Jeffrey LewisNNSA Cover Letter to Congress


Okay, so although the original press release that NNSA sent out announcing the JASON report was not so hot, the cover letter that NNSA Administrator Tom D’Agostino sent to Congress the same day was much more forthright:

The JASON group found that the RRW design is pursued with the principles of scientific connections and traceability to legacy test data, established physics, and new experiments. The JASON group endorses the scientific method proposed and the use of Quantification of Margins and Uncertainties in the plans to certify the warhead. The review makes a number of recommendations to strengthen the analytical and experimental program, particularly in the areas of studying potential failure modes, to understand the impact of manufacturing processes, and to develop a more fundamental understanding of the performance of important safety and security technologies. In addition, the JASON group recommended a rigorous and in-depth peer review be conducted. The JASON’S recommendations are endorsed by the NNSA and are relevant as we continue to define the RRW certification plan as part of the ongoing planning and cost study.

There are two points here that the press release didn’t make, but might have that would have put a happier face on the report. First, the JASONs endorsed the Quantification of Margins and Uncertainties or QMU method — GAO had identified some concerns about QMU so the glass is half-full — and, second, NNSA endorsed the recommendations, which is what one would ask.


  1. Bob Massman (History)

    I’ve read the report and I don’t see any real show stoppers or valid reasons for criticism. The process seems to be tracking as agreed and we are continuing forward to meet the goal of certification.