Pitching the New Warhead—Softly:

Speaking with defense reporters in Washington Thursday morning, Thomas P. D’Agostino—the National Nuclear Security Administration’s deputy administrator for defense programs—made the case for the Administration’s Reliable Replacement Warhead program. RRW would produce the first new nuclear weapons in the US arsenal since the end of the Cold War. While the NNSA has been extending the life of the current stockpile through its Stockpile Stewardship Program, D’Agostino said that the top design priorities for the old weapons were not security and longevity—factors that are more important today. But he insisted that the Administration has not made a decision whether to pursue one path or the other yet. “Where we’re at now is there are two roads, which one do we take?” he asked. D’Agostino said it is prudent for the country to spend some money to figure out if it wants to “replicate the past” or invest in new nuclear security. “We’re not at the point we’re saying we’re going to build 100 RRWs, one RRW, or 1,000 RRWs; … we’re nowhere near that point.”