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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 37, May 1999

The Richardson Plan: DOE Reforms

'Richardson Unveils Security Reform Package,' DOE Press Release R-99-111, 11 May 1999

"… Richardson's plan is as follows:

1. New Office of Security and Emergency Operations

A key component of Richardson's plan is a comprehensive security reorganization at the Department of Energy and its national laboratories. The plan calls for the creation of a new office, the Office of Security and Emergency Operations. It will be responsible for all safeguards and security policy, cyber-security, and emergency operations functions throughout the DOE complex.

The new office will oversee all security-related functions which previously were handled by different DOE program offices. Unfortunately, due to other demands placed on the program offices, security did not always receive the high-level consideration and focus it requires.

'By creating a consolidated security budget, where security funds are clearly separated from program funds, we ensure that security needs and priorities will not be compromised because of competing program requirements,' said Secretary Richardson. 'This new office which will report directly to me will strengthen and consolidate the management of our various security programs and will ensure the proper implementation of the many new counterintelligence and security measures I have ordered.' This new office will be comprised of several important components including:

  • Office of Security Affairs

    The Office of Security Affairs is responsible for directing department-wide safeguards and security and classification/declassification programs. This existing office establishes overall security policy for the DOE, including physical and personnel security, information security and nuclear material control and accountability. It has two existing subordinate operating arms, the Office of Safeguards and Security, and the Office of Declassification. The Office of Declassification is redesignated as the Office of Nuclear and National Security Information under today's reorganization. In addition, the two new offices established under the reorganization, described below, the Office of Foreign Visits and Assignments Policy and the Office of Plutonium, Uranium and Special Material Inventory, will also be part of the Office of Security Affairs.

  • Chief Information Officer (CIO)

    For the first time, all classified and unclassified cyber-security functions formerly performed by individual program offices will come under the authority of the department's Chief Information Officer. The CIO's office will be transferred to this new organization. It will develop policy and oversee the budget for all DOE cyber-security.

  • Office of Foreign Visits and Assignments Policy

    This new office will act as a central accounting center to track and analyze the details of all foreign visits and assignments for all DOE facilities to ensure that these are conducted in a secure manner. It will ensure that all visitors from outside the United States have appropriate checks and approvals for visiting all DOE facilities as well as for non-US citizens working on contract to the department. Creation of this office was mandated as part of Presidential Decision Directive (PDD) 61 signed by President Clinton in February 1998.

  • Office of Plutonium, Uranium and Special Material Inventory

    The Richardson plan calls for the creation of a new Office of Plutonium, Uranium and Special Material Inventory to enhance the tracking and accounting process for all special nuclear material throughout the entire Department of Energy complex. The office will provide regular reports to the Secretary on all special nuclear material accounting. The office will provide reliable and complete information on the most sensitive DOE fissile material in the domestic inventory as well as material transferred abroad.

2. Office of Independent Oversight and Performance Assurance

Richardson is creating a new office to independently evaluate security and emergency operations functions throughout the department. This new Office of Independent Oversight and Performance Assurance will provide independent analysis of the performance of safeguards and security and other critical functions from across the department. The new office will report directly to the Office of the Secretary.

As the case with other security-related issues, while security oversight has been an important departmental function, it was not the primary purpose of its umbrella office. By elevating and expanding the oversight functions for safeguards and security, special nuclear materials accountability, and other related areas to one new independent office, the department will ensure that any security problems can be quickly raised at the highest levels.

3. Cyber-security improvement

Richardson will ask Congress for an additional $50 million over the next two fiscal years (2000 and 2001) to support additional cyber-security improvements. The funding will implement additional upgrades in electronic and physical protection to ensure the continual monitoring of DOE computers for unauthorized and non-secure use. The enhanced program also will include random audits of individual computer users to ensure compliance with property security procedures. New requirements will be established that place stringent controls on computers and workstations, including controls on removable media, removable drives, and other devices that could be used to download files. The new funding request is in addition to the $8 million in cyber-security funds Richardson announced on 17 March.

