NNSA Hosts Special Presidential Envoy For Arms Control

Ambassador Marshall S. Billingslea

NNSA News:

…Administrator Gordon-Hagerty takes Ambassador Billingslea on Nuclear Security Enterprise roadshow

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In support of ongoing U.S. arms control negotiations, Lisa E. Gordon-Hagerty, Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and U.S. Department of Energy’s Under Secretary for Nuclear Security, hosted the Special Presidential Envoy for Arms Control, Ambassador Marshall S. Billingslea, on a visit to NNSA sites that support the Nation’s nuclear security and nonproliferation missions.

“As the U.S. continues to ramp up modernization efforts and capability production, it was remarkable to see firsthand the NNSA’s world-class detection systems, cutting-edge technology and unparalleled expertise,” Ambassador Billingslea said. “I am grateful to Administrator Gordon-Hagerty and the men and women of NNSA. Their exceptionalism leaves no doubt that America’s nuclear deterrent is, and will remain, safe, secure, and effective.”

Ambassador Billingslea was appointed by the President as the Special Presidential Envoy for Arms Control April 10, 2020. In this role, he leads the Nation’s arms control discussions, negotiating the follow-on to the New START treaty, and pursuing the most effective and verifiable agreements possible in order to protect the American people and preserve the security of our allies. He recently returned from senior-level negotiations with the Russian Federation in Vienna, Austria.

NNSA plays a significant role in ongoing arms controls discussions led by the Ambassador, given its missions to maintain a safe, secure, and effective nuclear stockpile for the Nation and to strengthen nonproliferation and arms control regimes which prevent proliferation, ensure peaceful nuclear uses, and enable verifiable nuclear reductions.

This week of nuclear security site visits provided an opportunity for NNSA to familiarize the Ambassador with the agency’s technical expertise in support of these missions. The interaction across the enterprise is critical to the Ambassador and relevant interagency partners as they work to establish a new arms control framework that covers all nuclear warheads, supported by a robust verification regime. The ability to move towards a treaty covering all nuclear warheads has been a desire of the arms control community for decades, and the United States is stepping up to increase strategic stability across the globe.

Ambassador Billingslea and Administrator Gordon-Hagerty were joined by representatives from the Department of State, the Department of Defense (DoD), and NNSA’s Office of Defense Programs and Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation.

The first stop on the trip was Los Alamos National Laboratory, a nuclear weapons design laboratory in Los Alamos, New Mexico. The delegation was briefed on warhead design and warhead verification and detection technologies.

The discussion continued at the next stop, Sandia National Laboratories, a weapons engineering laboratory in Albuquerque, New Mexico, that handles non-nuclear component design. At Sandia, the delegation visited the Center for National Security and Arms Control, and also had the opportunity to view the Laboratories’ work for DoD on hypersonic vehicles and technologies.

The last stop on the New Mexico leg of the tour was Kirtland Air Force Base.

The next destination was the Pantex Plant near Amarillo, Texas, where nuclear warheads are assembled and disassembled. The group was briefed on the safe and secure transport of warheads, as well as warhead storage and the DOE-DoD chain of custody for nuclear weapons.

Finally, the week’s events came to a close at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, where NNSA’s uranium and lithium work takes place. The delegation focused on discussion of weapons components and related work.

“We welcome the Ambassador’s interest in the invaluable missions of NNSA, and I am so glad we had the opportunity to highlight our talented workforce and their many achievements,” said Administrator Gordon-Hagerty at the end of the tour. “The Department of State and our other interagency partners have our unwavering support for U.S. arms control efforts, while we simultaneously work together to strengthen our deterrent to protect our Nation and our allies.”

Follow the Administrator on Twitter at @LGHNNSA to keep up with her travels. 

Established by Congress in 2000, NNSA is a semi-autonomous agency within the U.S. Department of Energy responsible for enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear science. NNSA maintains and enhances the safety, security, and effectiveness of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile; works to reduce the global danger from weapons of mass destruction; provides the U.S. Navy with safe and militarily effective nuclear propulsion; and responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the U.S. and abroad.