Text Only | Disarmament Diplomacy | Disarmament Documentation | ACRONYM Reports
Back to the Acronym home page
British Policy
South Asia
About Acronym

Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 20, November 1997

Security at US Nuclear Facilities: DOE Announcement

'Peña Takes Action to Boost Security at DOE Defense Nuclear Facilities,' Department of Energy Press Release R-97-123A, 7 November 1997

Full text

"Secretary of Energy Federico Peña today announced several actions to strengthen the safeguards and security at the Department's defense nuclear facilities. The measures include deployment of new technologies, involvement of Navy SEALs in training for 'force-on-force' exercises and additional involvement and advice from outside experts. 'The Cold War is over, but the potential threat to our nation's security is not. At Energy Department sites, where we are dismantling and cleaning up after 50 years of building nuclear weapons, we face new security challenges that demand new security solutions,' Peña said.

In announcing the actions, Peña released two reports that he had ordered earlier this year on safeguards and security - one by the independent Office of Oversight and one by the Director of the Office of Security Affairs. Both reports indicate that there is no immediate danger to nuclear material at any DOE site but highlight the need for significant improvements.

'Several months ago when security concerns were first brought to my attention, I ordered these reports. Today, I am publicly releasing them because I think we have a responsibility to the American people to address these challenges as openly and directly as possible. More importantly, we are taking actions to further secure our facilities. The reports highlight problems, but they also show that our site managers have been instrumental in helping to identify the problems and have been working to address them,' Peña added.

Peña announced several actions that have been initiated to enhance security and respond to the recommendations in the reports, including:

Security Oversight Board:

Establishing a Security Board that will include three members selected by the Secretary of Defense, one by the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and one by the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Enhanced Training:

Involving Navy SEALs in training for the force-on-force exercises that DOE uses to test security and train security police officers, and enhancing cooperation and training between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and DOE field sites for threat contingency planning and emergency response.

Security Improvements:

Having already completed an inventory of special nuclear material and its Site Safeguards and Security Plan, Rocky Flats has committed more than $19 million to upgrade and replace aging security alarm systems. Hanford, the Nevada Test Site and Los Alamos National Laboratory are increasing the number of security police officers and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is reestablishing a special response team. Security systems and equipment at several other sites are also being upgraded.


Establishing a special security review team led by Sandia National Laboratories that will use state-of-the-art technology to more effectively and efficiently protect sites.

Permanent Director:

In a move to strengthen the department's security management team, Secretary Peña appointed Rose Gottemoeller as permanent director of the Office of Nonproliferation and National Security. She will direct, manage and coordinate all intelligence and safeguards and security activities for the Department. She also will serve as the Secretary's principal advisor on nonproliferation and intelligence matters.

Protecting Classified Information:

Providing an additional $5 million to increase protection of classified national security secrets and preventing industrial espionage.

Management Reforms:

Designating Deputy Secretary Elizabeth A. Moler to lead a security management council to evaluate and follow up on the recommendations in the reports. The Secretary has directed a status report on these activities by February 1998."

© 1998 The Acronym Institute.

Return to top of page

Return to List of Contents

Return to Acronym Main Page