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Posted by Warren Stern, Director of the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office
Last month, DHS’ Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) coordinated a full-scale exercise in Suffolk County, New York, to test the ability of state and local law enforcement personnel to locate hypothetical illicit radiological and nuclear weapons or materials that could be used by terrorist groups.
As part of the exercise, the FBI provided information about illicit materials believed to be in Suffolk County to Securing the Cities (STC) partners. The FBI, in coordination with the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Suffolk County Police Department (SCPD), initiated radiological and nuclear search operations. Simulating real-life conditions, a Multi-Agency Coordination Center was assembled, and operational search teams were deployed to conduct search operations. SCPD conducted searches, including establishing checkpoints, using mobile, handheld, and backpack radiological and nuclear detection equipment.
During the scenario, DNDO deployed its Mobile Detection Deployment Unit (MDDU) to Suffolk County. Located in regions throughout the United States, MDDU trailers are equipped with radiological and nuclear detection systems that can support state and local operators during search operations and at special events. The MDDU deployments also include onsite technical support and training from subject matter experts.
Coordination between federal, state, and local agencies was critical to the success of the operation, demonstrating the continued collaboration between DNDO, industry stakeholders, and federal, state and local operators to create a safe, secure and resilient homeland.