NNSA receives its authority for the responsibility for all weapon and weapon-related functions from 50 USC 2402, Chapter 41.
DOE/NNSA and DoD cooperate in the development, production, and maintenance of nuclear weapons. Figure 1.1-1 illustrates DOE/NNSA/DoD organizational interrelationships. The basic document that establishes the interrelationships between the two agencies is “An Agreement Between the AEC and the DoD for the Development, Production, and Standardization of Atomic Weapons,” dated March 21, 1953. This is commonly referred to as the “1953 Agreement.” It was updated on September 5, 1984, by the “Supplement to the 1953 Agreement for the Development, Production, and Standardization of Atomic Weapons Between the Department of Energy and the Department of Defense.” The supplement delineates the functions of DOE/NNSA and DoD during joint feasibility studies for nuclear weapons (Phase 2), design definition and cost studies (Phase 2A), and development engineering (Phase 3). The 1953 Agreement was updated again in
Numerous Memoranda of Understanding (MOU), Memoranda of Agreement (MOA), and supplements provide additional guidance to agencies involved in the weapon development programs. Most of these are identified in a document titled “An Overview of DOE/DoD Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) and Memorandums of Agreement (MOA) Relating to Nuclear Weapons Development, Production, and Stockpile.”
In general, DOE/NNSA is responsible for designing, developing, producing, updating, and dismantling nuclear warheads, nuclear weapon trainers, and ancillary equipment, while DoD is responsible for designing, developing, and producing, and dismantling the weapon delivery system.