Accession Number:



The U.S. Nuclear Weapons Complex: Overview of Department of Energy Sites

Descriptive Note:

[Technical Report, Congressional Report]

Corporate Author:

Congressional Research Service

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



Responsibility for U.S. nuclear weapons resides in both the Department of Defense DOD and the Department of Energy DOE. DOD develops, deploys, and operates the missiles and aircraft that deliver nuclear warheads. It also generates the military requirements for the warheads carried on those platforms. DOE, and its semiautonomous National Nuclear Security Administration NNSA, oversee the research, development, testing, and acquisition programs that produce, maintain, and sustain the nuclear warheads. To achieve these objectives, the facilities that constitute the nuclear weapons complex produce nuclear materials, fabricate nuclear and nonnuclear components, assemble and disassemble nuclear warheads, conduct scientific research and analysis to maintain confidence in the reliability of existing warheads, integrate components with nuclear weapons delivery vehicles, and conduct support operations. The Trump Administration raised concerns about the aging infrastructure of facilities in the nuclear weapons complex. The Obama Administration had proposed, and Congress had funded, budget increases for these facilities during the 2010s. Nevertheless, the Trump Administration argued, in the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review, that the United States has not pursued the investments needed to ensure that the infrastructure has the capacity to not only maintain the current nuclear stockpile but also to respond to unforeseen technical or geopolitical developments. The Trump Administration then proposed, and Congress appropriated, significant additional increases in funding for the nuclear weapons complex. The Biden Administration is likely to review this funding before releasing its first budget in mid-2021.

Subject Categories:

  • Radioactivity, Radioactive Wastes and Fission Products
  • Fission Reactor Materials
  • Test Facilities, Equipment and Methods

Distribution Statement:

[A, Approved For Public Release]