House Committee Hears Testimony on Budget for Nuclear Weapons for FY2023

The House Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces hears testimony from Defense Department and Department of Energy leaders on the fiscal year 2023 budget request for U.S. nuclear weapon and warhead modernization and sustainment plans. Witnesses include Jill M. Hruby, undersecretary for nuclear security at the Department of Energy; Deborah G. Rosenblum, assistant secretary of defense for nuclear, chemical and biological defense programs; John F. Plumb, assistant secretary of defense for space policy; Navy Vice Adm. Johnny R. Wolfe Jr., director of Navy Strategic Systems Programs; Air Force Lt. Gen. James C. Dawkins, deputy chief of staff of Strategic Deterrence and Nuclear Integration.


Alright before we get started, Members who are joining remotely must be visible on screen for the purpose of identity verification, establishing and maintaining a quorum participating in the proceedings and voting Those members must continue to use the software platform video function while in attendance unless they experience connectivity issues or other technical problems that render them unable to participate on camera. If a member experiences technical difficulties they should contact the committee staff for assistance. Video of members participation will be broadcast in the room and via the television internet feeds member participating remotely must seek recognition verbally and they are asked to mute their microphones when they’re not speaking. Members who are participating remotely are reminded to keep the software platforms video function on the entire time they attend the proceeding, Members may leave and rejoin the proceeding. If members depart for a short while for reasons other than joining a different proceeding, they should leave the video function on if members will be absent for a significant period or depart to join a different proceeding, they should exit the software platform entirely and then rejoin it. If they return, members may use the software platform chat function to communicate with staff regarding technical or logistical support issues only. Finally I have designated a committee staff member to if necessary, mute unrecognized members, microphone, cancel any inadvertent background noise that may disrupt the proceedings. This hearing will come to order. I would like to begin by thanking our distinguished panel of witnesses, we look forward to your testimony. We have the honorable Jill ruby administrator of the National Nuclear Security administration. The honorable Deborah Rosenblum. Assistant Secretary of Defense for nuclear chemical and biological defense programs. The honorable john plum, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy, Vice Admiral johnny Wolfe, Director of the U. S. Navy Strategic Systems Programs and Lieutenant General James Dawkins, U. S. Air Force, Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategic deterrence and Nuclear Integration. I would like to ask unanimous consent that the remainder of my statement be inserted into the record. I request the witnesses keep their opening remarks to no more than five minutes and that members respect the same time limit for their questioning as members know we’re under some time pressure due to the pending cascade of votes which I understand has been delayed a little bit. And if a miracle were to happen, we could actually complete the public portion of this hearing and get to the private session um and complete that today. Otherwise we will have to just do the public section today and then try to reschedule the classified hearing later. I now turn to my ranking member, Mr. Lamborn for any opening remarks that he has and Mr. Chairman I too will ask that my statement be uh introduced into the record and at that point we can go straight into questions awesome. I knew I liked you. Um which witness would like to go first. We’re going to skip the statements and just go straight to. Well I thought that we were. Well if y’all are all right to just go straight to questions or do you want five minutes openings each would you like to do if you’d like? We can go straight to I think we’ve all been warned that you might want to go straight to questions, but we’re also all have opening statements. So your call, if it’s okay with members including those on video, why don’t we just go ahead and go straight to questions. Um Thank the witnesses for being here. You represent a tremendous amount of accumulated knowledge and expertise. Also a large portion of the federal budget. And um I want to start with you dr ruby. What can we do to help you achieve your tasks? Because N. N. S. A. It’s under a lot of time pressure. You have a lot going on. What can we do to help? For example, quicken the pace of pit production, including getting south Carolina started. Well, thank you Chairman Cooper for the question. You know, we feel that the budget we have is nearly enough to do everything we can imagine doing. Um and you know, regarding pit production, we’re uh planning to complete the the design efforts of the 90% design of Savannah River And the Los Alamos Production Capabilities in 2024. So we’ll be working on it through 2023. Uh and we still have an objective to get to 2030 as