United States Code

USC most recently checked for updates: Jun 06, 2023

§ 2538.
Advice to President and Congress regarding safety, security, and reliability of United States nuclear weapons stockpile
(a)
Policy
(1)
In general
It is the policy of the United States—
(A)
to maintain a safe, secure, effective, and reliable nuclear weapons stockpile; and
(B)
as long as other nations control or actively seek to acquire nuclear weapons, to retain a credible nuclear deterrent.
(2)
Nuclear weapons stockpile

It is in the security interest of the United States to sustain the United States nuclear weapons stockpile through a program of stockpile stewardship, carried out at the national security laboratories and nuclear weapons production facilities.

(3)
Sense of Congress
It is the sense of Congress that—
(A)
the United States should retain a triad of strategic nuclear forces sufficient to deter any future hostile foreign leadership with access to strategic nuclear forces from acting against the vital interests of the United States;
(B)
the United States should continue to maintain nuclear forces of sufficient size and capability to implement an effective and robust deterrent strategy; and
(C)
the advice of the persons required to provide the President and Congress with assurances of the safety, security, effectiveness, and reliability of the nuclear weapons force should be scientifically based, without regard for politics, and of the highest quality and integrity.
(b)
, (c) Omitted
(d)
Advice and opinions regarding nuclear weapons stockpile

In addition to a director of a national security laboratory or a nuclear weapons production facility under section 2533 of this title, any member of the Nuclear Weapons Council may also submit to the President, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Energy, or the congressional defense committees advice or opinion regarding the safety, security, effectiveness, and reliability of the nuclear weapons stockpile.

(e)
Expression of individual views
(1)
In general
No individual, including a representative of the President, may take any action against, or otherwise constrain, a director of a national security laboratory or a nuclear weapons production facility or a member of the Nuclear Weapons Council from presenting the professional views of the director or member, as the case may be, to the President, the National Security Council, or Congress regarding—
(A)
the safety, security, reliability, or credibility of the nuclear weapons stockpile and nuclear forces; or
(B)
the status of, and plans for, the capabilities and infrastructure that support and sustain the nuclear weapons stockpile and nuclear forces.
(2)
Construction

Nothing in paragraph (1)(B) may be construed to affect the interagency budget process.

(f)
Representative of the President defined
In this section, the term “representative of the President” means the following:
(1)
Any official of the Department of Defense or the Department of Energy who is appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate.
(2)
Any member or official of the National Security Council.
(3)
Any member or official of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
(4)
Any official of the Office of Management and Budget.
(Pub. L. 107–314, div. D, title XLII, § 4218, formerly Pub. L. 105–85, div. A, title XIII, § 1305, Nov. 18, 1997, 111 Stat. 1952, renumbered Pub. L. 107–314, div. D, title XLII, § 4218, and amended Pub. L. 112–239, div. C, title XXXI, § 3164(a), (b), Jan. 2, 2013, 126 Stat. 2206;
cite as: 50 USC 2538