NNSA Blog

NNSA Blog
From left, Tamra Barela, Chelsea Murphy, Tracy CDeBaca and Clay Burgess.

Contracting professionals from the NNSA Acquisition & Project Management (APM) Field Program Section (FPS) recently served as role players for Office of Secure Transportation (OST) training exercises in Arkansas and Oklahoma. OST Federal Agents transport U.S. nuclear weapons, components and special nuclear materials throughout the U.S. The APM volunteers helped OST create real-life training scenarios to enhance the skills of Federal Agents in working with civilians and mitigating any risk of terrorist activities during their convoys. For example, during the scenarios an opposing force might sabotage or attempt to sabotage a convoy to which the agents must respond.

The training not only provided the OST agents with motivated volunteers to assist with their training, but also provided FPS contracting staff an up-close look at the OST mission that they support. Through these exercises FPS gained hands-on insight into the vehicles, protective gear and weaponry that OST uses to keep the nuclear stockpile safe. Participants from FPS were Tracy CDeBaca, Clay Burgess, Chelsea Murphy, Tamra Barela, and Chris Grubbs.

Ms. CDeBaca said, “This training made an impact on me by showing the importance of the products and services that are contracted and purchased by APM-12 and gave me insight that what we do on a day-to-day basis is extremely important to the missions carried out by the agents. The work that we complete in contracts is more than just pushing paper and creating files. I had the opportunity to learn and see things that I would have never been able to experience outside of this training opportunity. I cannot thank OST and APM-12 management enough for providing this training opportunity.”

 

Dec 9, 2015 at 9:51 am

NNSA Blog

Dr. Njema Frazier walked the red carpet at the Ebony Power 100 event in Los Angeles Dec. 2.

 

Dr. Njema Frazier is a physicist in the NNSA’s Office of Defense Programs, leading scientific and technical efforts to ensure that the United States maintains a credible nuclear deterrent without nuclear explosive testing. In addition to her day job in national security, she is a member of the National Advisory Board of the National Society of Black Engineers; the Chair of the Algebra by 7th Grade Initiative for grades 3 through 7; the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Diversity Science, LLC, an expert-based network of scientists and engineers dedicated to broadening participation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Ebony magazine honored Dr. Frazier as one of its Ebony Power 100 at a ceremony in Los Angeles last week. She joined such icons as Drake, Loretta Lynch and Viola Davis. Dr. Frazier was recognized in the “Miracle Mile” category, as one of “the 2015 mavericks in medicine and science who literally keep hope alive,” according to the Ebony Power 100 website.

“This is outstanding recognition for Njema’s efforts in the overall science field, and for her contributions to DoE, NNSA and the Office of Defense Programs, and a tremendous example of having an impact far beyond her normal duties,” said Phil Calbos, Principal Assistant Deputy Administrator for Defense Programs.

Click to read more about Dr. Frazier in her interview earlier this year for the Energy.gov series, Women@Energy.

Dec 7, 2015 at 12:00 am
NNSA Blog
From left, NNSA Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Anne Harrington; Dr. Lassina Zerbo, Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO); and NNSA Acting Deputy Administrator for Defense Programs Brigadier General Stephen L. Davis standing in a pipe in a test tunnel that was formerly used for underground nuclear explosive testing at the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS).

 

Dr. Lassina Zerbo, Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), recently visited three National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) sites—Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS), and Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL)—to discuss NNSA’s support for CTBT-related efforts and learn more about how the Stockpile Stewardship Program (SSP) enables the United States to maintain its nuclear deterrent while observing a moratorium on nuclear explosive testing. The SSP marked its 20th anniversary this year and draws extensively on technical assets across the NNSA complex.

The United States conducted its last nuclear explosive test in September 1992, and was the first country to sign the CTBT when it opened for signature in September 1996. Although the Treaty has not entered into force, the United States, in large part with NNSA expertise, supports all aspects of the CTBTO Preparatory Commission’s nuclear explosion monitoring and verification mission.  

The Executive Secretary’s visit kicked off at LLNL, and then continued to NNSS and LANL, with experts from Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) joining at LANL. After a visit to the National Atomic Testing Museum in Las Vegas, Nevada, Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Anne Harrington and Acting Deputy Administrator for Defense Programs Brigadier General Stephen L. Davis welcomed Dr. Zerbo and his CTBTO colleagues to NNSS.

