Today, we commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Department of Homeland Security’s Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO). DNDO was established through presidential directive on April 15, 2005 with the singular mission to prevent nuclear terrorism through nuclear detection. In 2006, DNDO was tasked with the technical nuclear forensics mission. To accomplish our mission, DNDO collaborates with a wide range of partners and promotes innovative approaches to protect the nation. In fact, the Partnership for Public Service recently ranked DNDO # 2 for Innovation among 314 agency subcomponents, based on results from the 2014 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey.
Since its establishment, DNDO has made considerable advancements in making our homeland safer from nuclear terrorism. Our research and development efforts have led to new technologies that address critical detection needs. For instance, through our Small Business Innovation Research efforts, one such material, stilbene, is now domestically produced by industry at lower costs and in greater quantities.
Our testing, acquisition, and deployment of detection equipment for DHS operational components, including the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and the Transportation Security Administration, has ensured frontline personnel have the right tools to protect the nation from nuclear terrorism. Working with our state and local partners, DNDO is engaged with 33 states and will expand basic preventive nuclear detection efforts to reach all 50 states by the end of fiscal year 2015. From aiding our state and local partners to developing international guidance, DNDO works across all boundaries in furtherance of the mission. To enhance the detection capabilities of these partners, we assist with training, exercises, and assessments.
Partnerships with academia and the National Laboratories have restored a healthy pipeline of next-generation scientists in nuclear forensics-related fields in response to a national security demand. We are on track to have 35 new PhDs in the workforce by 2018 in nuclear forensics- related fields.
Planning efforts with the U.S. Government interagency have culminated in strategies and reports that guide the development and implementation of nuclear detection and forensic activities and capabilities. In 2014, DNDO along with the interagency, updated the Global Nuclear Detection Architecture Strategic Plan with mission, goals, and objectives for U.S. Government efforts to detect, analyze, and report on nuclear or other radioactive materials that are out of regulatory control. DNDO established the Nuclear Forensics Requirements Center, co-chaired with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which for the first time identifies, develops, and documents strategic, operational, and technical requirements across the nuclear forensics mission space. Through a government-wide approach, DNDO is leveraging interagency efforts to better and more effectively protect the Nation.
In the past ten years, we have seen a remarkable increase in our nation’s capabilities to protect against nuclear terrorism. This is in large part, due to the great work of the men and women of DNDO, and we look forward to furthering this important mission in the decade to come.
To learn more about DNDO, visit http://www.dhs.gov/about-domestic-nuclear-detection-office.