Combating Nuclear Smuggling: Risk - Informed Covert Assessments and Oversight of Corrective Actions Could Strengthen Capabilities at the Border, Statement of David C. Maurer, Director, Homeland Security and Justice, Testimony Before the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, House of Representatives   [open pdf - 210KB]

From the U.S. Government Accountability Office website: "In its September 2014 report, GAO [U.S. Government Accountability Office] reported that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) U.S. Customs and Border Protection's (CBP) Operational Field Testing Division (OFTD) conducted 144 covert operations at 86 locations from fiscal years 2006 through 2013. OFTD selected these locations from a total of 655 U.S. air, land, and sea port facilities; checkpoints; and certain international locations. The results of these operations showed differences in the rates of success for interdicting smuggled nuclear and radiological materials across facility types. OFTD officials stated that the results of its covert operations could be used to assess capabilities at the individual locations tested; but not across all U.S. ports of entry and permanent checkpoints. GAO also reported that CBP had not conducted a risk assessment to inform and prioritize factors, such as locations, and types of nuclear materials and technologies to be tested in covert operations. CBP had a $1 million budget for covert operations of various activities-including nuclear and radiological testing-from fiscal years 2009 through 2013. Given limited resources, assessing risk to prioritize the most dangerous materials, most vulnerable locations, and most critical equipment for testing through covert operations, could help DHS inform its decisions on how to use its limited resources effectively. DHS agreed with GAO's recommendation to use a risk assessment to inform priorities for covert test operations, but the recommendation remains open."

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