Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

July 24, 2008

Nuclear Forensics Gets European Attention

Filed under: Organizational Issues,Radiological & Nuclear Threats — by Jonah Czerwinski on July 24, 2008

The Euroscience Open Forum 2008 taking place in Barcelona, Spain, is covered in a short UPI story highlighting the Forum’s focus on nuclear forensics, which is the science specializing in nuclear threat detection.

Nuclear forensics cuts across the entire mission space from deterrence and dissuasion, to detection through consequence management, to attribution and response. It is a core part of the mission of combating smuggled nuclear weapons.

Speaking at the Eurpean Forum, Gabriele Tamborini of the European Commission Joint Research Center Institute for Transuranium Elements told UPI that the threat posed by nuclear terrorism has become a serious field of study.

“Nuclear forensics may provide information on the history, the intended use and possibly on the origin of nuclear material.”

“This scientific discipline is at the interface between physical science, prosecution, non-proliferation and counter-terrorism.”

For our part, the U.S. has formed the National Technical Nuclear Forensics Center (NTNFC) under the DNDO. It represents an important reorganization.

While the Department of Homeland Security is not responsible for the entire spectrum of nuclear forensics, the NTNFC is a step forward in two clearly needed capabilities:
1. Across the government, unify various competencies and programs that are focused on aspects of the forensics mission.
2. Develop, enhance, and maintain technical forensics capabilities for pre-event needs.

The FBI provides the Deputy Assistant Director at the NTNFC, and it also provides a senior liaison from the FBI lab. The Department of Defense and the Department of Energy both provide detailees.

The Forensics Center also has a Working Group, made up of members from each relevant federal agency and members of the intelligence community, which meets regularly. There is an “Interagency NTNF Program & Budget Crosscut” under development to help align relevant programs and harmonize budget requests. Lastly, the NTNFC – and the DNDO in general – work with interagency partners in planning and executing exercises that support the research, development, and deployment of technologies, as well as shared concepts of operations.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Digg
  • Reddit
  • Facebook
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Google Bookmarks
  • email
  • Print
  • LinkedIn


Comment by William R. Cumming

July 24, 2008 @ 10:20 am

This interesting post sparks a question–what has DTRA been up to on Homeland Defense? DTRA was or is the Defense Threat Reduction Agency. Based on my information the relationships of the DOE labs and DHS is not good at all and even DOE Main is quite uncooperative. I followed the FEMA trailer (really RV’s primarily bought to provide some stopgap housing rather than more quality manufactured housing) and it is interesting that the non-regulation of that industry is now being blamed on FEMA. HUD has always opposed regulating construction of the RV industry under all administrations. Now with gas prices causing a collapse of that industry interesting to see what capability will remain. Why is thread-when talking of nuclear forensics—because in reality there is no coordinative body or organization to make sure that there are no gaps in what the perceived needs are to prevent WMD exploitation by sub-state actors. If you remember, both the Homeland Security Strategy, HSPD-5, and the Homeland Security Act mandated that the FRERP (Federal Radiological Emergency Response Plan) be integrated into the now defunct National Response Plan. That plan by its own terms applied not to just fixed nuclear power stations but also radiological accidents and attacks unless the accident was at a site or facilty owned or regulated by a federal agency. Again, why this thread? Just to show that huge gaps and chasms in coordination, planning, preparedness, and cooperation exist because the Advisor to the President for Homeland Security has chosen not to spend time on filling these gaps in the real world but instead focused on paper gap fillers. This was why the Clinton Admnistration also failed. Coordinating the federal community is a really really tough job and thankless but necessary for the white house to succeed. I still wish Tilly Fowler’s (Rest-in-peace)legislation passed by the House in summer 2000 had reached the Senate or even become law. That created for the first time a Whitel House Domestic Crisis Management Unit. Still nothing like it and still not fixed after Katrina. To heck with DHS and FEMA being the lead, unless the White House cracks the whip on a coordiantion issue nothing happens. President Clinton did this for natural disasters problem was he did not back Richard Clarke for anti-and counter-terrorism efforts. Now again the interstitial arens is where the gigantic federal bureacracy has earthquake size cracks. S.995 back in 1993 introduced by Senator Milkuski also would have helped immensely. Let’s not let a WMD even destroy democracy but let’s get started on the hard work of joing the federal horses together so that they pull together.

Trackback by Nuclear Medicine in Texas

August 4, 2008 @ 5:40 am

Nuclear Medicine in Texas…

[…] The Nuclear Green Revolution One of the roles of educated people in society is to help other people overcome irrational fears. That role is certainly not to manipulate those fears to further irrational personal and group agendas. – […]…

Trackback by Buy Viagra

October 11, 2008 @ 8:04 pm

Buy Viagra tabs…

Buy Viagra tabs online with overnight shipping…

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>