Select Committee on Trade and Industry Written Evidence

Annex 1

  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 2003.

  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 policies—the 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 objective.

  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 category—of "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 material).

  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, Environment, (GAO-03-896TNI).

  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 regimes—at 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 assessment—in public session—on 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 Agency—in 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 expensive."

  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 authorities participated.

  The lecturers of the workshop were experts from the US Government's Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) in the US.

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Prepared 21 December 2006