According to an official within the Department of Energy, this past Friday, the President-elect's team instructed the head of the National Nuclear Security Administration and his deputy to clean out their desks when Trump takes office on January 20th.I literally do not even know what to say.
The NNSA is the $12 billion-a-year agency that "maintains and enhances the safety, security, and effectiveness of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile." It's unclear when the two officials will be replaced.
Traditionally, all political appointees of an outgoing presidential administration turn in resignation letters effective on noon of inauguration day, January 20. But appointees in key positions—like the people who make sure our nukes work—are often asked to stay on in their roles until a replacement can be found and confirmed by the Senate, helping ensure a smooth transition and allowing our government to continue functioning. In fact, for the entirety of Obama's first term and into part of his second, the NNSA Administrator remained a Bush appointee.
Trump, however, appears determined to immediately push out everyone who was appointed by Obama, regardless of whether or not he has anyone in line for the job. Or, as our source put it: "It's a shocking disregard for process and continuity of government."
...The source later added, "I'm more and more coming around to the idea that we're so very very fucked."
I will, however, point you in the direction of this December piece by Eric Schlosser in the New Yorker, in case you haven't seen it: "World War Three, by Mistake: Harsh political rhetoric, combined with the vulnerability of the nuclear command-and-control system, has made the risk of global catastrophe greater than ever."
As if I needed to underline why it's important not to allow our nuclear weapons management to become absurdly and terrifyingly lax.