The NNSS visit was Dr. Zerbo’s first to the site and provided the unique opportunity to highlight how it has transformed. Once known primarily as the site of more than 900 nuclear explosive tests, NNSS currently serves as an experimental testing facility and training ground for a variety of missions vital to U.S. and international safety and security. Joining Dr. Zerbo were Randy Bell, Director of the International Data Centre (IDC) Division at the CTBTO, and other CTBTO staff.

Ms. Harrington welcomed the CTBTO visitors: “I’m pleased that we can demonstrate for Dr. Zerbo, the CTBTO and the international community our significant commitment to maintain the safety and security of our nuclear deterrent in the absence of nuclear explosive testing. We will continue to work closely with the CTBTO to support their mission to deter and detect nuclear explosions, and we appreciate the opportunity to show Dr. Zerbo the many ways in which NNSA is working to make the world a safer place by reducing nuclear and radiological dangers.”

General Davis added, “Driven by the commitment to no longer perform nuclear explosive testing, we recently marked twenty years of success in the Stockpile Stewardship Program. Dr. Zerbo and his team saw some of our most important facilities and capabilities and met the men and women of NNSA who maintain our Nation's nuclear capabilities while complying with international commitments. In addition, we were able to clearly demonstrate how these same Stockpile Stewardship capabilities directly contribute to NNSA’s nonproliferation mission.”

Dr. Zerbo shared his perspective on the Treaty’s benefits with NNSA experts as he toured the three NNSA sites. At LLNL, he visited the National Atmospheric Release Advisory Center (NARAC), National Ignition Facility (NIF), and viewed high performance computing capabilities in support of both SSP and nonproliferation, in addition to discussions of CTBT support. At NNSS, he saw the up-close effects of decades of atmospheric and underground nuclear explosive testing, visiting Yucca Flat, Frenchman Flat, and the Sedan Crater. He also visited the U1a Facility, an underground laboratory for subcritical experiments, to see how the United States uses science to maintain the safety and security of its stockpile rather than nuclear explosive testing. Dr. Zerbo also learned about nuclear explosion monitoring and verification efforts conducted at NNSS in collaboration with the NNSA National Laboratories. At LANL, he toured the Dual Axis Radiographic Hydrodynamic Test (DARHT) Facility and heard about both LANL and SNL’s extensive technological and scientific work in support of CTBT and SSP, in addition to touring the Bradbury Science Museum.

At the conclusion of his visit to the NNSA sites, Dr. Zerbo said, “I greatly appreciate the opportunity to visit NNSA’s sites to learn more about the work being done there in support of the nuclear test-ban including how the Stockpile Stewardship Program allows the United States to continue to forgo nuclear explosive testing. The U.S. has been a great partner to the CTBTO, and during this trip we discussed ways to broaden and deepen our cooperation. Visiting Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory again allowed me to see the National Ignition Facility and learn more about Lawrence Livermore’s extensive work in support of CTBT. My first ever visits to the Nevada National Security Site, where so many nuclear explosive tests were conducted, and Los Alamos National Laboratory, the birthplace of the atomic bomb, allowed me to see firsthand not only the history at those sites but also the cutting-edge science and technology that will help to continue improving the CTBTO’s monitoring and verification capabilities.”

Senior officials at each site joined the meetings and tours, presenting overviews of the sites’ missions and activities. LLNL’s Director, Dr. William Goldstein, welcomed Dr. Zerbo on the first stop of his visit. At NNSS, Nevada Field Office Manager Steve Lawrence and Jim Holt, Acting President of National Security Technologies, LLC (NSTec) joined Dr. Zerbo for the day. At LANL, Principal Associate Director for Global Security Dr. Terry Wallace served as the host. Sandia National Laboratories Director Jill Hruby also met with Dr. Zerbo and the CTBTO visitors.

NNSA’s support for the CTBTO focuses on strengthening all aspects of the international nuclear explosion monitoring and verification regime. For example, NNSA provided substantial support for the preparation and execution of the CTBTO’s recent large-scale on-site inspection Integrated Field Exercise 2014 (IFE14). NNSA experts also work regularly with CTBTO staff to improve the capabilities for on-site inspections and of the International Monitoring System, supported by the International Data Centre in Vienna, Austria.