close to possible on the Savannah River preproduction facility. Here’s the request though. We do have an unfunded letter that is associated with what we now see as real issues arising uh in supply chain uh For things that we need in the Savannah River pit production facility. So we are requesting um some additional funds that the N. W. C. Is reviewing. We’re reviewing this week uh to allow us to do early procurement. Uh so that when the design is complete we can begin construction uh and not be interrupted. That sounds good. I’ll turn it over to my ranking member, Mr. Lamborn. If he has questions. Thank you. I have several administrator. I have a another question for you. Last fall Secretary Granholm Granholm notified Congress that in an essay would be unable to meet the statutory requirement to produce no fewer than 80 plutonium pits per year by 2030. This notification triggered a separate legal requirement under 50 U. S. Code 2 53 A. For the Nuclear Weapons Council to provide Congress with a comprehensive plan for getting the program back on track? However the Nuclear weapons Council recently informed us that no plan would be provided as a member of the nuclear weapons council. Can you tell us why the council has chosen not to comply with this requirement to provide Congress with a plan to correct these deficiencies. I think what we have in this question is uh maybe a misunderstanding. Our intent is to as a council to make sure that we understand what we can do With the pits that we think are reasonable to produce and the timeframes to produce them. Uh and the and the statutory requirement, as I understand it is to say whether or not we’ll produce 80 pits per year by 2030. I don’t know if that’s your question. Um But the council I think is fully committed to doing everything that we need to do statutorily. Uh and if we’re missing something, um what it seems to me that we’re missing is that Since you can’t reach that goal, what are you gonna do instead to to to make up for that a secretary plum? Do you do you want to throw inside? Yes, Congressman. So aware of your uh the statutory request is how would we break glass to get to 2030 and get to the deepest by 2030. The Nuclear Weapons Council, including everyone here that sits in those meetings. Uh We don’t see any path to doing that. There are places where throwing more money at a problem just wastes money. Um and so instead we’re looking at what’s the fastest way to get to 80. And we are waiting for a critical design review. I think uh undersecretary ruby or Assistant Secretary Rosenbloom could speak to that. That will give us more and better fidelity on on where to get to next and how fast we can do it. Uh Yes. Uh Congressman um as the Staff Director for the Nuclear Weapons Council um I can elaborate a little bit. Um the there were two letters that were combined that was sent from the N. W. C. Chair, one that spoke to um the pit production which you’ve just gone over now in terms of not being able to reach that by 2030 coupled with then a discussion about the budget certification and whether there was a need for additional monies in order to meet actually 2030. Um What the N. W. C. Is doing now is they are working very closely between Department of Energy as well as Department of Defense to look at where there may be some actions that can be taken by D. O. E. That will bring it as close as possible to 2030 and that work is underway right now and will be through the summer. Um And we’re expecting to have some initial recommendations by early fall when it comes time to be producing some of the guidance. Okay, that does help me understand better. Although I do want to have the comprehensive plan that is called for under the laws that we’ve passed here in this committee. Secretary Secretary plum, I have a couple questions on the B 83. Uh The rationale of this administration to retire the B 83 gravity bomb without a replacement capability is not clear to me. In fact it is my understanding that not only is there no replacement capability but the process to identify candidates for a replacement capability has not even yet started. However, the hard and deeply buried targets set remains a requirement for Admiral Richard and U. S. Strategic Command. How does administration justify removing this capability from our strategic arsenal which will effectively prevent our military from achieving its deterrence requirements. Thank you, congressman Lamborn. So, uh look at this problem and there’s actually two separate problem statements. The first question is, what about the B 83. 