is possible for an outside body to review the work approach used by the laboratories but not to perform its own analysis of lab-generated results. The committee notes that outside bodies (including SAG/SAT, which has retirees from the weapons-design community) do review the work. The committee is comfortable with outside bodies reviewing the approaches taken by the laboratories and advising them on alternatives; however, it believes that expert judgment remains an important ingredient of these assessments and that the required depth of expertise is found primarily in the nuclear weapons science community.
The committee strongly favors the idea of cross-laboratory peer reviews as part of the laboratories’ assessments. Such peer review would augment current peer reviews internal to each laboratory and could bring a new level of independence, rigor, and confidence insofar as different codes, methodologies, and philosophies would be brought to bear on the assessment of a given warhead. This peer review should not dilute the three national security laboratories’ accountability for the annual assessment reviews.