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Who’s In Charge of U.S. Nukes? Energy Secretary Rick Perry

The fact that the Energy Department is in charge of our nation’s nuclear stockpile was reportedly a surprise to Perry before he took the job.

In 2012, then-Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) famously forgot the Department of Energy during a debate performance in which he was listing the four federal departments he would eliminate as president. Today, he is now in charge of the Department of Energy and America’s nuclear weapons stock pile.

The Department of Energy spends roughly two-thirds of the department’s $30 billion budget on maintaining the United States’ nuclear stockpile.

In December, Politico reported on how crucial the Department of Energy is in maintaining the country’s nuclear stockpile.

Politico reported:

“The agency’s chief responsibility isn’t energy policy: It’s maintaining and overseeing the country’s nuclear weapons stockpile and cleaning up nuclear waste, a role critical to America’s national security.”

“The Department of Energy has responsibility for designing and manufacturing key components of the U.S.’s nuclear weapons and making sure they are secure from outside threats. It also maintains the weapons so they are ready for use, although the department does not have the authority to launch them.”

NTK readers unaware of how crucial the Department of Energy is to America’s nuclear arsenal are not alone. Perry himself, according to reports, did not know that his chief responsibility would be “maintaining nearly 1,400 nuclear inventories, including several thousand active nuclear warheads.”