2nd question is hard and deeply buried targets. So let me start with the second, hard, deeply buried targets are a problem. It’s a problem we’re committed to solving. Uh, and we have a study underway I believe for that and that is an ongoing conversation we’re gonna have to have with this committee and within the department to figure out how to solve it because our enemies are digging deeper and harder separate problem. B 83 does not solve all these issues. Uh, those of increasingly limited utility uh, and retiring, It does not change the heart and deeply buried target problem set a lot of this conversation. I’m afraid we have to defer to the classified session whenever we have that. Okay, well, I want to follow up on that part of the issue and I want to Raise a side issue with the B- 83. Um, I realize that there is a smaller target set given advances in our defenses. However, that target set still does exist. And a critical part of our deterrence posture is ensuring that our competitors don’t think that they have an advantage based on perceived capability gaps. So this decision codifies a capability gap and creates an opening for them to consider exploiting. I don’t think we should give them an inch when it comes to our deterrence posture. And this also would include the administration’s decision to cancel or stop funding the sl cm slick them in program, even though Russia has fielded a similar system for years. So why not develop a replacement Plan to go after hard and buried targets before retiring the B- 83. So congressman, we have a time phase problem with the way you’ve just phrased that, uh, again, the heart and deeply buried target problems that it’s nothing we’re focused on. The B-83 doesn’t give us that solution for it may not give a complete solution, but it gives a partial solution more than we have otherwise of increasingly limited value. But right now it is a better solution than anything else out there on the table would in our, in our arsenal. If the gentleman would yield, we might be able to discuss this more fully in closed session. Okay, let’s let’s gentlemen have other questions. That’s it. Let’s do that. Mr. Morton. Thank you. Mr. Chairman. Thank you. I have just one question, but it’s a philosophical question that I think is actually important for the American people to hear. And I would invite any one of the five of you too to answer it Over the next 10 years. We’re going to spend $634 billion dollars on modernizing our nuclear arsenal. Not building a nuclear arsenal because we already have quite an extensive one but simply modernizing away to wipe out all human life on this planet. I sit on this committee because I understand that it’s important. But how would you explain to your kids? Why we’re making this kind of investment? Yeah. Yesterday it took me exactly 12 hours and five minutes to go. The 100 450 miles from Boston to Washington. Why? Because our entire transportation system breaks down due to a thunderstorm. We’re the only developed nation in the world that doesn’t have high speed rail which would have a train every 20 minutes. That takes three hours to go from Boston to Washington. with $634 billion 10 years, You could connect every city in the nation with 250mph trains. The point is we’re making serious tradeoffs to invest this kind of money and our nuclear arsenal someday. My three year old’s gonna ask why are you voting for this, daddy? How do you explain this to your kids? Mm hmm. Can you hear me? Is this on? Yes, you can. Thank you. General. So what I would tell my Children is that it’s a dangerous world. It’s increasingly more dangerous. As we’ve seen what’s happened with Ukraine as we hear about the the strategic breakout with China. Of course North Korea and others, those countries seem to value nuclear weapons quite a bit. In fact, they’ve all with the exception of North Korea. Of course China has now developed a triad as Russia’s had to try it for years. They’re not stopping any of their work on new types of weapons systems and what we found through the years is the best deterrent to prevent our a nuclear conflict from happening is to ensure that what we have on the United States side is safe, secure, modernized, incredible. And so that’s what I would, I would tell my Children what I do tell my Children And that if we were going to have a triad, which is just the administration and previous administrations have decided that we will and we’ve got to make sure whatever we put into the field remain safe, secure, reliable and credible. Admiral. So I, I would echo what General Dawkins said. And I would also sort of point out that you made the point, we have an extensive triad as it is today. That is a true statement. But if I could add on to what General Dawkins said. But to be credible, Safe and reliable. These systems age out. So we’re not asking to go put exquisite new systems in place. We’re not asking to go build two new requirements. Were just asking to modernize what we’ve got today because over the last 50 plus years it has proven it works. But it’s got to be reliable and credible because it’s not about what we believe. It’s what it’s what Russia and china believe and the day they believe that our systems don’t work and they’re not credible is the day that they may ask, the question is today, the day. So that’s exactly why we’re asking to modernize what we’ve got, not increase, not grow numbers. It’s just modernized what we have today because we’ve proven throughout time these systems perform exactly what we want to perform. Which is deterrence, credible deterrence from anybody ever challenging our way of life. Anyone, anyone else that we can. No, I would just add that. Um, you know, and building on what has already been said here, that the administration took a hard look at this issue and looked at the threat picture and where the our adversaries are expected to be 10, 15 years from now and felt that that um certainly merited a decision to fully fund the triad. And that’s what’s