Nuclear Security: DOE Faces Security Challenges in the Post September 11, 2001, Environment   [open pdf - 2MB]

"The attacks of September 11, 2001, intensified long-standing concerns about the adequacy of safeguards and security at Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) that facilities that store plutonium and uranium in a variety of forms. These contractor-operated facilities can become targets for such actions as sabotage or theft. NNSA has not been fully effective in managing its safeguards and security program. Without a functional management structure and with ongoing confusion about roles and responsibilities, inconsistencies have emerged among NNSA sites on how they assess contractors' security activities. To compound the problems in conducting security assessments, NNSA contractors do not consistently conduct required analyses in preparing corrective action plans. Finally, NNSA has shortfalls at its site offices in the total number of staff and in expertise, which could make it more difficult for site offices to effectively oversee security activities. GAO made recommendations to improve the management of NNSA's safeguards and security program. NNSA has begun to respond to these recommendations. With respect to DOE and NNSA's response to September 11, the agencies took immediate steps to improve security in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks. For example, DOE and NNSA moved to a higher level of security, which required, among other things, more vehicle inspections and security patrols. While these steps are believed to have improved DOE and NNSA's security posture, they have been expensive and, until fully evaluated, their effectiveness is uncertain. Currently, DOE does not have a reliable estimate of the cost to fully protect DOE and NNSA facilities."

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Government Accountability Office (GAO): http://www.gao.gov/
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