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Overview:

Charged with helping guard the nation from terrorist nuclear attack, the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) is responsible for developing high-tech screening systems that can detect a nuclear weapon or “dirty bomb” entering the US through a port, airport or border crossing. DNDO does not manufacture such equipment but instead funds research-and-development and tests and evaluates radiation detection equipment that can be employed by customs officials, border guards and Coast Guard sailors. DNDO’s testing and evaluation of contractor-produced technology has come under fire from government watchdogs and members of Congress for failing to objectively assess expensive detection equipment.

more
History:
The break up of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s produced a new concern for US arms controls officials after decades of worrying about a nuclear strike by Russia. Instead of intercontinental ballistic missiles delivering nuclear warheads to American soil, the specter of smuggled weapons or nuclear fuel being slipped into the US by terrorists became a paramount concern. As former Soviet Republics broke away and became independent states, American officials reached out to Russian military and political leaders in an effort to reduce the likelihood of Russian strategic weapons falling into the wrong hands.
 
American security experts began to conclude within a few short years that non-proliferation programs in the former Soviet Union would not be enough to protect the US from a potential terrorist attack employing nuclear weapons or radioactive material. In 1997, the Defense Science Board argued in a report (PDF) that new technology needed to be developed that could detect radioactive material traveling through American ports of entry or border stations. This call for action went unheeded.
 
The attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, renewed, with greater urgency, concerns over the vulnerability of US territory to a terrorist nuclear attack. Soon after the bombing of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the administration of George W. Bush ordered increased security measures at American harbors, airports and border crossings. The Defense Science Board, through a special task force, again examined the problem of clandestine nuclear attack (PDF) in 2001, and again no action was taken as a result of the board’s conclusions. Meanwhile, the public began hearing about concerns not only of possible nuclear detonations on American soil by terrorists but also so-called “dirty bomb” attacks in which a conventional explosive triggered the release of radioactive material in a crowded urban environment.
 
In 2005, President Bush and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Michael Chertoff jointly issued orders to address the problem of terrorists trying to attack the US with a nuclear-oriented weapon of mass destruction. National Security Presidential Directive NSPD-43 and Homeland Security Presidential Directive HSPD-14 provided a framework for creating a domestic nuclear detection system that would guarantee the safety of Americans from clandestine attack. To establish such a system, Department of Homeland Security Officials determined it was necessary to organize a new office whose mission was to work with key federal agencies and private contractors to forge new technologies that could be used by border guards and customs officials to consistently and effectively detect any smuggled nuclear device entering the US. Thus, the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) was born in April 2005.
 
Creating DNDO proved easier than funding it, at first. President Bush asked Congress to appropriate $227 million in DNDO’s first year of operation. Some on Capitol Hill found the request excessive and trimmed it by $100 million, arguing the office lacked a clear sense of direction. Other members of Congress, such as Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-CT), the ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, criticized Chertoff for placing the detection office within the secretary’s office rather than in DHS’s science and technology (S&T) division, arguing the move would duplicate research efforts.
 
“The administration has provided insufficient justification for a second research and development organization to coordinate, direct, and fund research and development related to radiological and nuclear detection and has not demonstrated that the existing offices of the S&T cannot continue to perform these tasks,” wrote Lieberman in a letter to Chertoff.
 

Congress slows Bush effort on nuclear detection office

(by Greta Wodele, Government Executive)

 

more
What it Does:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Part of the Department of Homeland Security, the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) is responsible for developing high-tech screening methods, or “architecture” as DNDO calls it, that can detect a nuclear weapon or dirty bomb entering the US through a seaport, airport or border crossing. DNDO does not manufacture such equipment. Instead, the office finances the creation of radiation detection equipment and tests its effectiveness before providing it to customs officials, border guards and Coast Guard sailors.
 
DNDO is a joint operation made up of DHS personnel plus officials from the departments of Defense, Energy and State, the FBI, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Customs and Border Protection, the Transportation Safety Administration and the US Coast Guard. As of 2007, 32% of DNDO’s personnel (48) were from other agencies and 47% (70) were contractors, according to a report by the DHS Inspector General.
 