in the President’s budget. Thank you. Mr. Chairman. I yield back. Thank you. The gentleman’s time has expired. Mr. Wilson. Thank you. Mr. Chairman. And again, Mr. Chairman, we’re going to miss your service. But we wish you well in the future with that. Um Secretary Hubie, I really appreciate your service as a former deputy general counsel myself of D. O. E. Where I had the great opportunity to serve with the very legendary eric Figgy who retired last Friday. He has just been an inspiration of service to our country and he will be missed. Um Sir Terry here B and your letter to the House Armed Services Committee, you stated that the president’s budget request of N. N. S. A. Is $500 million below the requirements based budget submitted by do we? This additional funding would allow activities to be started as early as possible for the savannah river plutonium processing facility and support meeting the requirements of 80 pits per year As close to 2030 as possible to achieve peace through strength as a deterrence to Putin, Chinese Iranian and north Korean modernization. Can you break down the $500 million figure for the NSA unfunded priorities letter? What is the plan to spend and how this additional funding will help mitigate risk? What are the challenges to the current trajectory of getting to 80 pits per year? If this funding is not obtained? Thank you congressman. The uh $500 million dollar request uh is largely to purchase uh Equipment that will go in the Savannah River pit production facility and allow us to build 80 pits per year after the construction is complete. Uh the what we have found in other large construction projects, particularly the Iranian processing facility. Uh is that and with Covid is that there are some pieces of nuclear qualified equipment and glove boxes that are taking a very long time because in part because we’re doing so much modernization. Uh and so what we would like to do is um is specify and procure some equipment earlier. This is essentially bringing up costs from later in the program to earlier in the program. Uh so that it will be uh we will be able to do construction as uninterrupted as possible. Thank you very much. And Madam Secretary, I’m grateful for the news that the high winds around lost almost national Security laboratory have subsided, allowing firefighters to battle back against the deadly brush fires in the area. This underscores the need to solidify a two state solution for plutonium pit production which would provide redundancy in the event of a further unexpected events. That could shut down this crucial part of our nuclear deterrent strategy and modernization efforts. What other benefits does the two sides solution provide that mitigates risk and prevents delays to our crucial nuclear modernization needs. Yeah, thank you for that question. Uh and the we have said all along that we believe this to site solution does to two things. It’s the most efficient and cost effective approach because we can take advantage of qualified nuclear facility. That was the shell that was already constructed for the mixed metal oxide facility. Uh and we and we will get resilience. Um There are other things uh that can, you know, any accident, uh even if it doesn’t, you know, hurt people, We have to investigate completely when it involves plutonium, any security breach. Uh There are a number of things that could happen that could close a plutonium facility while being investigated or while being fixed. Uh the, but the fires are a good example of why resilience is so important in today’s world and um, yeah, so thank you for that question. But we think this is both cost effective approach uh best utilizes talent and provides the most resilience. Thank you for your insight. And also I want to thank you for highlighting the importance of cyber security at our nuclear facilities in your testimony. I’m grateful that the efforts of the Istrian general Van McCarty of the south Carolina garden, change the Daniel Hyneman of the USC akin for investing in the dream ports facility, which will partner with industry and defense to train the next generation of cybersecurity experts. What are the challenges faced by NSA for recruiting and retaining high performing cybersecurity professionals? I think the, the challenges we have are similar to the challenges in other areas that this is a highly paid profession and great demand. So we have to, I always the first thing we have to do is get people who really care about the mission. Uh We, we can’t forget to stress the mission. People get to do incredible work for the American people when they protect our systems from cyber. Uh And secondly we we uh we have to pay um competitive as close to competitive um salaries and benefits as we can at least fair salaries uh and and benefits uh so that we can attract these people. So we are doing everything we can to get people hooked on our mission as early as possible in their um their education uh and everything we can to convince them to stay once they’ve come. But it is a challenge the gentleman would be by state. I’m working with Congress and rick Allen Georgia and south Carolina time has expired. Um Mr. Morelli thank you so much. Mr. chairman. I I just want to start by saying, my district is home to the laboratory for