March 3, 2021

Andrew Weston-Dawkes
Director, Office of Classification
US Department of Energy

Dear Dr. Weston-Dawkes:

This is a proposal for declassification pursuant to 10 C.F.R. 1045.20 regarding 
information classified under the Atomic Energy Act.

We request that the Department of Energy and the Department of Defense authorize 
the declassification of the size of the U.S. nuclear stockpile and the number of 
weapons dismantled as of each of the following dates:

	30 September 2018
	30 September 2019
	30 September 2020

As you know, our previous requests for declassification of stockpile information 
in these years were denied, even though similar data for all prior years have been 

However, we believe that changed circumstances justify revisiting the issue and 
declassifying the requested data. Specifically:

1. The President has called upon agencies to adopt "the highest standards of 

In a February 4, 2021 National Security Memorandum on "Revitalizing America's 
Foreign Policy and National Security Workforce, Institutions, and Partnerships" 
(available on the White House website here), the President wrote:

	"In a democracy, the public deserves as much transparency as possible regarding 
	the work of our national security institutions, consistent with legitimate needs 
	to protect sources and methods and sensitive foreign relationships.  The 
	revitalization of our national security and foreign policy workforce requires a 
	recommitment to the highest standards of transparency."

By terminating the annual disclosure of stockpile information, the prior Administration 
retreated from "the highest standards of transparency" that previously prevailed. 
Restoring such disclosure is consistent with the President's February 4 directive.

2. The New START Treaty has been extended.

The prior refusal to disclose annual stockpile information coincided with a period 
of uncertainty regarding the status of the New START Treaty, which may have 
contributed indirectly to the denial of declassification.

But with the recent extension of the New START Treaty, current circumstances more 
closely resemble those of the years 2010-2017 when the annual stockpile data was declassified.

				*	*	*

Beyond that, we believe that the reasons that led to the previous declassifications 
of stockpile information are still valid. The benefits of declassification are 
substantial while the detrimental consequences, if any, are insignificant.

As the first nuclear weapons state, the United States should strive to set a global 
example for clarity and transparency in nuclear weapons policy by disclosing its 
current stockpile size. Ambiguity is not helpful to anyone in this context.

Far from diminishing security, a credible USG account of its stockpile size both 
enhances deterrence and serves as a confidence building measure. Even if other nations 
do not immediately follow our lead, stockpile declassification sends a valuable 
message. And at a time when the future of US nuclear weapons policy is under 
discussion in Congress and elsewhere, stockpile disclosure also helps to provide 
a factual foundation for ongoing public deliberation.

For these reasons, we request that the Department of Energy and the Department of 
Defense declassify and disclose the number of nuclear weapons in the U.S. stockpile 
and the number of weapons dismantled at the end of each of Fiscal Years 2018, 2019, and 2020.

Thank you for your consideration.

Steven Aftergood

Steven Aftergood
Project on Government Secrecy
Federation of American Scientists
1112  16th  Street NW, Suite 400
Washington, DC  20036

voice: (202)454-4691