United States Code
USC most recently checked for updates: Jun 06, 2023
Annual assessments and reports to the President and Congress regarding the condition of the United States nuclear weapons stockpile
Annual assessments required
For each nuclear weapon type in the stockpile of the United States, each official specified in subsection (b) on an annual basis shall, to the extent such official is directly responsible for the safety, reliability, performance, or military effectiveness of that nuclear weapon type, complete an assessment of the safety, reliability, performance, or military effectiveness (as the case may be) of that nuclear weapon type.
The officials referred to in subsection (a) are the following:
The head of each national security laboratory.
The Commander of the United States Strategic Command.
Dual validation teams in support of assessments
In support of the assessments required by subsection (a), the Administrator may establish teams, known as “dual validation teams”, to provide each national security laboratory responsible for weapons design with independent evaluations of the condition of each warhead for which such laboratory has lead responsibility. A dual validation team established by the Administrator shall—
be comprised of weapons experts from the laboratory that does not have lead responsibility for fielding the warhead being evaluated;
have access to all surveillance and underground test data for all stockpile systems for use in the independent evaluations;
use all relevant available data to conduct independent calculations; and
pursue independent experiments to support the independent evaluations.
Use of teams of experts for assessments
The head of each national security laboratory shall establish and use one or more teams of experts, known as “red teams”, to assist in the assessments required by subsection (a). Each such team shall include experts from both of the other national security laboratories. Each such team for a national security laboratory shall—
review both the matters covered by the assessments under subsection (a) performed by the head of that laboratory and any independent evaluations conducted by a dual validation team under subsection (c);
subject such matters to challenge; and
submit the results of such review and challenge, together with the findings and recommendations of such team with respect to such review and challenge, to the head of that laboratory.
Report on assessments
Not later than December 1 of each year, each official specified in subsection (b) shall submit to the Secretary concerned, and to the Nuclear Weapons Council, a report on the assessments that such official was required by subsection (a) to complete. The report shall include the following:
The results of each such assessment.
Such official’s determination as to whether or not one or more underground nuclear tests are necessary to resolve any issues identified in the assessments and, if so—
an identification of the specific underground nuclear tests that are necessary to resolve such issues; and
a discussion of why options other than an underground nuclear test are not available or would not resolve such issues.
An identification of the specific underground nuclear tests which, while not necessary, might have value in resolving any such issues and a discussion of the anticipated value of conducting such tests.
Such official’s determination as to the readiness of the United States to conduct the underground nuclear tests identified under subparagraphs (A)(i) and (B), if directed by the President to do so.
In the case of a report submitted by the head of a national security laboratory—
a concise statement regarding the adequacy of the science-based tools and methods, including with respect to cyber assurance, being used to determine the matters covered by the assessments;
a concise statement regarding the adequacy of the tools and methods employed by the manufacturing infrastructure required by section 2532 of this title to identify and fix any inadequacy with respect to the matters covered by the assessments, and the confidence of the head in such tools and methods;
a concise summary of the findings and recommendations of any teams under subsection (d) that relate to the assessments, together with a discussion of those findings and recommendations;
a concise summary of the results of any independent evaluation conducted by a dual validation team under subsection (c); and
a concise summary of any significant finding investigations initiated or active during the previous year for which the head of the national security laboratory has full or partial responsibility.
In the case of a report submitted by the Commander of the United States Strategic Command—
a discussion of the relative merits of other nuclear weapon types (if any), or compensatory measures (if any) that could be taken, that could enable accomplishment of the missions of the nuclear weapon types to which the assessments relate, should such assessments identify any deficiency with respect to such nuclear weapon types;
a summary of all major assembly releases in place as of the date of the report for the active and inactive nuclear weapon stockpiles; and
the views of the Commander on the stockpile responsiveness program under section 2538b of this title, the activities conducted under such program, and any suggestions to improve such program.
An identification and discussion of any matter having an adverse effect on the capability of the official submitting the report to accurately determine the matters covered by the assessments.
Submittals to the President and Congress
Not later than February 1 of each year, the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Energy shall submit to the President—
each report, without change, submitted to either Secretary under subsection (e) during the preceding year;
any comments that the Secretaries individually or jointly consider appropriate with respect to each such report;
the conclusions that the Secretaries individually or jointly reach as to the safety, reliability, performance, and military effectiveness of the nuclear weapons stockpile of the United States; and
any other information that the Secretaries individually or jointly consider appropriate.
Not later than March 15 of each year, the President shall forward to Congress the matters received by the President under paragraph (1) for that year, together with any comments the President considers appropriate.
If the President does not forward to Congress the matters required under paragraph (2) by the date required by such paragraph, the officials specified in subsection (b) shall provide a briefing to the congressional defense committees not later than March 30 on the report such officials submitted to the Secretary concerned under subsection (e).
Each submittal under subsection (f) shall be in classified form only, with the classification level required for each portion of such submittal marked appropriately.
In this section, the term “Secretary concerned” means—
the Secretary of Energy, with respect to matters concerning the Department of Energy; and
the Secretary of Defense, with respect to matters concerning the Department of Defense.
(Pub. L. 107–314, div. D, title XLII, § 4205, formerly div. C, title XXXI, § 3141,
Dec. 2, 2002, 116 Stat. 2730; renumbered div. D, title XLII, § 4205, and amended Pub. L. 108–136, div. C, title XXXI, § 3141(e)(6), Nov. 24, 2003, 117 Stat. 1759; Pub. L. 111–84, div. C, title XXXI, § 3114(a)(2)–(d), Oct. 28, 2009, 123 Stat. 2706, 2707; Pub. L. 112–239, div. C, title XXXI, § 3131(c), Jan. 2, 2013, 126 Stat. 2180; Pub. L. 113–66, div. C, title XXXI, §§ 3122, 3146(c)(3), Dec. 26, 2013, 127 Stat. 1061, 1074; Pub. L. 113–291, div. C, title XXXI, § 3142(d), Dec. 19, 2014, 128 Stat. 3900; Pub. L. 114–92, div. C, title XXXI, § 3112(d), Nov. 25, 2015, 129 Stat. 1191; Pub. L. 117–81, div. C, title XXXI, § 3133, Dec. 27, 2021, 135 Stat. 2230.)
cite as: 50 USC 2525