laser energetic L. L. E. At the University of Rochester, a key part of the n en ESAs inertial confinement fusion program which is a critical component of the stockpile stewardship program that maintains a safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent. I’m glad to have the opportunity to discuss this program in the fy 23 budget. Which leads me to my question madam Administrator. The nn essays inertial confinement Um fusion facilities like the one I mentioned in my district are the only facility is capable of accessing and studying the high energy density conditions responsible for 99% of the yield of our nuclear devices, and as such they are a crucial component of the science based stockpile stewardship program that underlies underlies our confidence in the safety reliability and effectiveness of our nuclear stockpile despite the I. C. F. Programs. Critical role in our national security and strong support from this committee and from the Congress. And okay excuse me, has routinely requested harmful cuts in the program in the President’s budget requests including again this year. So I wonder if you could um just described how the proposed cuts impact our nation’s high energy density science capabilities and and essays ability to fulfill its stockpile stewardship mission now and in the future. Well thank you. As you stated. Uh Ri CFR in our inertial confinement fusion um program is very important to our stockpile stewardship program And the three facilities your facility omega, the national ignition facility and the Z. Machine Um all contribute to that mission. Um our request uh is we believe a balanced request is the same request as in fiscal year 22 for this for this program and the facility. Um we do have a lot of things on our plate. We want to maintain the science but we have to balance that with all the deliverables. We have an infrastructure modernization and and weapon modernization. Uh So we are fully committed to continuing to fund um the inertial confinement fusion program. Um The laboratory for laser energetic and the omega facility. But we’re just doing it in a balanced manner. Well we may I may continue to to raise this with you and continue to talk to committee colleagues about that. I do want also just if you could just further comment on the request. Notes that the I. C. F. Facilities are aging and will need significant investments to sustain them. Appoint have also raised before and Congress has requested the N. S. A. Provide a strategic plan for recapitalizing upgrading and maintaining the major I. CF. Facilities. Can you provide a sense of when an essay may provide that plan and what level of resources will be needed to meet the sustainment requirements? Yeah. Thank you. We do. We are we are we are developing the 10 year um I CF. Facility and infrastructure plan. Uh And uh we have you know we we are we actually with the uh the the new um uh we are Marv Adams we are we are talking about this every day actually. Um how are we going to get the money to sustain our science facilities? Why we need so much money to do our production modernization program. We appreciate being asked for a plan and we’re working on it. I’m sorry I’ll have to get back with you on a date. I I don’t have a date I can promise today. Um And I just really quickly you personally outlined challenges confronting an N. S. A. Workforce and um the need to meet mission requirements and delivering on objectives. We have 400 scientists, engineers and staff just at the L. L. E. E. Uh And we train students in inertial confinement fusion and high energy density physics, we play a critical role in attracting talent. Um Can you talk a little bit about what you intend to do to try to um not only achieved um workforce needs but also promoting the expansion of the workforce so that it promotes racial and economic equity within that workforce. Absolutely. We have we have a lot of university programs and we’re very proud of the minority serving education programs that we have. Uh We in fact we just were concerned about um all elements of our workforce from crafts and technologists through PhD scientists and L. E. Serves a very important purpose for creating scientists. Uh And we’re also looking to um And continue our Mississippi programs are minority serving institution partnership programs uh and and education programs. And today we just announced a $5 million dollar program aimed at technology, crafts and crafts workers. Thank you. Mr. I apologize for going over but I yield back, Gentleman’s time has expired, Mr. Desjarlais. I’ll try to ask uh punctual questions and hopefully get the same answers. Miss Ruby. Last year Congress increased the minor construction threshold to 25 million. How helpful was that? Can you uh just outline a couple of successes and how would you benefit if if we were to do that even more. Such as Mr. burden your predecessor had asked for. Yeah. Um thank you and thanks so much for increasing this threshold. Um I actually got some statistics on this. Uh we since 20, since since we changed the level from 10 million to 20 million. Um uh we have completed um uh 16 projects and have 43 new projects underway and 10 proposed for fiscal year 23. Um if we raise the with the threshold that 25 million now, um two projects are