To see the NNSA’s Press Release for this visit, click here.

NNSA Blog
Charles Carrigan of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), shows Zerbo some of the monitoring equipment used for verification during on-site inspections.
NNSA Blog
Tom Anklam, an LLNL engineer, explains to Zerbo how the 192 laser beams inside the National Ignition Facility ignite a target.
NNSA Blog
At the target bay of the National Ignition Facility at LLNL.
NNSA Blog
From left, Zerbo, Harrington and Davis prepare to enter a tunnel that was formerly used for underground nuclear explosive testing at the NNSS.
NNSA Blog
Stuart Rawlinson, a facility manager for the NNSS, gives a briefing in a tunnel formerly used for underground nuclear explosive testing.
NNSA Blog
Terry Priestly of Los Alamos National Laboratory's (LANL) Dual Axis Radiographic Hydrodynamic Test (DARHT) Facility explains the function of an imaging component.
NNSA Blog
Priestly showing Dr. Zerbo and his staff a cathode from the DARHT facility at LANL.
Dec 4, 2015 at 10:00 am

NNSA Blog
The Smithsonian Associates Study Tour.

This year marks the second year that the Smithsonian Institution has featured an Oak Ridge tour for its annual Associates Study Tour. Forty-three teachers and two tour leaders traveled from Washington to Oak Ridge for the three-day workshop packed with history and filled with new technological advances such as additive manufacturing, neutron science and computational science.

The group began their visit to Oak Ridge at the American Museum of Science and Energy. After seeing the orientation video and exploring the museum’s Oak Ridge Room and other exhibits, they next stopped at the Y-12 History Center in the New Hope Center.

Their visit to Y-12 included a stop in Building 9201-3 (Alpha 3), giving them the experience of seeing inside an original Manhattan Project facility at Y-12. Read more about their visit

Dec 3, 2015 at 12:00 am

NNSA Blog
Linton Brooks, left, chats with the recipients of the 2015 Linton F. Brooks Medal for Public Service: Ross Matzkin-Bridger and Na’ilah Bowden.

The National Nuclear Security Administration honored two employees this week with the 2015 Linton F. Brooks Medal for Public Service: Na’ilah Bowden and Ross Matzkin-Bridger. Brooks Medal nominees are NNSA employees with fewer than five years of civilian federal service and fewer than five years of professional experience, whose work achievements demonstrate an exceptional commitment to public service excellence. The medal was established in 2008.

“Presenting this award is one of the great pleasures of this job,” said NNSA Principal Deputy Administrator Madelyn Creedon. "Its recipients truly embody commitment to public service and professional excellence. They also remind us that the rising generation of public servants is fully equal to the challenges that will confront our nation in the future.”

Na’ilah Bowden is a Program Manager in the NNSA Office of Infrastructure Planning & Analysis. Bowden is responsible for implementing the BUILDER Sustainment Management System across the Nuclear Security Enterprise to reform NNSA’s ability to manage its infrastructure. The cutting-edge program helps NNSA make critical asset management investment decisions. This tool will better enable NNSA employees to be effective stewards of taxpayer money, using sound management practices, as we turn the Cold War nuclear weapons complex into a 21st century Nuclear Security Enterprise.

Bowden began her career in NNSA with the former Office of Facility Operations, where she led Program Readiness activities for the Readiness and Technical Base Facilities program. Bowden then moved on to lead NNSA’s climate change efforts in the Office of Sustainability. She participated in both the Future Leader Program and the Department’s Minority Serving Institutions Program and is a certified Project Management Professional and Contracting Officer Representative. Bowden earned a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Engineering and a Master of Science in Civil Engineering with a concentration in Sustainability and Building Efficiency.

Ross Matzkin-Bridger is a Foreign Affairs Specialist in the Office of Material Management and Minimization. Matzkin-Bridger leads efforts to remove and eliminate highly enriched uranium and plutonium from facilities worldwide. Most recently, he has worked to negotiate and implement an agreement with Japan to remove and dispose of high-risk nuclear materials from its Fast Critical Assembly. Such efforts are critical as NNSA implements President Obama’s nuclear security agenda to reduce global nuclear dangers.

