Plutonium pits and command and control are the top nuclear priorities for Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) in the next federal budget cycle, the head of the House Armed Services Committee said Friday.

The Biden administration has yet to roll out its fiscal year 2022 budget proposal, blaming the hold-up on an allegedly intractable Trump administration’s refusal to brief the Biden transmission team early and often, but has reportedly proposed flat defense spending.

Smith, who spoke publicly on a webcast hosted by the Washington-based Brookings Institution think tank, said he’s still up for debating “how large of a deterrent force do we need” in the coming spending debates, but that pits are an urgent priority for the civilian nuclear enterprise.

The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) has “a significant problem in terms of making the nuclear pits that are necessary to build any nuclear weapons,” Smith said.

While the most recent National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) produced by the Smith-led House Armed Services Committee authorized the requested $20 billion or so in spending the NNSA sought for the current fiscal year, the NDAA before that, the first Smith was in charge of after Democrats won back the House in 2018, called for big cuts to an intercontinental ballistic missile force replenishment that is driving the military’s demand for plutonium pits for this decade and into the next.

More recently, Biden administration nominees for top Pentagon posts have declined to commit to the status quo when it comes to the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent procurement: the Air Force’s effort to replace its nuclear-tipped Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles starting around 2030.

Biden’s Pentagon policy nominee last week drew some fire from the Senate Armed Services Committee for dancing around the issue of whether he’d endorse the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent program as currently conceived: a $95 billion acquisition with a lifecycle cost of around $265 billion that would replace 400 legacy missiles with 400 new missiles, plus spares and test articles, designed to last for most of the rest of the century.