Nuclear Stockpile Management

Stockpile management ensures that the stockpile is safe, secure, and effective to perform as the nation‘s nuclear deterrent.
Today, the US has fewer than 5,000 nuclear weapons in the stockpile. That’s an 80% decrease from the peak at the height of the Cold War in 1965. And as the stockpile gets smaller, if anything goes wrong, it impacts a greater fraction of the stockpile.

Defining a sufficient US capability for nuclear deterrence cannot be arbitrary. It must be based on facts and analysis gained from experience with the new triad balance, the emerging behaviors of our adversaries and the needs of our allies.


We are also constantly learning how to sustain and modernize the weapons we have in the absence of nuclear testing and how to better predict how they will age and operate in the future. This includes finding new ways to the improve safety and security of our nuclear weapons.

As stewards of our freedom, we are obligated to “learn” how to manage and maintain the reduced number of weapons we have and assure that the deterrent will work if called upon.

Under the Department of Energy

Stockpile management is the responsibility of the Department of Energy through the National Nuclear Security Administration. It is the sum of the activities, processes, and procedures for the design, development, production, fielding, maintenance, repair, storage, transportation, physical security, employment (if directed by the President), dismantlement, and disposal of U.S. nuclear weapons and their associated components and materials.

Specialized Expertise

Stockpile management involves the care of the weapons from cradle to grave, including concept development, design engineering, manufacturing, quality assurance, maintenance, and repair. Because of the sophistication and intricacy of U.S. nuclear weapons and the numbers of weapons and components involved, stockpile management is a complex undertaking, and the consequences of error in its execution could be very significant.

Dynamic Management

The stockpile management process is dynamic. Programs and activities must be properly coordinated to ensure that all U.S. nuclear weapons will work how and when they are supposed to and that they remain safe and secure at all times. For example, weapon surveillance, scheduled maintenance, refurbishment programs, and assembly/disassembly activities must all be coordinated against the bounds of the physical infrastructure and human capital available to the mission.