Much of DNDO’s work on radiation detection equipment to date has focused on the development and use of radiation detection portal monitors, which are larger-scale devices that can screen vehicles, people and cargo entering the United States. Customs and Border Protection officials are already using portal monitors that DNDO tested and authorized in 2005. These portal monitors, made of polyvinyl toluene (plastic) and known as “PVTs,” detect the presence of radiation but cannot distinguish between benign, naturally occurring radiological materials, such as ceramic tile, and dangerous materials like highly-enriched uranium. DNDO is trying to develop the next generation of portal monitors, known as “Advanced Spectroscopic Portals” (ASP), to better detect and identify radiological and nuclear materials within even steel-hulled shipping containers.
 
  • Systems Architecture Directorate - Examines existing detection equipment to locate any gaps or vulnerabilities that might allow dangerous materials to slip by US officials. The directorate then recommends changes to improve equipment design or use.
  • Mission Management Directorate - Manages DNDO programs in key areas, such as ports of entry, airports and border crossings.
  • Product Acquisition & Deployment Directorate - Carries out the engineering development, production, developmental logistics procurement and deployment of current and next-generation nuclear detection systems.
  • Transformational & Applied Research Directorate - Focuses on long-term research for new detection equipment and systems.
  • Operations Support Directorate - Oversees the Joint Analysis Center consisting of personnel from DNDO, the Pentagon, Energy Department, DHS, FBI and NRC, which is on call 24/7 in the event a radiological device is detected at a US harbor, airport or border station. Operations support also provides training to federal, state and local law enforcement and emergency responders on how to handle events involving nuclear weapons or dirty bombs, and it coordinates exercises designed to test those personnel who use detection equipment.
  • Systems Engineering & Evaluation Directorate - Ensures that DNDO proposes sound technical solutions prior to deploying new technologies.
  • Red Teaming & Net Assessments - Independently assesses the operational performance of planned and deployed detection technologies, procedures and protocols.
  • National Technical Nuclear Forensics Center - Established in October 2006 and made up of officials from various federal agencies, this center is responsible for tracing the source of nuclear weapons or dirty bombs found in the US. This includes being able to determine where the radiological material of a bomb (exploded or unexploded) came from.

DNDO Overview

(PDF)

 

more
Where Does the Money Go:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DNDO relies heavily on defense and technology contractors to fulfill its mission of developing advanced detection systems that can sniff out terrorist attempts to smuggle nuclear weapons or dirty bombs into the US.
 
Two new systems that DNDO officials have high hopes for are the Cargo Advanced Automated Radiography System (CAARS) and Advanced Spectroscopic Portals (ASP). CAARS, an advanced x-ray capable of revealing the contents of shipping containers, including anything housing uranium or plutonium, is currently being developed by three companies - SAIC of San Diego, CA, American Science & Engineering of Billerica, MA, and L-3 Communications of Woburn, MA. In total, DNDO will pay the three contractors $1.35 billion to research, develop, test and build CAARS over a seven-year period.
 
To develop ASP, DNDO is paying $1.1 billion to one of the nation’s biggest defense contractors, Raytheon, along with Thermo Electron and Canberra Industries to build the panel-like scanner that can detect radioactive substances in containers or hidden on individuals. ASP is designed to replace current detection portals in use at ports and border stations that don’t always distinguish between dangerous and harmless materials (see Controversies).
 
In addition to CAARS and ASP, DNDO officials have agreed to pay Smiths Detection, a provider of explosives trace and X-ray detection systems, $222 million for a handheld and backpack Human Portable Radiation Detection System (HPRDS). The detection system will be used by emergency responders, border patrol and customs agents, Coast Guard officers and other law enforcement personnel.
 
DNDO regularly gives out smaller contracts to both private companies and research universities to conduct exploratory research in the field of nuclear detection. In March 2007, the office announced the awarding of 10 contract totaling $8.8 million to nine companies: Alliant Techsystems Inc.; Canberra; EIC Laboratories, Inc.; General Electric Global Research Center (two awards); Physical Optics Corp.; Radiation Monitoring Devices, Inc.; Rapiscan Systems Corp.; SAIC; and Westinghouse.
 
That same year, DNDO distributed $3.1 million in Exploratory Research Cooperative Agreements to seven universities: California Institute of Technology, Florida Institute of Technology, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, State University of New York at Stony Brook, University of Michigan, University of Nebraska at Lincoln and Washington University.
DHS awards $1.1B in contracts for nuclear detection (by Michael Arnone, Federal Computer Week)
 

Ongoing Research Projects

(PDF)

 

more
Controversies:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DNDO Criticized Twice by GAO
Twice in 2007, a government watchdog agency came down hard on the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office for the way it was handling the development of new scanning technologies. A March 2007 report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) faulted DNDO’s cost-benefit analysis in purchasing new systems, saying it lacked a “sound analytical basis” in making important decisions. The revelation provoked outrage among some Congressional representatives, including Dan Lungren (R-CA) who told DNDO head Vayl Oxford, “You screwed up big time.”
 
