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Audit Report: OAS-M-04-05

August 3, 2004

Management Controls over the National Nuclear Security Administration's Enhanced Test Readiness Program

Prior to 1992, the Department of Energy (Department) relied on underground nuclear testing and other tests to ensure the safety, reliability, and performance of the Nation's nuclear weapons. When a moratorium was placed on underground testing, the Department implemented a science-based Stockpile Stewardship Program designed to ensure that weapons were safe and reliable. The Department was, however, required to develop the capability to resume testing within 24-36 months should the need arise. In respone to external recommendations by a Congressionally chartered panel and the Nuclear Posture Review, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) initiated efforts to reduce testing lead-time to 18 months. These efforts began in 2002 and were collectively known as the Enhanced Test Readiness Program.This reduction in lead time was estimated to cost $30 million a year over three years. Once achieved, the 18-month posture would require about $26 million a year to maintain.