In late September, Sandia President and Laboratories Director Steve Younger signed Sandia’s annual assessment letter. Each year, Sandia assesses the safety, reliability and performance aspects of the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile for which it has responsibility.
Through a series of formal presentations and discussions involving all stockpile weapon systems and support organizations, the chief engineer for nuclear weapons and the deputy laboratories director for national security programs report on the safety, reliability and performance status of the stockpile in the absence of nuclear testing.
As required by law, the Labs director provides an annual summary of this assessment and related issues to the secretaries of energy and defense and the chairman of the Nuclear Weapons Council. The directors of Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore national laboratories and the commander of the United States Strategic Command complete similar letters based on their assessments. The secretaries, in turn, attach each assessment without change and submit a letter to the president under their signatures detailing their comments, conclusions and other appropriate information about the state of the nation’s nuclear deterrent.