Combating Nuclear Smuggling

Combating Nuclear Smuggling

DHS's Phase 3 Test Report on Advanced Portal Monitors Does Not Fully Disclose the Limitations of the Test Results

eBook - 2008
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The Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) is responsible for addressing the threat of nuclear smuggling. Radiation detection portal monitors are part of the U.S. defense against such threats. In 2007, Congress required that funds for new advanced spectroscopic portal (ASP) monitors could not be spent until the Secretary of DHS certified that these machines represented a significant increase in operational effectiveness over currently deployed portal monitors. In addition to other tests, DNDO conducted the Phase 3 tests on ASPs to identify areas in which the ASPs needed improvement. GAO was asked to assess (1) the degree to which the Phase 3 test report accurately depicts the test results and (2) the appropriateness of using the Phase 3 test results to determine whether ASPs represent a significant improvement over current radiation detection equipment. GAO also agreed to provide its observations on special tests conducted by Sandia National Laboratories (SNL). GAO's recommendations include proposing that the Secretary of DHS revise the Phase 3 report to better disclose test results and limitations if it is to be used in any certification decision for ASP acquisition. DHS disagreed with two of GAO's recommendations but agreed to take action on a third. GAO continues to believe that all of its recommendations need to be implemented.

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