Previously, Matzkin-Bridger worked throughout Europe and Asia to minimize weapons-usable nuclear materials. These efforts have led to the removal and elimination of hundreds of kilograms of highly enriched uranium and plutonium, enough to build dozens of nuclear weapons. Prior to his current position, he served as an interpreter for a local government in Japan and as a research assistant at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Matzkin-Bridger earned a Master of Science in Foreign Service degree from Georgetown University and a Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs from George Washington University.

NNSA Blog
NNSA Principal Deputy Administrator Madelyn Creedon said Na’ilah Bowden and Ross Matzkin-Bridger "remind us that the rising generation of public servants is fully equal to the challenges that will confront our nation in the future.”
NNSA Blog
NNSA Blog
 Na’ilah Bowden speaks at the awards ceremony.
NNSA Blog
Linton Brooks and Madelyn Creedon present the Brooks Medal to Ross Matzkin-Bridger.
NNSA Blog
Linton Brooks and Madelyn Creedon present the Brooks Medal to Na’ilah Bowden.
NNSA Blog
Ross Matzkin-Bridger speaks at the award ceremony.
Dec 2, 2015 at 12:00 pm

The Pantex Plant’s wildlife monitoring program

Approximately 17 miles northeast of Amarillo, Texas, sits the United States Department of Energy/National Nuclear Security Administration’s (USDOE/NNSA) Pantex Plant — the primary facility for maintaining and disassembling the nation’s nuclear weapons arsenal and for interim storage of plutonium components. In 1999, the plant site — which covers 28 square miles — had only one newly hired wildlife biologist who faced a number of high-profile, regional management and conservation issues. Now, 15 years later, many graduates from West Texas A&M University in Canyon and Texas Tech University in Lubbock have advanced into their profession carrying unique experience gained while conducting wildlife research on this highly unusual property thanks to the formation of a unique research program.

Today, this collaborative effort dictated by the needs of the Pantex site has evolved into a well-respected wildlife conservation and management program that allows local university students to study a wide variety of topics including species with special statuses or the impact of wind energy on birds and bats. In three recent years — 2012, 2013 and 2014 — their research studies helped the Pantex program be recognized as the USDOE/NNSA’s winner of its single nomination for the Presidential Migratory Bird Federal Stewardship Award, an achievement that has given even greater credibility to the ongoing programs.

This content is from an article published in the winter issue of The Wildlife Professional, the magazine of The Wildlife Society. Used with permission.

Here is a photo collection of the rich and varied wildlife found at the Pantex Plant.

NNSA Blog
A bobcat feeding her kittens. The green and pink ear-tags were placed on her when she was a kitten as part of a collaborative research project involving Pantex and West Texas A&M University.

NNSA Blog
An American bald eagle, which is common in the region during fall and spring, especially around black-tailed prairie dog colonies, wetlands and other water areas.

 NNSA Blog
A Swainson’s hawk being tracked by satellite to evaluate effects of wind energy development on this bird of prey during its time in North (nesting), Central (migration) and South America (winter).

 NNSA Blog
A mule deer buck resting at the Pantex Plant. Both mule deer and white-tailed deer inhabit its 18,000 acres.

 NNSA Blog

A Swainson’s hawk sporting leg bands and a satellite transmitter. If you look closely, you can see the antenna coming off the bird’s back. This research is through a collaboration between Pantex, West Texas A&M University, and the U.S. Geological Survey’s Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at Texas Tech University.

 NNSA Blog
The Texas horned lizard, known as the "horny toad" by locals, is considered “threatened” in Texas. Pantex and West Texas A&M University studied this reptile for almost a decade including through the use of radio transmitters which the lizards carried around in a backpack placed carefully by West Texas A&M University researchers.

NNSA Blog
More common in the nearly treeless high plains of Texas than one might think, this porcupine found an apple tree at Pantex to his liking.

NNSA Blog
A young pronghorn.

 NNSA Blog
A Virginia opossum resting high in a tree.

NNSA Blog
A juvenile western burrowing owl in a prairie dog colony. Pantex and Texas Tech University have collaborated on research on prairie dogs and burrowing owls that has resulted in nine major publications.

 NNSA Blog
Migrating monarch butterflies resting on a tree. Pantex is already performing work under ongoing pollinator initiatives.

