March 2nd, 2009
Highlights of GAO-09-385, a report to the Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, Committee on Armed Services, House of Representatives
As a separately organized agency within the Department of Energy, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) administers the Stockpile Life Extension Program, whose purpose is to extend, through refurbishment, the operational lives of the weapons in the nuclear stockpile. NNSA encountered significant management problems with its first refurbishment for the W87 warhead. GAO was asked to assess the extent to which NNSA and the Department of Defense (DOD) have effectively managed the refurbishment of two other weapons—the B61 bomb and the W76 warhead.
This report summarizes the findings of GAO’s classified report on the refurbishment of the B61 bomb and W76 warhead (GAO-09-152C).
What GAO Recommends
GAO recommends that NNSA and DOD take several actions to improve the management of the life extension program, including, among other things, (1) developing and using consistent budget assumptions and criteria for the baseline to track costs over time, (2) comprehensively reviewing military requirements for a weapons system before beginning a life extension program, and (3) assessing the cost and schedule implications for meeting each military requirement. NNSA and DOD generally agreed with GAO’s recommendations.
GAO (Government Accountability Office)