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(DNDO) Domestic Nuclear Detection Office

Written testimony of DNDO, OHA, and S&T for a House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Communications hearing titled “Examining the Department of Homeland Security’s Efforts to Counter Weapons of Mass Destruction”

U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) Director Jim McDonnell, Office of Health Affairs (OHA) Acting Assistant Secretary Dave Fluty, and Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) Acting Under Secretary Bill Bryan address DHS’ work to bolster efforts to counter the threat of terrorist actors using weapons of mass destruction against the Homeland.

James F. McDonnell

James F. McDonnell

In May 2018, Mr. James F. McDonnell was appointed by President Trump to serve as the Assistant Secretary for the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction (CWMD) Office. The mission of the newly-established CWMD Office is to counter attempts by terrorists or other threat actors to carry out an attack against the United States or its interests using a weapon of mass destruction.

Two DNDO members participate in nuclear forensics exercise.

U.S. and Canada Hold First Joint Nuclear Forensics Exercise

The United States and Canada recently held the first joint nuclear forensics exercise between the two countries, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.  The exercise simulated a nuclear detonation, allowing experts from both countries to improve operational readiness to respond to radiological or nuclear attacks.  The advancement of international cooperation in nuclear forensics will help improve the ability of the U.S. and its allies to determine the source of a detonated device.

Melting Plutonium in front of a Nuclear Symbol.

New Nuclear Forensics Signature Discovery Capability Will Help Trace Origins of Plutonium

Last week, the Department of Homeland Security’s Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) joined with partners at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) to launch the Plutonium Processing Signatures Discovery capability.  The new capability, the result of a four-year effort, represents a significant technological advancement in nuclear forensics that will improve our ability to trace the origins of plutonium. 

Exploratory Research Program Fact Sheet

The Exploratory Research program explores innovative, high-risk, early-stage technologies, concepts, and ideas that can make transformational contributions in support of radiological and nuclear detection and nuclear forensics capability development efforts.

Written testimony of DNDO for a joint House Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittee on Coast Guard & Maritime Transportation and House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border & Maritime Security hearing titled “Prevention of Smuggling at U.S. Ports”

U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) Acting Director Dr. Wayne Brasure addresses DNDO’s efforts to prevent the smuggling of nuclear or other radioactive materials via the Nation’s maritime ports.

Nuclear Forensics Technical Mission Areas

Nuclear forensics addresses a diverse set of topics related to the collection, analysis, and evaluation of pre-detonation (intact) and post-detonation (exploded) radiological or nuclear materials, devices, and debris, as well as the immediate effects created by a nuclear detonation.


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