The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) provided experts from its National Technical Nuclear Forensics Center, within the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO), to observe and monitor a joint United States (U.S.) – United Kingdom (U.K.) exercise on October 3-28, 2011. DHS has the responsibility to continually assess the nation’s nuclear forensics capability through exercises, to ensure advancement of this vital national security priority.
This bilateral exercise was conducted to test the readiness of U.S. and U.K. laboratories to perform nuclear forensic analysis on collected material samples after the detonation of an Improvised Nuclear Device.
Led by the Department of Energy (DOE), in partnership with the Departments of Defense (DoD) and Justice/Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), this exercise was part of the U.S. Government National Technical Nuclear Forensics program that includes the Department of State and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, in addition to DHS, DOE, FBI, and DoD.
Expanding international collaboration in nuclear forensics, an objective of the 2010 Nuclear Security Summit partners, improves the ability of governments to identify the nature and source of interdicted or seized materials and weapons, as well as the source of a detonated weapon.
When combined with information from law enforcement investigations and intelligence channels, nuclear forensics conclusions support the identification of those responsible for planned and actual attacks. Importantly, effective international collaboration creates a stronger deterrent by increasing the likelihood that perpetrators are identified and held accountable.