Then, in September, GAO accused DNDO of fudging test results of the new Advanced Spectroscopic Portals (ASP) under development. The second report charged DNDO with using “biased test methods” to make the new ASP equipment look better in performance than it actually had during testing. DNDO was also faulted for not testing the full limits of the ASPs to see what exactly the machines were capable of. And to make matters even worst, DNDO conducted preliminary tests and then allowed the ASP contractors (Raytheon, Thermo Electron and Canberra Industries) access to the results, which they then used to adjust systems.
 
The ASP system was funded by DNDO to replace current scanners in use at ports and border crossings which have proven unreliable in distinguishing harmless commodities, such as kitty litter, from uranium-filled devices. DNDO has promised the ASP will be at least 95% reliable (while costing six times as much as current detection equipment in use). So far, however, ASPs have only reached the 50% threshold.

GAO: Combating Nuclear Smuggling, Additional Actions Needed September 2007

(PDF)

 

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Founded: 2005
Annual Budget: $561.9 million
Employees: 150
Domestic Nuclear Detection Office
Stern, Warren
Previous Director

Warren M. Stern was named Director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Domestic Nuclear Detection Office(DNDO) in August 2010, a position that had been vacant for 18 months. His responsibility is to oversee the department’s nuclear security operations, which includes the detection of unlawful attempts to develop, possess, store, import or transport radiological or nuclear material. The DNDO also engages in the support of nuclear forensic capabilities of the U.S. Government. A strong supporter of getting state and local governments involved in threat detection, Stern has said that if he could have his way, every policeman would have a radiation detector, although he acknowledges that at this time that is not economically feasible.

 
Stern is a graduate of Brandeis University, where he earned his B.A. in Physics. He subsequently received his S.M. in Nuclear Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and his M.S. in National Security Studies from the National War College.

Stern worked for the Central Intelligence Agency from 1985 to 1990. He then joined the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, where he worked as its Senior Technical Advisor from 1990 until 1999.
 
In 1992, Stern became involved in an unusual controversy unrelated to nuclear security. He led a petition drive to keep Arlington National Cemetery open until 6 p.m. in the winter instead of closing at 5 p.m….in order to allow bicycle commuters to ride through on their way home from work. The following year, he testified on behalf of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association at a hearing of the House Subcommittee on Compensation and Employee Benefits. Stern presented the opinion that federally-employed bicycle commuters should receive the same transportation subsidies that were awarded to users of public transportation.
 
In 2003, Stern served as a Fellow in Senator Hillary Clinton’s office, advising on nuclear security and safety matters, and assisting in the writing of the Dirty Bomb Prevention Act.
 
Stern then joined the Department of State as its Senior Coordinator for Nuclear Safety and Deputy Director of the Office of Nuclear Energy, Safety and Security. While serving in this capacity, he helped to design a protective shelter for use at the Chernobyl nuclear reactor site.
 
From August 2006 to March 2010, Stern headed the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) Incident and Emergency Center. In this post, he helped to create the IAEA’s Response Assistance Network, and spearheaded international preparedness and response plans for nuclear emergencies.
 
Subsequently, Stern served as Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation.
 
 
 
more
Oxford, Vayl
Former Director

Vayl Oxford began serving as director of the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office in September 2005. Oxford is a graduate of the US Military Academy and the Air Force Institute of Technology. He began his career in the US Air Force, holding several positions associated with aircraft and weapons development and war plans analysis in Europe and the Pacific. He also served as an assistant professor of aeronautics at the US Air Force Academy from 1982 to 1986.

