WASHINGTON, D.C. - The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) is developing a comprehensive plan to address implementing recommendations of an expert panel that examined policies to recruit and retain experienced security personnel across the nation's nuclear weapons complex, Administrator Linton F. Brooks announced today. This action is in response to a major security announcement by Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Spencer Abraham on Friday, which included these personnel issues.
The recommendations are contained in the recently issued report, "Strengthening NNSA Security Expertise: An Independent Analysis." The report was prepared by the Security Workforce Panel led by retired Admiral Hank Chiles at the request of Brooks last July, as one of several initiatives to address concerns raised by a series of security incidents.
The Security Workforce Team was charged with developing recommendations for recruiting and retaining NNSA officials who have the technical, engineering and physical sciences expertise needed for effective, long-term oversight of safeguards and security operations in the nuclear weapons complex. The report, issued in March, 2004, makes the following recommendations:
- Develop and execute a comprehensive human capital management program.
- Improve the training, qualifications, and stature of the NNSA security workforce.
- Reengage in national markets to hire security professionals.
- Institute a long-term practice of security staff rotation.
- Identify options for accelerating the security clearance process.
- Improve security information flow.
- Revise the NNSA Safeguards and Security Strategic Plan.
- Provide specific budget support and track recommendation progress.
Brooks has established a human resource implementation team to develop within 90 days "a comprehensive human capital management program" to address both short and long term issues raised in the report. The team will be under the joint leadership of Michael Kane, NNSA's associate administrator for management and administration, and William Desmond, acting chief of defense nuclear security.
The objective of the safeguards and security comprehensive human capital program will be to develop an appropriately staffed, trained and qualified federal safeguards and security staff as quickly as possible, and institutionalize the human resource program to ensure continuity of this objective permanently.
Actions to be implemented immediately include the following:
- Begin the development of an NNSA safeguards and security internship program in parallel with finalizing the minimum qualification requirements for NNSA intern positions.
- Reengage in national markets for recruiting security personnel, by attending upcoming national recruiting fairs and establishing ongoing contacts with safeguards and security professional societies.
- Update an earlier NNSA Safeguards and Security Workforce Analysis to compare existing personnel capabilities with skills and abilities identified by each NNSA facility as essential to effectively perform the mission.
This initiative will begin as a pilot program in the NNSA; Secretary Abraham announced Friday that it may be extended to the entire DOE safeguards and security community. NNSA will work closely with DOE's Office of Security and Safety Performance Assurance during this pilot activity.
NNSA is a semi-autonomous agency of the Department of Energy. It enhances U.S. national security through the military application of nuclear energy, maintains the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile, promotes international nuclear nonproliferation and safety, reduces global danger from weapons of mass destruction, provides the U.S. Navy with safe and effective nuclear propulsion, and oversees its national laboratories to maintain U.S. leadership in science and technology.
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