Nuclear Triad: DOD and DOE Face Challenges Mitigating Risks to U.S. Deterrence Efforts, Report to Congressional Committees   [open pdf - 3MB]

From the Highlights: "The 2018 Nuclear Posture Review indicates that DOD's highest priority is the nuclear deterrent, made up of sea, land, and air legs--referred to as the nuclear triad. DOD has reported that due to prior delays and challenges with aging nuclear triad systems, there is little to no margin for delaying replacement systems without incurring risk to the nuclear deterrent. Similarly, DOE [Department of Energy] faces a demanding schedule for infrastructure projects and programs for the life extension and production of warheads and bombs. In this report, GAO [Government Accountability Office] examines (1) the challenges DOD and DOE face in meeting operational needs with existing triad systems; (2) the extent to which DOD and DOE triad acquisition programs face schedule risks, and the implications of delays; and (3) whether DOD and DOE have strategies to mitigate risks to the nuclear deterrent, including acquisition delays. To do this work, GAO analyzed DOD and DOE documentation, interviewed officials, and leveraged GAO work on acquisition best practices, triad systems, and the nuclear enterprise. This is an unclassified version of a classified report we issued in June 2020, and specific classified information has been removed. [...] GAO is not making any recommendations because DOD and DOE have ongoing analyses related to a number of potential nuclear triad risk mitigation approaches. However, GAO has made recommendations in prior reports related to triad programs."

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