 
From 1993 to 1998, Oxford served at the Defense Nuclear Agency and then the Defense Special Weapons Agency as the director for counterproliferation. He served as the deputy director for technology development at the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) and later as the director for counterproliferation at the National Security Council. In December 2004, Oxford was appointed acting director of the Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency. When the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office was established, Oxford was given the position of its acting director.
 
 
more
Bookmark and Share
Overview:

Charged with helping guard the nation from terrorist nuclear attack, the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) is responsible for developing high-tech screening systems that can detect a nuclear weapon or “dirty bomb” entering the US through a port, airport or border crossing. DNDO does not manufacture such equipment but instead funds research-and-development and tests and evaluates radiation detection equipment that can be employed by customs officials, border guards and Coast Guard sailors. DNDO’s testing and evaluation of contractor-produced technology has come under fire from government watchdogs and members of Congress for failing to objectively assess expensive detection equipment.

more
History:
The break up of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s produced a new concern for US arms controls officials after decades of worrying about a nuclear strike by Russia. Instead of intercontinental ballistic missiles delivering nuclear warheads to American soil, the specter of smuggled weapons or nuclear fuel being slipped into the US by terrorists became a paramount concern. As former Soviet Republics broke away and became independent states, American officials reached out to Russian military and political leaders in an effort to reduce the likelihood of Russian strategic weapons falling into the wrong hands.
 
American security experts began to conclude within a few short years that non-proliferation programs in the former Soviet Union would not be enough to protect the US from a potential terrorist attack employing nuclear weapons or radioactive material. In 1997, the Defense Science Board argued in a report (PDF) that new technology needed to be developed that could detect radioactive material traveling through American ports of entry or border stations. This call for action went unheeded.
 
The attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, renewed, with greater urgency, concerns over the vulnerability of US territory to a terrorist nuclear attack. Soon after the bombing of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the administration of George W. Bush ordered increased security measures at American harbors, airports and border crossings. The Defense Science Board, through a special task force, again examined the problem of clandestine nuclear attack (PDF) in 2001, and again no action was taken as a result of the board’s conclusions. Meanwhile, the public began hearing about concerns not only of possible nuclear detonations on American soil by terrorists but also so-called “dirty bomb” attacks in which a conventional explosive triggered the release of radioactive material in a crowded urban environment.
 
In 2005, President Bush and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Michael Chertoff jointly issued orders to address the problem of terrorists trying to attack the US with a nuclear-oriented weapon of mass destruction. National Security Presidential Directive NSPD-43 and Homeland Security Presidential Directive HSPD-14 provided a framework for creating a domestic nuclear detection system that would guarantee the safety of Americans from clandestine attack. To establish such a system, Department of Homeland Security Officials determined it was necessary to organize a new office whose mission was to work with key federal agencies and private contractors to forge new technologies that could be used by border guards and customs officials to consistently and effectively detect any smuggled nuclear device entering the US. Thus, the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) was born in April 2005.
 
Creating DNDO proved easier than funding it, at first. President Bush asked Congress to appropriate $227 million in DNDO’s first year of operation. Some on Capitol Hill found the request excessive and trimmed it by $100 million, arguing the office lacked a clear sense of direction. Other members of Congress, such as Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-CT), the ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, criticized Chertoff for placing the detection office within the secretary’s office rather than in DHS’s science and technology (S&T) division, arguing the move would duplicate research efforts.
 
“The administration has provided insufficient justification for a second research and development organization to coordinate, direct, and fund research and development related to radiological and nuclear detection and has not demonstrated that the existing offices of the S&T cannot continue to perform these tasks,” wrote Lieberman in a letter to Chertoff.
 

Congress slows Bush effort on nuclear detection office

(by Greta Wodele, Government Executive)

 

more
What it Does:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Part of the Department of Homeland Security, the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) is responsible for developing high-tech screening methods, or “architecture” as DNDO calls it, that can detect a nuclear weapon or dirty bomb entering the US through a seaport, airport or border crossing. DNDO does not manufacture such equipment. Instead, the office finances the creation of radiation detection equipment and tests its effectiveness before providing it to customs officials, border guards and Coast Guard sailors.
 
DNDO is a joint operation made up of DHS personnel plus officials from the departments of Defense, Energy and State, the FBI, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Customs and Border Protection, the Transportation Safety Administration and the US Coast Guard. As of 2007, 32% of DNDO’s personnel (48) were from other agencies and 47% (70) were contractors, according to a report by the DHS Inspector General.
 
