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National Nuclear Forensics Expertise Development Program
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  1. 24 November 2009 National Nuclear Forensics Expertise Development Program Samantha E. Kentis National Technical Nuclear Forensics Center Domestic Nuclear Detection Office

  2. DHS Domestic Nuclear Detection Office • ESTABLISHED by Presidential Directive in 2005 (NSPD-43/HSPD-14) and AUTHORIZED in the Safe Port Act of 2006 • DEDICATED to preventing a “Nuclear 9-11” DNDO is a jointly-staffed, national office founded on April 15, 2005 to substantially reduce the risk of nuclear terrorism against the United States by continuously improving capabilities to deter, detect, respond to, and attribute attacks, in coordination with domestic and international partners.

  3. The Nuclear and Radiological Threat “In a strange turn of history, the threat of global nuclear war has gone down, but the risk of a nuclear attack has gone up.” Barack Obama, 07 April 2009, Prague Speech on Nuclear Weapons • Weapons and materials: Nuclear Weapon / IND / RDD • Potential impact: • Catastrophic loss of life • Extreme economic consequences • Profound and lasting effect on society • Public loss of confidence in government • Reduce risk through a robust, layered defense reducing terrorist’s ability to use nuc/rad threats: • Eliminating excess stocks of nuclear materials and weapons • Protecting existing stocks from theft or diversion • Detecting illicit movement of nuclear or radiological material overseas • Enhancing domestic detection and interdiction efforts • Enhancing nuclear forensics and attribution efforts

  4. Technical Nuclear Forensics – Definition Technical Nuclear Forensics (TNF) refers to the collection, analysis and evaluation of pre- and post-detonation rad/nuc materials, devices, and debris, as well as prompt effects from a nuclear detonation.  Such forensics are an integral component of the broader goal of attribution, which entails merging the results from the forensic analyses with info from various sources to identify those responsible for the planned or actual attack. Interdicted Materials, Interdicted Device, Post-det Debris • Samples collected and delivered to laboratories • Physical, chemical, isotopic measurements performed • Evaluation methods and interpretation of results • Post-det requires reverse engineering • Identify source of materials, pathway, design type • Peer review and reporting

  5. National Technical Nuclear Forensics IC TNF LE Attribution “The rapid identification of the source and perpetrator of an intended or actual WMD attack will enable our response efforts and may be critical in disrupting follow-on attacks. We will develop the capability to assign responsibility for the intended or actual use of WMD via accurate attribution – the rapid fusion of technical forensic data with intelligence and law enforcement information.” - National Strategy for Combating Terrorism (Sep 2006) Action TNF: collection, analysis & evaluation MATERIALS DEBRIS DEVICE [Nuclear Defense Spectrum]

  6. Nuclear Forensics – a National Priority • Nuclear Forensics is a high priority for the U.S. Government • Modern efforts started in 2000, achieved “criticality” in 2006-7 • Forensics & attribution – a primary focus for National Security Staff (NSS) • Presidential Directive annexes issued for “National Technical Nuclear Forensics” and for “WMD Attribution” • Federal Departments mobilizing and focusing programs • DHS established the National Technical Nuclear Forensics Center (NTNFC) in DNDO in Oct 2006 • Major interrelated activities in DHS, DOE, DoD, FBI, State, and ODNI • Congressional interest growing • First-ever bill highlighting nuclear forensics: “Nuclear Forensics and Attribution Act” (H.R. 730, pending)

  7. DoD post-det debris FBI directs investigation DOE pre- to post-det DOS lead agency international DHS pre-det materials ODNI intelligence information ANL LANL NBL ORNL SRNL INL LLNL NIST PNNL SNL Nuclear Forensics: an inherently interagency mission NTNFC: “system integrator” – centralized planning, evaluation, & stewardship .

  8. Academia Age < 40 Age 40 - 50 Age 50+ Juniors Mid-Career Seniors Interns, Post-Docs Other Programs Other Lab / DOE Programs(GNEP, EM, Safety Analysis,Waste Treatment, Bio Sci, etc) “Positive Vectors” Retirement NTNF Expertise Pipeline Challenges Health and prospects for an enduring workforce & capability Results of the NFSP Workforce Survey and Workshop

  9. Steps to Improve the Workforce Pipeline • Developed and are implementing the National Nuclear Forensics Expertise Development Program (NNFEDP)with DOE and DoD: a comprehensive interagency program that is enduring and provides a stable foundation from which to restore and maintain the technical nuclear forensics workforce • Secondary and undergraduate outreach • Undergraduate and graduate internship programs • Graduate fellowship program • Post-doctorate programs at National Labs and universities • University education awards • Funding of academic research efforts

  10. Nuclear Forensics Undergraduate Programs • Goals: Serve as outreach to academic community and feed students into graduate fellowship program • Secondary/undergrad outreach (with APS):NF curriculum module • Undergrad Internships and Nuclear Forensics Summer School at National Labs (with DOE Office of Science) • Seaborg Institute Nuclear Science Summer Internship Program • LLNL focus on research; LANL on curriculum-based training and education (undergrads and grads)

  11. Nuclear Forensics Graduate Fellowships • Nuclear Forensics Graduate Fellowship Program (with DoD/DTRA) • Goals: Encourage students to pursue advanced degrees in radiochemistry and other NF-related disciplines and encourage universities to invest in these types of programs • Tuition and stipend for 12 months at an approved university, including at least 1 summer internship (National Lab) and a service payback requirement • Extremely successful to date – excellent candidates • 14 fellows currently at 9 different universities (13 Ph.D.s) in radiochemistry, nuclear chemistry, analytical chemistry, chemistry, nuclear engineering, and engineering • Summer internships at 6 different National Labs

  12. Academic/R&D Support • Post-Doc Fellowships at National Labs • Goal: Encourage Ph.D. grads to enter NF workforce • Post-docs at SRNL, ORNL, and NBL in FY09 • NF Education Award Program (NFEAP) (with DOE/NNSA) • Goal: Encourage universities to develop interdisciplinary programs in NF-related disciplines in partnership with National Labs • Excellent candidates in first year of program • University Junior Faculty Awards • Goal: Fill expanding academic need beginning in FY10 • DHS/DNDO and National Science Foundation (NSF) partnership:Academic Research Initiative (ARI) grants • Goal: Promote university research in the areas of R/N detection and NF

  13. Key Messages • Assuring an enduring nuclear expertise pipeline for a credible future forensics capability – over next 5 years, plan to support: • 20 graduate fellows (majority Ph.D.) • 13 post-doc fellows • Well on track with recommendation of 35 new Ph.D.s in next 10 yrs • NNFEDP is focused on the “front end” of the pipeline – but the community must address the problem holistically, end-to-end • Requires immediate actions – enduring solutions will take time • Will continue to assess the need and expand the program gradually