Reliable Replacement Warhead and the Future US Nuclear Weapons Complex

John Harvey, Director, Policy
Planning Staff of the National Nuclear Security Administration,
discusses plans for the future of the U.S. nuclear weapons program. He
addresses the efforts needed to “transform” the stockpile and
supporting infrastructure based on the premise that the United States
will need a safe, secure, and reliable nuclear deterrent for the
foreseeable future.  He argues that the current US stockpile—comprised
of legacy warheads left over from the Cold War—is safe and reliable.
But Harvey sees an increased risk, absent nuclear testing, in assuring
the long-term reliability of our current stockpile.  Nor, he argues is
today’s nuclear weapons complex sufficiently “responsive” to fixing
technical problems in the stockpile, or to potential adverse
geopolitical changes.

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