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NNSA Security Professional of the Year Awards presented to Two Oak Ridge Officials

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. – Two Oak Ridge federal and contractor officials have been named as the recipients of the third annual Security Professional of the Year Award for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA).

Mary Helen HitsonMary Helen Hitson, Team Lead for the Cyber and Security Program Management Team for NNSA’s Y-12 Site Office, and Justen Parker, Manager, Oak Ridge Central Training Facility, with WSI-Oak Ridge, were recently recognized in a ceremony held at the NNSA’s Y-12 National Security Complex. Brad Peterson, NNSA Associate Administrator for Defense Nuclear Security, participated in the ceremony.

“Our security professionals dedicate themselves to protecting some of the country’s most vital strategic assets,” said Peterson. “They are responsible for securing thousands of nuclear weapons and components, and hundreds of tons of special nuclear material in all forms, shapes, and sizes. They work tirelessly to protect NNSA personnel, facilities, nuclear weapons, special nuclear material and information from a full spectrum of threats. Within this exceptional group, we have been able to identify two security professionals who stand out above the rest.”

Hitson is recognized throughout the NNSA enterprise as an expert in administration of the cyber security program and in the development and use of secure automated information systems. Hitson has led efforts by NNSA to increase the availability of secure wireless communications at the Y-12 National Security Complex. This has allowed for much greater productivity for employees at the Oak Ridge, Tenn., facility. Hitson has been a member of the YSO staff since 2002. She received a bachelor's degree in biology from Carson-Newman College in 1994. She is a Certified Information System Security Professional. She and her husband Brian, who serves as the Associate Director for DOE’s Office of Scientific and Technical Information, live in Clinton, Tenn.

Justen ParkerAs Manager for the Central Training Facility (CTF) with WSI-Oak Ridge, Parker manages a group of 26 instructors and support staff who develop and implement all training programs for approximately 800 protective force personnel for Y-12 and other facilities in the DOE Oak Ridge complex. Under his direction and leadership, CTF has become a highly effective and cost-efficient training base for protective force personnel and serves as a model for all NNSA facilities. This past year, he implemented a state-of-the-art Live Fire Simulation System, which provides realistic high technical training without the cost of live fire ammunition. Parker is a recognized expert supporting the NNSA Nuclear Security Enterprise in a proactive, innovative manner. He received his bachelor’s degree in engineering technology from the University of Central Florida and a master’s in business administration from Liberty University. He is a veteran of the U.S. Army. He and his wife, Kelley, live in Knoxville, Tenn.

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Established by Congress in 2000, NNSA is a semi-autonomous agency within the U.S. Department of Energy responsible for enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear science in the nation’s national security enterprise. NNSA maintains and enhances the safety, security, reliability, and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear testing; reduces the global danger from weapons of mass destruction; provides the U.S. Navy with safe and effective nuclear propulsion; and responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the U.S. and abroad.