Shortly after these Orders were issued, Joseph
S. Mahaley, Director of the US Department of Energy's Office of
Security, testified before a session of the House of Representatives'
Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats, and International
Relations of the Committee on Government Reform, held on 24 June
He told the Representatives that the 2003 DOE
Design Basis Threat Policy is predicated on the information contained
in the Defense Intelligence Agency, "Postulated Threat: to
US Nuclear Weapons Facilities and other Selected Strategic Facilities,"
dated January 2003, also referred to as the Postulated Threat
Statement. The Postulated Threat Statement details relevant threat
information about postulated adversary team sizes, characteristics,
capabilities and applicability to national security assets. The
Postulated Threat Statement is based on intelligence information
detailing actual terrorist attacks and the equipment and tactics
utilized in the attacks, expert judgments regarding stated terrorist
intentions and the ability of the terrorist to execute the stated
objectives, and postulated capabilities based on the latest knowledge
concerning terrorist activities.
Prior to the September 11, 2001, attacks in
New York and Washington, the Department of Energy, in August 2001,
requested that the intelligence community prepare an update to
the 1994 Postulated Threat Statement. Although the 1994 Postulated
Threat Statement was designed to be a 10-year document, we believed
at that time that changes in international politics, emerging
technologies and increases in worldwide terrorism required a reassessment.
The National Intelligence Coordinating Committee assigned the
primary responsibility for updating the Postulated Threat Statement
to the Defense Intelligence Agency.
The events of September 11, 2001, delayed the
Postulated Threat Statement update effort due to reallocation
of critical assets. However, the requested Postulated Threat Statement
update was fully underway by January 2002. The primary entities
collaborating on the revision to the Postulated Threat Statement
were: the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Department of the Navy,
the Department of the Army, the Department of the Air Force, the
Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Federal Bureau of Investigation,
the Central Intelligence Agency, and the Department of Energy.
The Department of Energy's Office of Security
began revising the DOE Design Basis Threat Policy in October 2001.
Our work on the revised DOE Design Basis Threat Policy was carried
out in parallel with the work on the updated Postulated Threat
Statement to reduce the amount of time that would be required
to issue a final DOE Design Basis Threat Policy upon completion
of the Postulated Threat Statement. After the release of the final
Postulated Threat Statement in January 2003, we made final revisions
to the Departmental Design Basis Threat Policy. The Policy was
then coordinated within the Department of Energy, including the
National Nuclear Security Administration. The revised Policy was
approved by the Deputy Secretary of Energy on 20 May 2003.
The new Design Basis Threat Policy will provide
managers an improved threat policy document to plan, resource,
and execute vital safeguards and security programs. In addition
to updated threat information, the revised Design Basis Threat
Policy includes a significant enhancement over prior policiesthe
use of the "graded threat concept". The graded threat
concept considers and accounts for factors such as consequences
of a malevolent event, the attractiveness of the asset, the ability
of an adversary to accomplish a given objective with an asset,
and the resources required by an adversary to accomplish a given
The graded threat approach includes the establishment
of "Threat Levels" for Departmental facilities and associated
"Protection Strategies" based on the assets located
at a given facility. The Design Basis Threat Policy separates
"Threat Levels" into two distinct categories. One category
of "Threat Levels" covers theft, disruption of mission,
and espionage and foreign intelligence collection, and the second
categoryof "Sabotage Threat Levels"covers
radiological, chemical, and biological sabotage.
Five "Threat Levels" are established
for theft, disruption of mission, and espionage and foreign intelligence
collection: Threat Level 1 (the highest)for facilities
that receive, use, process, store, transport, or test Category
IA assets (ie, nuclear weapons, nuclear test devices, or completed
nuclear assemblies) through Threat Level 5 (the lowest)for
facilities that are only required to maintain minimum safeguards
accountability or security operations (ie, small office activities,
tenants in large office buildings, or small isolated research
or test facilities that do not possess quantities of special nuclear
Four "Sabotage Threat Levels" are
established for radiological, chemical, and biological sabotage.
