Integrated Deterrence

Develop and demonstrate capabilities to strengthen US deterrence across the competition-conflict spectrum.

LANL uses its broad capabilities in national security to support the Nation in deterrence in the face of a dynamically evolving external landscape.

This Critical Outcome focuses on nurturing the science and technology needed to support the integrated deterrence mission into the future. Deterrence has reemerged as a preeminent national security objective with a recognition that the United States must address integration across the spectrum of competition and conflict. This Critical Outcome supports three of the Strategic Objectives in accomplishing the Laboratory mission: Nuclear Deterrence, Trustworthy Operations, and Technical Leadership. This Critical Outcome also leverages the Signature Institutional Commitments in AI and strategic deterrence.

In FY23, we positioned LANL as an important partner with departments and agencies in providing assurance of the nuclear deterrent, including by increasing LANL’s role in the deterrence policy community. Examples include: convening the Director’s Strategic Resilience Initiative workshops on escalation management, leading (with the Center for Strategic and International Studies) tabletop exercises on escalation management, co-leading (with National Defense University) an interagency working group on integrated deterrence (with NNSA and the departments of State, Commerce, and Defense), and developing a net assessment capability for NNSA.

For FY24, we will build on these successes through five Supporting Initiatives.

Supporting Initiatives

  1. Develop and publish an assessment of and internal strategy for LANL’s role within the national and international integrated deterrence landscape.
  2. Develop, validate, and apply modeling and simulation tools that can inform decisions for an array of use-cases related to deterrence options and operational effectiveness. Utilize sponsor use-cases to help validate and improve this capability.
  3. Build programmatic opportunities related to the analysis of system-level impacts from emerging technologies through sponsor engagement and the building of LANL’s external presence via targeted publications (e.g., on the deterrence policy implications of long-range threats).
  4. Develop a LANL community of interest around technologies that impact integrated deterrence. Initiate program, line, and staff equities that engage in key areas of cross-domain effects. Host workshops and regular meetings to build a community of practice.
  5. Advance capabilities and mature technologies directly applicable to the resilience of the integrated strategic deterrent, while aligning our space efforts with the broader LANL space strategy codified in the LANL Institutional Space Strategy. Focus specifically on three areas supporting space resilience, building on LANL’s strengths and unique capabilities:
    1. Advance space-based particle accelerators by building on the recent Beam-PIE success, with the goal of deterring the use of nuclear weapons in space through high-altitude nuclear explosion remediation technology.
    2. Enhance resiliency of space systems through nuclear power technologies, both from a nuclear materials perspective and through advanced energy conversion technologies.
    3. Enhance national Space Domain Awareness capabilities in both the radio frequency and electro-optical domains with technology maturation of core sensing capabilities and novel applications.

primary Strategic Objectives

Technical Leadership - Deliver scientific discoveries and technical breakthroughs to advance relevant research frontiers and anticipate emerging national security risks.

Threat Reduction - Anticipate persistent and emerging threats to global security; develop and deploy revolutionary tools to detect, deter, and respond proactively.

secondary Strategic Objective

Nuclear Deterrence - Lead the nation in evaluating, developing, and ensuring effectiveness of our nuclear deterrent, including the design, production, and certification of current and future nuclear weapons.