Much of DNDO’s work on radiation detection equipment to date has focused on the development and use of radiation detection portal monitors, which are larger-scale devices that can screen vehicles, people and cargo entering the United States. Customs and Border Protection officials are already using portal monitors that DNDO tested and authorized in 2005. These portal monitors, made of polyvinyl toluene (plastic) and known as “PVTs,” detect the presence of radiation but cannot distinguish between benign, naturally occurring radiological materials, such as ceramic tile, and dangerous materials like highly-enriched uranium. DNDO is trying to develop the next generation of portal monitors, known as “Advanced Spectroscopic Portals” (ASP), to better detect and identify radiological and nuclear materials within even steel-hulled shipping containers.
 
  • Systems Architecture Directorate - Examines existing detection equipment to locate any gaps or vulnerabilities that might allow dangerous materials to slip by US officials. The directorate then recommends changes to improve equipment design or use.
  • Mission Management Directorate - Manages DNDO programs in key areas, such as ports of entry, airports and border crossings.
  • Product Acquisition & Deployment Directorate - Carries out the engineering development, production, developmental logistics procurement and deployment of current and next-generation nuclear detection systems.
  • Transformational & Applied Research Directorate - Focuses on long-term research for new detection equipment and systems.
  • Operations Support Directorate - Oversees the Joint Analysis Center consisting of personnel from DNDO, the Pentagon, Energy Department, DHS, FBI and NRC, which is on call 24/7 in the event a radiological device is detected at a US harbor, airport or border station. Operations support also provides training to federal, state and local law enforcement and emergency responders on how to handle events involving nuclear weapons or dirty bombs, and it coordinates exercises designed to test those personnel who use detection equipment.
  • Systems Engineering & Evaluation Directorate - Ensures that DNDO proposes sound technical solutions prior to deploying new technologies.
  • Red Teaming & Net Assessments - Independently assesses the operational performance of planned and deployed detection technologies, procedures and protocols.
  • National Technical Nuclear Forensics Center - Established in October 2006 and made up of officials from various federal agencies, this center is responsible for tracing the source of nuclear weapons or dirty bombs found in the US. This includes being able to determine where the radiological material of a bomb (exploded or unexploded) came from.

DNDO Overview

(PDF)

 

more
Where Does the Money Go:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DNDO relies heavily on defense and technology contractors to fulfill its mission of developing advanced detection systems that can sniff out terrorist attempts to smuggle nuclear weapons or dirty bombs into the US.
 
Two new systems that DNDO officials have high hopes for are the Cargo Advanced Automated Radiography System (CAARS) and Advanced Spectroscopic Portals (ASP). CAARS, an advanced x-ray capable of revealing the contents of shipping containers, including anything housing uranium or plutonium, is currently being developed by three companies - SAIC of San Diego, CA, American Science & Engineering of Billerica, MA, and L-3 Communications of Woburn, MA. In total, DNDO will pay the three contractors $1.35 billion to research, develop, test and build CAARS over a seven-year period.
 
To develop ASP, DNDO is paying $1.1 billion to one of the nation’s biggest defense contractors, Raytheon, along with Thermo Electron and Canberra Industries to build the panel-like scanner that can detect radioactive substances in containers or hidden on individuals. ASP is designed to replace current detection portals in use at ports and border stations that don’t always distinguish between dangerous and harmless materials (see Controversies).
 
In addition to CAARS and ASP, DNDO officials have agreed to pay Smiths Detection, a provider of explosives trace and X-ray detection systems, $222 million for a handheld and backpack Human Portable Radiation Detection System (HPRDS). The detection system will be used by emergency responders, border patrol and customs agents, Coast Guard officers and other law enforcement personnel.
 
DNDO regularly gives out smaller contracts to both private companies and research universities to conduct exploratory research in the field of nuclear detection. In March 2007, the office announced the awarding of 10 contract totaling $8.8 million to nine companies: Alliant Techsystems Inc.; Canberra; EIC Laboratories, Inc.; General Electric Global Research Center (two awards); Physical Optics Corp.; Radiation Monitoring Devices, Inc.; Rapiscan Systems Corp.; SAIC; and Westinghouse.
 
That same year, DNDO distributed $3.1 million in Exploratory Research Cooperative Agreements to seven universities: California Institute of Technology, Florida Institute of Technology, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, State University of New York at Stony Brook, University of Michigan, University of Nebraska at Lincoln and Washington University.
DHS awards $1.1B in contracts for nuclear detection (by Michael Arnone, Federal Computer Week)
 

Ongoing Research Projects

(PDF)

 

more
Controversies:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DNDO Criticized Twice by GAO
Twice in 2007, a government watchdog agency came down hard on the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office for the way it was handling the development of new scanning technologies. A March 2007 report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) faulted DNDO’s cost-benefit analysis in purchasing new systems, saying it lacked a “sound analytical basis” in making important decisions. The revelation provoked outrage among some Congressional representatives, including Dan Lungren (R-CA) who told DNDO head Vayl Oxford, “You screwed up big time.”
 