underway and two projects are proposed for 23. uh I’m a big fan of these minor construction projects because we can streamline them. They’re much more efficient there much faster. Uh And I think the higher threshold is an innovative way to help us with Office space with with General Laboratory space um and non nuclear construction and really appreciate the support that’s been provided. I would love to see it go even higher. Okay, I can probably guess the answer to this. Just and follow up with the inflation at 8% and construction materials soaring 20% or more. Would you be supportive of Peggy in the minor construction threshold to the inflation rate? So you don’t have to come back every year or two to make the same ask. I would like that. I mean from my perspective, if we could get it to the right level and then incremental by inflation, that would be perfect. Uh and I would suggest that a level above $25 million dollars before we start implementing for inflation is worth a look. Okay and General Dawkins, if you had to describe one thing that is obstructing your ability to to do your job successfully, what would that be? I I don’t know that it is obstructing our ability to do it right now but it’s clear are consistent and stable funding as we move forward into the nuclear modernization bow wave it’s gonna be more more imperative that we are able to have new starts um And with inflation coming in as well, that’s an important piece there. Uh So basically the less uh less crs we can have a much better place will be particularly with regard to Mill con on gps de mille con or central. I’m sorry Milken is such a big part of sentinel but again all these programs are are coming starting to ramp up at the same time and it’s critical we don’t have any margin left to delay programs. So I would say consistent, stable funding with your support. Okay thank you for your back. Thank you gentlemen. Mr. Garamendi. A lot of questions need to be asked and answered with regard to the sentinel. General Dawkins, we need detailed information. You just mentioned Milken at the moment. It’s the details needed, it’s not available. Please provide it. There was discussion General Dawkins, she said this but this goes to all of you, you’re talking about a bow wave the last time. The bow ways was discussed here was at least five years ago. I have not seen any recent updates based upon inflation and other matters. I would like to have that. So please if you would if not to the committee at least to me also. MS Herbie, what how many pits can be produced at Los Alamos? Our goal is to produce 30 pits per year. Reliably Would they be when will you reach that production level? 2026 2026 General Dawkins, When do you need the 87 dash one to put on your new sentinel? The sentinel field will filled with the 87-0 IOC of 2029. Okay. Does that 87-0 need new pits? The 87-1. Well we’ll feel 2037 0 does not need a new pit, 87-0 does not need not need a new pit. The 87-1 requires the pits and we were working with the nuclear weapons Council and in an essay to ensure that we don’t have much time. Just just just the answer to the question please. So the 87-1 requires a new pit. When do you need the 87-1? We are planning to integrate it in 2030, and how many we integrate each year? Beginning in 2030 for the next decade. So I don’t have that information with me. I can certainly take that for the record and provide that. Please do. The point here is if you’re able to produce beginning in 26 30 per year By 2030, you will have how many? 120 in stock. Right? And then each year thereafter you produce 30 You will, you repurpose more than 30 per year in the in the decade. 30-40. The answer is probably not. And therefore why do you want to spend $500 million 87-1 pit production. MS Herbie. Your question. Yeah. Well all the reason that we’re making new pits, that all the pits and the stockpile are aging. Um, the pits in the stockpile were last produced. Okay. Okay. So specifically tell me which pits and which weapons will you be needing new? Which weapons will you be needing new pits and when? Yeah. Uh, so that that information we’re still developing as nuclear Weapons Council. But if we sustain the stockpile for Another 30 years or more, which I, Which kind of looks like we’re doing, we will need more pits than the 87 1. So the next 30 to 50 years We’re going to start. We need Savannah River now and you need 500 million now because you might need, you do, you clearly do not need Savannah River to produce the pits necessary For the 87-1. If there are other weapons that need pits, please deliver that specific information? We will. And a general question in the next one minute, what does it take for deterrence? What does it take for deterrence triad? A new sentinel Columbia class submarines? What does it take? I have never heard a rational answer to that question. I’ve heard history Which you just gave us well for 50 years. It’s worked. What does it take? Be happy to have a discussion later. My time is about to expire but until we have a clear answer to that question And don’t tell me because it worked for the last 50 years is going to work for the next 50. I don’t buy that a year back. The gentleman’s time has expired. Mr. Langevin, Thank you. Mr. Chairman, can you hear me okay? Yes. Okay. Thank