President Obama has stated that the most extreme threat to global security is nuclear terrorism. The Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is one of the President’s main resources to combat this threat.
In mid-January, I traveled with colleagues from DNDO to Tel Aviv, Israel, to observe a national-level Israeli Ministry of Defense exercise. The exercise explored detection and response capabilities surrounding a simulated Radiation Dispersal Device (RDD) (“dirty bomb”) terrorist attack. As one of President Obama’s key nuclear terrorism experts, I sought to advance our collective efforts to prevent and ultimately detect the illicit movement of nuclear and radiological material.
I was also privileged to lead the U.S. delegation in meetings with multiple Israeli security agencies, including the National Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Bureau, the Ministry of Public Security, and the Israel Atomic Energy Commission. These meetings enabled DNDO to move ahead with ongoing bilateral nuclear detection and forensics cooperation plans. DNDO and our Israeli counterparts shared successes and challenges in our efforts to develop a national-level detection architecture. We discussed detection systems, testing and evaluation, exercise capabilities, the integration of interior law enforcement in a national-level detection architecture, and research and development efforts.
The global security challenge cannot be addressed adequately by any one country alone. Our strong alliance with Israel and the continued cooperation between our two nations is essential to countering the threat of nuclear and radiological terrorism.
Warren Stern is the Director of the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office in the Department of Homeland Security.