 NNSA Blog
There are several colonies of black-tailed prairie dogs on the Pantex Plant. These members of the squirrel family influence habitat diversity that is attractive to species that need burrows, shorter cover, bare ground, enhanced plant diversity or that are attracted to the abundant food source base of insects, amphibians, reptiles, small mammals and birds that live there.

Dec 2, 2015 at 8:00 am

NNSA Blog

HaliAnne Crawford is the first women at Pantex or Y‑12 to participate in the Weapons Internship Program.

NNSA Blog

Aaron Lee is the Y‑12 participant in the Weapons Internship Program.

Pantex and Y‑12 will both be represented during the 2016 Weapons Internship Class. HaliAnne Crawford, a process engineer at Pantex, and Aaron Lee, a shift technical advisor at Y-12, were selected to participate in the highly sought‑after internship. The program started Sept. 21 and runs through Aug. 25, 2016. During this time, Crawford and Lee will spend time at Sandia National Laboratories in a classroom setting and will visit the other nuclear sites.

“The first half of the course will be an intense education on weapon‑related material. Not only will the candidates learn technical details about weapon systems, they will also learn processes and site interactions that will provide a comprehensive picture of the Nuclear Security Enterprise,” said Colby Yeary, director of the stockpile program and chair of the Weapons Internship Program selection team. “They will visit a number of the sites to learn how things work firsthand.”

After visiting the sites, participants will spend the last half of the internship working on a specific project that will not only add value to the individuals but to the enterprise as well. Crawford has the distinction of being the first female from either site selected for the program. Read more about the program, Crawford and Lee

Nov 30, 2015 at 12:00 am

Colleagues:

Thanksgiving is a time of celebration and reflection on the many reasons each of us has to be thankful.  We are grateful for the blessings of family, friends, and the opportunity to live in this great country.  We particularly appreciate all of you and commend your hard work and dedication in support of America’s Nuclear Security Enterprise.

As you give thanks, please consider those in need.  The Combined Federal Campaign is a wonderful way to make a difference.  Through Universal Giving you can donate to any of the 24,000 charities participating this year.

We wish you and your loved ones a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving!

 Frank Klotz and Madelyn Creedon

“Mission First, People Always”

Nov 26, 2015 at 12:00 am

successfully completed a recent assessment by the U.S. Department

Members of Pantex’s Protective Force on the firing range. The Protective Force successfully completed a recent assessment by the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Enterprise Assessments.

The Pantex Plant recently hosted the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Enterprise Assessments, commonly known as EA, for a complete multi-topic inspection. The EA team consisted of approximately 100 subject matter experts in the topical areas of Safeguards and Security.

During the EA inspection, the Protective Force was required to perform a wide variety of tasks to demonstrate proficiency in protecting the site. During the inspection process, the Protective Force performed more than 250 limited scope performance tests.

“During daily inspection update meetings, Protective Force management relayed comments that they had received by the EA team. Some of the comments included that the force was ‘well prepared,’ ‘well trained,’ ‘professional’ and ‘committed’ among other great remarks,” Audy Jones, Safeguards and Security Operations, said.

Read more about Pantex’s performance during this inspection.

Nov 25, 2015 at 9:00 am

NNSA Blog

At their recent off-site continuous improvement session, the NNSA Livermore Field Office (LFO) in California unveiled their new set of core values:

  • Integrity – Trustworthy, Reliable, Ethical
    • We are responsible stewards of federal resources
  • Collaboration – Communicate, Support, Team-Focused
    • We work together, communicate clearly & help each other achieve our goals
  • Accountability – Ownership, Personal, Commitment
    • We accomplish our work by taking ownership, admitting mistakes, & meeting our commitments
  • Respect – Professional, Courteous, Compassionate
    • We value each other
  • Excellence – High Quality, Sense of Urgency, Dedicated
    • In all our actions, we seek to achieve the best within us

These core values were developed by the LFO Leadership Advisory Working Group (LLAWG), with input from all LFO employees. The LLAWG was established in December 2014 as the result of an earlier off-site continuous improvement session. The purpose of the LLAWG is to provide advice to Leadership in the management of LFO and to develop initiatives to achieve management and operational excellence. In addition to developing the new LFO core values, the LLAWG is working with LFO Leadership on a number of efforts, including succession planning and improving performance management.

Nov 23, 2015 at 9:34 am