Nuclear Forensics: Comprehensive Interagency Plan Needed to Address Human Capital Issues Page: 2 of 17
The following text was automatically extracted from the image on this page using optical character recognition software:
In this context, you asked us to assess the (1) challenges the U.S. government faces in
developing and maintaining a comprehensive nuclear forensics capability and (2)
current and future costs associated with the U.S. government's nuclear forensics
efforts. In February 2009, we reported to you on the results of our work in a
classified report.' This letter summarizes certain aspects of our classified report.
To address these objectives, we reviewed program documents and interviewed
officials from DOD; DOE; DHS; State; FBI; the Office of the Director of National
Intelligence; the Executive Office of the President and, within that office, the
Homeland Security Council and the Office of Science and Technology Policy; the
Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC); the International Atomic Energy Agency
(IAEA); and eight DOE national laboratories that support the NTNF program. We
visited four of these national laboratories: Lawrence Livermore, Los Alamos, Pacific
Northwest, and Savannah River-as well as a DOD facility involved in nuclear
forensics. In addition, we observed part of the October 2008 interagency nuclear
forensics exercise at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina. Regarding our examination of
challenges facing the NTNF program, we reviewed program documentation, including
a report from NTNFC's 2008 workshop on the national laboratories' human capital
requirements for nuclear forensics and surveys on the NTNF program's manpower
needs. We also reviewed documents from and had discussions with six professors
from five universities that award Ph.D. degrees for study in radiochemistry. To select
those professors, we used a judgmental sample of academicians from major
university programs that grant Ph.D. degrees in radiochemistry. To assess the
current and expected budget for nuclear forensics activities, we met with officials
from DOD, DOE, DHS, State, and FBI to review budget information from the NTNF
program. We discussed and reviewed these data with budget and program analysts at
these agencies. In addition, we interviewed knowledgeable officials on the reliability
of these data, including issues such as data entry, access, quality control procedures,
and the accuracy and completeness of the data. We determined that these data were
sufficiently reliable for purposes of this review.
We conducted the work for the classified report between January 2008 through
February 2009 in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards,
and we conducted our work for the unclassified report in accordance with the same
standards between March 2009 and April 2009. Those standards require that we plan
and perform the audit to obtain sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide a
reasonable basis for our findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives. We
believe that the evidence obtained provides a reasonable basis for our findings and
conclusions based on our audit objectives.
Agencies implementing the NTNF program face challenges in reducing the time
needed to arrive at nuclear forensics conclusions and addressing human capital
shortages in key disciplines-such as radiochemistry-needed for nuclear forensics.
Agencies are working to significantly reduce the time needed to collect, transport,
'GAO, (U) Nuclear Forensics: U.S. Efforts Hampered by Equipment, Infrastructure, and Personnel
Deficiencies, and a Lack of Baseline Program Requirements, GAO-09-276C (Washington, D.C.: Feb.
GAO-09-527R Nuclear Forensics
Here’s what’s next.
This text can be searched. Note: Results may vary based on the legibility of text within the document.
Tools / Downloads
Get a copy of this page or view the extracted text.
Citing and Sharing
Basic information for referencing this web page. We also provide extended guidance on usage rights, references, copying or embedding.
Reference the current page of this Text.
United States. Government Accountability Office. Nuclear Forensics: Comprehensive Interagency Plan Needed to Address Human Capital Issues, text, April 30, 2009; Washington D.C.. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc296634/m1/2/: accessed April 26, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.