe Bauman and Lee Davidson, "Nevada Nuclear tests might resume," Deseret News, May 20, 2004.
- Brett L. Marvin, "Assessing the International Response to the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator," Strategic Insights, Volume III, Issue 6, June 2004.
- News Release: "Department of Energy to Conduct Separate Competitions for Los Alamos National Laboratory and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory," NNSA June 9, 2004.
- Robert S. Norris and Hans M. Kristensen, "What's Behind Bush's Nuclear Cuts?" Arms Control Association, October 2004.
- Leuren Moret, "The Brink of Extinction. A Cautionary Tale" reposted by CommUnity of Minds October 2, 2004, from San Francisco Bay View.
- Leuren Moret, "UC Regents lose control of nuclear weapons program. Five admirals, Carlyle Group and Rand take over," San Francisco Bay View, September 15, 22, 29; October 6 and 13; and November 3 and 24, 2004: Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5; Part 6; and Part 7.
- Andrew J. Grotto, "Nuclear Bunker-Busters and Article VI of the Non-Proliferation Treaty," Center for American Progress, February 22, 2005. ("This article was originally published as an ASIL Insight (February 2005) by the American Society of International Law.")
- Richard M. Jones, "Debate Resumes on Administration's Nuclear Weapons Initiatives," American Institute of Physics, March 23, 2005.
- Walter Pincus, "New Nuclear Warhead Proposed to Congress. Funds Sought for Feasibility Study," Washington Post, April 5, 2005.
- Walter Pincus, "Plan to Study Nuclear Warheads Stirs Concern. Arms-Control Advocates Worried About Possible Development of New Weapons," Washington Post, April 6, 2005.
- Gerry J. Gilmore, "Transforming nuclear arsenal to be addressed by review," American Forces Press Service, April 8, 2005.
- Lisa Mark, "UC would join Bechtel in Los Alamos lab bid," Associated Press (UCSD Guardian), May 23, 2005: "The current management agreement for the Los Alamos lab will expire on Sept. 30, 2005."
- "Nuclear Weapons Still Key to U.S. Security, Energy's Brooks Says. Ambassador says department seeks to improve stockpile reliability, longevity," Department of State, July 15, 2005.
- Betsy Mason, "UC will keep Livermore lab contract for two more years," July 22, 2005: "The University of California will manage Lawrence Livermore Laboratory for at least two more years, as the UC regents authorized an extension of the contract to operate the lab through September 2007. ... Bids for Los Alamos Lab were due Tuesday, and the competition appears to be a one-on-one match between a team led by UC and Bechtel National and a rival team led by Lockheed Martin and the University of Texas. A third bid was submitted by watchdog groups Nuclear Watch New Mexico and Tri-Valley CARES of Livermore; no other bidding teams have publicly come forward."
- N.S. Nokkentved, "Congress considers funding nuclear weapons testing," Daily Herald (Provo, Utah), August 6, 2005.
- "Bush plan for earth-penetrating nuclear weapon hits roadblock," (FindArticles), Issues in Science and Technology, September 2005.
- Stephen I. Schwartz, "Warheads aren't forever," Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, September/October 2005: "A government program for improving the reliability of America's nuclear stockpile is being transformed into an initiative to churn out a new generation of nuclear weapons. And nobody is even bothering to ask why they're necessary."