you. Mr. Chairman. I want to thank our witnesses for their testimony today. I wish I were there in person But let me begin following on the deterrence issue and kind of questioning. So as we know nuclear deterrence operations do not take place in a vacuum. I want to know how is the Air Force thinking about other capabilities like cyber space uh conventional capability center. When it comes to integrated deterrence. Doctor Plumber probably has questioned the most appropriate for you. Thank you congressman Benjamin. So I want to be clear uh integrated terms is very important. It’s how do we get the most out of our capabilities and the most deterrence function out of all? It does not reduce the role of nuclear weapons as the bedrock of our deterrent function. But when you mentioned the different functional offices, some several of which I have, you know, policy responsibility for, I think they all come into play in 21st century warfare. As we look at uh, china on the ascendancy as our pacing challenge the ability to deliver effects both in cyber and in space and using nuclear, our nuclear return as our kind of bedrock uh, to to prevent a nuclear level conflict. I think they’re all important. They all need work as you know, from our other hearings as well. Uh, and I believe the entire department would agree that we are pushing hard on all of those things. Those are all functions that we need to be well invested in and have the right personnel on the right training, the right equipment and how are we broadcasting that to our our enemies and adversaries so that they understand what our posture is. Uh and let me ask you this, how is the the Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine affected your perspective on integrated deterrents. Uh, thank you. I would I would suggest that the answer to those two questions is the same, Who are seeing a version of integrated deterrence every day and the way uh Russia is being bogged down in Ukraine, the way we’ve been able to raise allies uh across NATO in support of supplying Ukrainians with weapons and information, the way we are using our intelligence and our cyber and our overhead assets for imagery uh to declassify and release information ahead of the Russian uh intent to basically not allow them to weaponize the information sphere. These are all related. I think it’s obviously early in this approach, but so far what I see is effectiveness and I see it’s a learning curve for the Russians, learning some for us. And I also believe china is watching and getting the message as well that you shouldn’t be messing with us. Mr. B and dr palmer returned to something else on this perspective, cyber. Um as with any part of our nuclear triad, we must absolutely ensure that we have robust cybersecurity practices in place. I want to know, how are your organization’s ensuring that we have cyber baked in to our nuclear capabilities? Yes, sir, absolutely Cyber is absolutely important as you know. Well, you know, cyberwarfare is uh is just at its beginning and so baking in uh robust cyber defenses, not just as a perimeter, but in depth is absolutely essential. And of course that extends uh to our nuclear infrastructure, not just the weapons themselves but our platforms and also are, you know, N. N. S. A. Has already spoken to that uh it is it is part of every meeting that I am in just add from N. N. S. A perspective that while we’ve been working on The cyber and and and enterprise assurance. Uh, this the 23 budget calls that out as a separate project activity and separate line item. So it will be quite visible and and and you’ll see a sustained effort on our part. Yeah, absolutely critical going forward. Um, the last thing I’ll ask you this may have to go for the record. Uh, Mr. B uh, I’m concerned about issues that I’ve heard with respect to recruitment and retention uh, from several nuclear weapons labs. How are you working to retain that? That top talent and what can congress do to help? Yeah, very briefly. First, it is a problem. Uh second we continue to think mission is our biggest asset, but we are doing, we uh, we offered this year to R. M. N. O. Contractors amid year salary adjustment to try to keep pace with inflation and stem attrition. We’re looking at benefits packages and uh, we hope you will support our efforts to stay competitive. Very good. Thank you. Mr. Chairman. I appreciate the witness’s testimony today and I’ll go back and balancing my time. Lots of time to buy it. The Gentleman’s time has expired. Um, we are about 25 minutes into the first vote in a long series. So we will not have time to move into closed session as I had hoped unless there is an urgent question from a member right now. I plan on adjourning this hearing. Is there an urgent question from many of our colleagues? If not, then I want to thank the witnesses. I regret the inconvenience. Um, I appreciate my colleagues who showed up for the hearing coming, and I look forward to rescheduling the closed session, which I’ve always found to be more valuable in the public session so hopefully we can find a time that’s convenient for everyone and hopefully no votes will interfere in that closed session. So I thank the witnesses. The hearing is adjourned.

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