Global Nuclear Detection Architecture: Issues for Congress [July 7, 2008]   [open pdf - 216KB]

This Congressional Research Service (CRS) report discusses U.S. nuclear detection architecture and the creation in 2006 of the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) to coordinate and give oversight to the numerous programs within the US government which were created to detect "illicit acquisition and shipment of nuclear and radiological materials and protecting and securing nuclear weapons. In 2006, the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) was established within the Department of Homeland Security to centralize coordination of the federal response to an unconventional nuclear threat. The office was codified through the passage of the SAFE Port Act (P.L. 109-347) and given specific statutory responsibilities to protect the United States against radiological and nuclear attack, including the responsibility to develop a 'global nuclear detection architecture.' Determining the range of existing federal efforts protecting against nuclear attack, coordinating the outcomes of these efforts, identifying overlaps and gaps between them, and integrating the results into a single architecture are likely to be evolving, ongoing tasks. The global nuclear detection architecture is a multi-layered system of detection technologies, programs, and guidelines designed to enhance the nation's ability to detect and prevent a radiological or nuclear attack. Among its components are existing programs in nuclear detection operated by other federal agencies and new programs put into place by DNDO. The global nuclear detection architecture is developed by DNDO in coordination with other federal agencies implementing nuclear detection efforts and this coordination is essential to the success of the architecture. This architecture is a complicated system of systems. Measuring the success of the architecture relative to its individual components and the effectiveness of additional investments are challenges. The DNDO is developing risk and cost methodologies to be applied to the architecture in order to understand and prioritize the various nuclear detection programs and activities in multiple federal agencies."

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CRS Report for Congress, RL34564
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