Nuclear Posture Review Weeks Away, Gates Says

WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration's review of the country's nuclear force structure is due to be released in a few weeks, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates official told lawmakers today (see GSN, March 18).

The Pentagon-led Nuclear Posture Review "will be out probably within about two to three weeks," Gates told the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee this morning. "We're very close."

The report, which would establish policies and strategies for the U.S. nuclear deterrent over the next five to 10 years, was originally slated for publication last December. It was pushed back to March 1 and then delayed again (see GSN, Jan. 6).

Representative Peter Visclosky (D-Ind.), a panel member who also serves as chairman of the Appropriations Energy and Water Development Subcommittee, noted that the president's proposed fiscal 2011 spending plan has "money built into the budget anticipating additional infrastructure investment" at the National Nuclear Security Administration.

Under the budget blueprint rolled out Feb. 1, the semiautonomous branch of the Energy Department would receive a 13.4-percent funding increase for a total of $11.2 billion. That is a greater percentage increase than planned for any other government agency.

Visclosky said he and energy subcommittee ranking member Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.) "don't want to make that investment until we see what [the nuclear] strategy is."

The president's budget calls for more than $2.3 billion of that money to be spent on infrastructure, budget documents show.

A majority of those funds would go toward wrapping up the design and starting construction of a chemistry and metallurgy research facility replacement at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico and the uranium processing facility at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Tennessee, NNSA head Thomas D'Agostino told reporters last month (see GSN, Feb. 2).

March 24, 2010
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WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration's review of the country's nuclear force structure is due to be released in a few weeks, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates official told lawmakers today (see GSN, March 18).