Sabotage Threat Level 1 (the highest) through Level 4 (the lowest)
are set for facilities, buildings, or operations that process,
store or transport radiological, chemical, and biological materials
by the degree to which these materials, if dispersed, would result
in acute dose effects at the site boundary.
Immediately following the events of September
11, 2001, the Department implemented measures to augment safeguards
and security for the most critical Departmental assets. The recently
revised Department of Energy Design Basis Threat Policy incorporates
those measures and, in some cases, sets a higher standard for
the protection of Departmental assets.
The revised Design Basis Threat Policy is effective
immediately and will be implemented over the next several years.
Actions to augment existing safeguards and security programs for
those facilities and assets that are considered the highest security
policy will be undertaken as soon as practicable."
No such detail of the British DBT has been placed
before MPs by anyone in a position of authority to know.
On the same day as this testimony, the US Government
Accountability Office issued a report entitled "Nuclear Security:
DOE Faces Security Challenges in the Post September 11, 2001,
The GAO reviewed how effectively the National
Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)a separately organized
agency within US Department of Energy (DOE)manages its
safeguards and security programme, including how it oversees contractor
security operations. GAO also reviewed DOE and NNSA's response
to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. In this regard,
GAO examined: DOE and NNSA's immediate response to September 11;
DOE's efforts to develop a new design basis threat, a classified
document that identifies the potential size and capabilities of
the terrorist forces that DOE and NNSA sites must be prepared
to defend against; and the challenges DOE and NNSA face in meeting
the requirements of the new design basis threat.
The USGAO was able to use unclassified material
to provide three case studies of US military nuclear installations
or security regimesat the Rocky Flats former nuclear warhead
production plant, outside of Denver, Colorado; the Technical Area-18
(TA-18) at the Los Alamos Nuclear Laboratory in New Mexico; and
the Transportation Security Division, which travels the United
States interstate highways.
To our knowledge, no analysis independent of
the nuclear security regulator has been conducted of the UK DBT,
because the details of the DBT remain confidential. Here is one
comment made by the USGAO on the US DBT:
"The number and capabilities of the terrorists
involved in the September 11 attacks rendered obsolete DOE's design
basis threat, last issued in 1999. However, DOE's effort to develop
and issue a new design basis threat took almost two years; it
was issued in May 2003. This effort was slowed by, among other
things, disagreements over the size of the potential terrorist
group that might attack a DOE or NNSA facility. Successfully addressing
the increased threats will take time and resources, as well as
new ways of doing business, sound management, and leadership.
Currently, DOE does not have a reliable estimate of the cost to
fully protect DOE and NNSA facilities."
Moreover, the US National Academy of Sciences
was given a detailed assessmentin public sessionon
the "Vulnerability of Spent Fuel Pools and the Design Basis
Threat", by Peter DH Stockton (a former Special Assistant
on nuclear security for US Energy Secretary Bill Richardson, now
senior investigator for the Project On Government Oversight [POGO])
on 10 May 2004.
He said on the Design Basis Threat (DBT):
"The Postulated Threat is a document created
by the Defense Intelligence Agencyin conjunction with the
U.S. intelligence community. It indicates a significant threat
against nuclear facilities in terms of numbers of adversaries,
lethality of weapons and size of truck bombs. This document should
be the basis for the size of the DBT."
Amongst the proposals made by POGO, were some
on a Possible Solution to Threat from Aircraft:
"Barrage balloons, similar to those used
in World War II, lofted around the perimeter of a nuclear plant
site would likely divert an oncoming plane, and would not be prohibitively
It is also on public record (TCNC Newsletter
3-4, July/August 2003) that a Workshop on Korea-USA Design Basis
Threat (DBT) was held at INTEC of KAERI in Daejeon from 30 June
to 2 July 2003, in which around 50 participants from MOST, KAERI,
National Police Agency, KHNP, KEPCO, KNFC, KOPEC, and other competent
The lecturers of the workshop were experts from
the US Government's Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) in the