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.
(by Greta Wodele, Government Executive)
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.
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.