The National Security Strategy Keeps America Safe And Prosperous

on February 11, 2015 at 5:00 PM

Between 1993 and 2013, the Megatons to Megawatts program turned the nuclear material from 20,000 warheads into usable electricity. | Photo courtesy of NNSA.

President Obama has released the National Security Strategy (NSS) to outline the progress the Administration has made over the past six years and to highlight U.S. priorities to advance our interests in the years ahead. The Department of Energy (DOE) is charged with implementing several of the missions the President highlights in the NSS as critical to our national security, including nuclear security and energy security at home and abroad, and mitigating the risks of climate change.

Nuclear Security
The NSS highlights the grave danger posed by the proliferation of nuclear weapons and the potential use of nuclear weapons and materials by irresponsible states or terrorists. DOE plays a major role to prevent, counter and respond to these threats. And while President Obama continues to seek a world without nuclear weapons, he has been equally clear that as long as nuclear weapons exist, the United States must invest the resources necessary to maintain — without testing — a safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent. Through the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), DOE is committed to maintaining a reliable nuclear stockpile, while reducing its overall size in a science-based approach carved out of our nuclear security laboratories and production facilities.

For example, in 2014, NNSA completed all major milestones of the 1993 U.S.-Russia Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) Purchase Agreement, commonly known as the Megatons to Megawatts Program, which eliminated enough material for 20,000 nuclear weapons. Also of note, NNSA partnered with Belgium, Canada and Italy, and with Russia, Kazakhstan, Hungary and Poland to eliminate 190 kilograms of weapons-usable materials. NNSA has developed and maintained the scientific infrastructure to continue the 20 plus year history of certifying the safety, security and effectiveness of the stockpile without testing which is a remarkable accomplishment.

Energy Security
The “all-of-the-above” approach the United States is taking to energy supply is one of the great success stories of this new century. Moving closer to a low carbon future, the United States is now the world’s largest natural gas and oil producer, increasing oil production by more than 30 percent between 2011 and 2013. At the same time, our dependence on foreign oil is at a 20-year low — and declining — and we are leading a new clean energy economy with renewable energy production at an all-time high. Today’s vehicles are more efficient than ever, with light-duty vehicles reaching an efficiency of 24.1 miles per gallon in October 2014,  further reducing our dependence on oil and saving Americans money at the gas pump. While production in the Middle East and elsewhere remains vitally important for the global market, increased U.S. production is helping keep markets well-supplied and prices conducive to economic growth. Since President Obama took office, the U.S. has increased solar electricity generation by more than ten-fold and tripled electricity production from wind power. The key driver is continued cost reduction of clean energy technology.

U.S. progress in strengthening our energy security also increases the security of our partners. Prompted by concerns that the Russia and Ukraine conflict could allow energy to be used as a tool of coercion, I worked with G-7 Energy Ministers last year to develop a set of core principles for a coordinated energy security strategy. These principles emphasized a broad and collective approach to energy security that not only considers diversifying energy supplies and technologies, but also the impacts of energy efficiency and climate. DOE along with other interagency and international partners, for example, have supported the Government of Ukraine in the development of their own winter contingency plan. Together we are boosting our collective energy security while strengthening our economies.

Climate Change
America is leading efforts at home and with the international community to confront the challenges posed by climate change. DOE is contributing to our long-term climate goals, first and foremost, by supporting technology innovation.

The landmark agreement President Obama announced with China in November is a major step forward for the multilateral climate negotiations as we work toward a strong global climate agreement. We’re also working closely with India, Western Hemisphere nations and Power Africa members to achieve an ambitious climate agreement in Paris this December.

This is a time of global change. We have seen that in global energy markets. We have seen that in our approach to climate change. This National Security Strategy reaffirms that it is also as important as ever that we work together to create a more sustainable, prosperous and secure world for all of our citizens.