Then, in September, GAO accused DNDO of fudging test results of the new Advanced Spectroscopic Portals (ASP) under development. The second report charged DNDO with using “biased test methods” to make the new ASP equipment look better in performance than it actually had during testing. DNDO was also faulted for not testing the full limits of the ASPs to see what exactly the machines were capable of. And to make matters even worst, DNDO conducted preliminary tests and then allowed the ASP contractors (Raytheon, Thermo Electron and Canberra Industries) access to the results, which they then used to adjust systems.
 
The ASP system was funded by DNDO to replace current scanners in use at ports and border crossings which have proven unreliable in distinguishing harmless commodities, such as kitty litter, from uranium-filled devices. DNDO has promised the ASP will be at least 95% reliable (while costing six times as much as current detection equipment in use). So far, however, ASPs have only reached the 50% threshold.

GAO: Combating Nuclear Smuggling, Additional Actions Needed September 2007

(PDF)

 

more

Comments

Leave a comment

captcha

Founded: 2005
Annual Budget: $561.9 million
Employees: 150
Domestic Nuclear Detection Office
Stern, Warren
Previous Director

Warren M. Stern was named Director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Domestic Nuclear Detection Office(DNDO) in August 2010, a position that had been vacant for 18 months. His responsibility is to oversee the department’s nuclear security operations, which includes the detection of unlawful attempts to develop, possess, store, import or transport radiological or nuclear material. The DNDO also engages in the support of nuclear forensic capabilities of the U.S. Government. A strong supporter of getting state and local governments involved in threat detection, Stern has said that if he could have his way, every policeman would have a radiation detector, although he acknowledges that at this time that is not economically feasible.

 
Stern is a graduate of Brandeis University, where he earned his B.A. in Physics. He subsequently received his S.M. in Nuclear Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and his M.S. in National Security Studies from the National War College.

Stern worked for the Central Intelligence Agency from 1985 to 1990. He then joined the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, where he worked as its Senior Technical Advisor from 1990 until 1999.
 
In 1992, Stern became involved in an unusual controversy unrelated to nuclear security. He led a petition drive to keep Arlington National Cemetery open until 6 p.m. in the winter instead of closing at 5 p.m….in order to allow bicycle commuters to ride through on their way home from work. The following year, he testified on behalf of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association at a hearing of the House Subcommittee on Compensation and Employee Benefits. Stern presented the opinion that federally-employed bicycle commuters should receive the same transportation subsidies that were awarded to users of public transportation.
 
In 2003, Stern served as a Fellow in Senator Hillary Clinton’s office, advising on nuclear security and safety matters, and assisting in the writing of the Dirty Bomb Prevention Act.
 
Stern then joined the Department of State as its Senior Coordinator for Nuclear Safety and Deputy Director of the Office of Nuclear Energy, Safety and Security. While serving in this capacity, he helped to design a protective shelter for use at the Chernobyl nuclear reactor site.
 
From August 2006 to March 2010, Stern headed the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) Incident and Emergency Center. In this post, he helped to create the IAEA’s Response Assistance Network, and spearheaded international preparedness and response plans for nuclear emergencies.
 
Subsequently, Stern served as Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation.
 
 
 
more
Oxford, Vayl
Former Director

Vayl Oxford began serving as director of the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office in September 2005. Oxford is a graduate of the US Military Academy and the Air Force Institute of Technology. He began his career in the US Air Force, holding several positions associated with aircraft and weapons development and war plans analysis in Europe and the Pacific. He also served as an assistant professor of aeronautics at the US Air Force Academy from 1982 to 1986.

 
From 1993 to 1998, Oxford served at the Defense Nuclear Agency and then the Defense Special Weapons Agency as the director for counterproliferation. He served as the deputy director for technology development at the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) and later as the director for counterproliferation at the National Security Council. In December 2004, Oxford was appointed acting director of the Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency. When the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office was established, Oxford was given the position of its acting director.
 
 
more