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January 26, 2001

DOD to DOE: Nuclear Stockpile Info Must Remain Secret

by Daniel G. Dupont

The Defense Department has rejected an Energy Department request to declassify information on the quantities and status of nuclear weapons in the U.S. stockpile.

In a Dec. 20 letter to retired Air Force Gen. Eugene Habiger, director of the DOE office of security and emergency operations, Pentagon chief information officer Arthur Money said the Defense Department “believes the current classification policy is still valid and does not agree with declassifying this information.”

Such stockpile information “is directly relevant to the reconstitution of nuclear forces,” Money adds.

The letter was first reported today in Secrecy News, an e-mail newsletter published by the Federation of American Scientists.

Habiger, in a May 10, 2000 letter to Money, proposed the declassification “of total nuclear weapon stockpile quantities (past, present, and future) and subcategorization of those quantities by purpose, delivery system, and active/inactive status, but not by location or specific weapon type.”

Habiger submitted the request because DOE believes the information in question is unclassified “in a macro sense,” he wrote. Both departments must agree to declassify nuclear weapons information.

Money contends that “in today’s environment of significantly reduced nuclear weapon stockpile numbers, the proposed declassification and subcategorization would reveal sensitive information pertaining to the pace and scope of changes in nuclear weapon stockpile quantities and status [and] could provide significant information on stockpile modernization, international treaty compliance and negotiation positions.”

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