4. Zero-Tolerance Security Policy

The Richardson plan establishes a 'Zero Tolerance Security Policy.' Under this new policy, he is sending a signal that no security infractions are acceptable. Penalties will be strengthened, including immediate suspension for verified breaches that risk a significant national security compromise, or display a willful disregard for security procedures.

5. Counterintelligence Measures

Richardson also detailed several new security related measures to continue to strengthen the department's improved counterintelligence program.

  • The department will end the backlog of all DOE background investigations. By the end of 1999, DOE will have initiated all outstanding re-investigations.
  • The department will mandate the use of 'banners' across the complex which will alert users logging onto a system that they are operating on a government system which is subject to search and review at the government's discretion. In addition, security experts will now more easily be able to log e-mail and search computers.
  • A special counterintelligence vulnerability assessment group called the 'Red Team' will be established to evaluate espionage threat and vulnerability and conduct tests of the counterintelligence and security program.
  • All DOE facilities will be required to use intrusion detection tools and report all intrusions to the department's Office of Counterintelligence and to the FBI's National Infrastructure Protection Center for investigation and analysis.
  • The department and the FBI have signed a memorandum of agreement which ensures better coordination between DOE security and counterintelligence operations and FBI espionage investigations.
  • DOE officials responsible for maintaining Q clearances and the Office of Counterintelligence must be notified of any issue that might impact the issuance and maintenance of such a clearance, even when such issues fail to rise to the level of a criminal charge.
  • New security requirements are in place for all DOE and contractor employees requiring mandatory reporting when employees have contact with foreign nationals from sensitive countries.
These measures are in addition to a 46-point plan Richardson approved for implementation in the fall of 1998. The recommendations were created as a result of President Clinton's signing of Presidential Decision Directive (PDD) 61 in February 1998.

6. Strengthen the Security Management Board

The administration will submit to the Congress legislation that will strengthen the charter of the Security Management Board that oversees the Department of Energy's safeguards and security. The board is comprised of Department of Defense, Central Intelligence Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation security experts that will continuously review DOE's safeguards and security.

7. Accelerate 'Goal Posts Plan'

To improve security at the Department of Energy nuclear sites, the Richardson plan accelerates the 'Goal Posts Plan.' The 'Goal Posts Plan' is a statement of those specific actions that must be taken by DOE nuclear sites to remedy less than satisfactory ratings that were reported in the 1997/1998 Annual Report to the President on Safeguards and Security at Defense Nuclear Facilities. By the end of this calendar year, under the accelerated plan, the laboratories and facilities should have taken the corrective actions necessary for them to meet the highest security ratings.

8. Accelerate Upgrades to Physical Safeguards and Security

The department will seek significantly increased funding to ensure the physical safeguard and security of DOE nuclear sites. The plan also calls for the application of new technologies and capabilities, including the installation of explosive detection devices and chem-bio protection capabilities at sensitive laboratories.

9. Cyber-Security Training Program

The plan establishes an aggressive department-wide cyber-security training program using mobile training teams. By the end of this year, 1,000 computer security and system administrators from across the DOE complex will be trained in the use of cutting-edge cyber-security tools and procedures. The managers will be briefed on specific cyber-security threats, their responsibility to defend against it, and countermeasures available for implementation.

10. Declassification Deadline Extension

At Richardson's request, President Clinton will extend by 18 months the automatic declassification deadline of Executive Order 12958. Under the existing Executive Order, all classified documents over 25 years old will be automatically declassified in April 2000. The Department of Energy will use the 18-month extension to ensure that all documents released by the Executive Order will have been properly declassified and searched for inadvertently commingled nuclear design information. This step will help ensure the administration's openness initiatives don't jeopardize security concerns. …"

© 1999 The Acronym Institute.

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