The United States Nuclear Weapons Complex

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The United States nuclear weapons complex is complicated and very large. Because of this, there are certain government agencies that help to regulate, or control, the nuclear weapons. Those agencies that have a role regarding the nation’s nuclear weapons are the Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Commerce, Homeland Security, Department of State (DOS), and most importantly, the Department of Defense (DOD) (whitehouse.gov). First, the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), is the principle U.S. Government agency ensuring that the nation sustains a safe, secure, and effective nuclear deterrent thorough the application of science, technology, engineering, and manufacturing. NNSA also ensures that the United States maintains excellence in nuclear science and technology that is second to none. Their central mission includes maintaining the active stockpile, Life Extension Programs (LEPs), and weapons dismantlement, which is also called the Stockpile Stewardship and Management Program (nnsa.energy.gov). Established in 1977 by then-President Jimmy Carter, the Department of Energy, was a response to an energy crisis that was affecting the country during his tenure in office. As a result, this department inherited responsibility for all nuclear energy related matters previously assigned to the Atomic Energy Commission established after World War II. The Atomic Energy Commission was then bestowed the responsibility for the vast infrastructure built during the war under the Manhattan Project, the country’s secret effort at developing atomic bombs, two of which were used against Japan in August 1945, effectively ending war in the Pacific (energy.gov). Today, the National Nuclear Security Administ... ... middle of paper ... ...lear weapons programs, as well as on efforts by terrorist organizations to develop, steal or buy nuclear, chemical or biological weapons (nrdc.org). Finally, the Department of State, as the official diplomatic arm of the United States, is responsible for the negotiation of nuclear arms control agreements, during which it works closely, if not always amicably, with the aforementioned Defense Department and military officials (state.gov). Within the Department of State is the Office of the Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, which has day-to-day responsibility for the negotiation of agreements limiting or banning certain types of weaponry. The issue of nuclear weapons encompasses the broader problem of limiting the spread of nuclear weapons to non-nuclear weapon countries that aspire to attain that capability (whitehouse.gov).

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