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entitled 'Combating Nuclear Smuggling: DNDO Has Not Yet Collected Most 
of the National Laboratories' Test Results on Radiation Portal Monitors 
in Support of DNDO's Testing and Development Program' which was 
released on April 9, 2007. 

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March 9, 2007: 

Congressional Requesters: 

Subject: Combating Nuclear Smuggling: DNDO Has Not Yet Collected Most 
of the National Laboratories' Test Results on Radiation Portal Monitors 
in Support of DNDO's Testing and Development Program: 

Preventing a nuclear weapon or radiological dispersal device (a "dirty 
bomb") from being smuggled into the United States is a key national 
security priority. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), through 
its Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO), has lead responsibility 
for conducting the research, development, testing, and evaluation of 
radiation detection equipment that can be used to detect smuggled 
nuclear or radiological materials. National Security Presidential 
Directive-43 /Homeland Security Presidential Directive-14 established 
DNDO in 2005 and made DNDO responsible for, among other things, 
choosing and purchasing the radiation detection equipment that will be 
used by DHS's Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at the nation's 
seaports and other points of entry, as well as for coordinating with 
state and local governments on their radiation detection efforts and 
providing information and assistance to these governments when 
necessary.[Footnote 1] 

Much of DNDO's work on radiation detection equipment to date has 
focused on the development and use of radiation detection portal 
monitors, which are larger-scale equipment that can screen vehicles, 
people, and cargo entering the United States. Beginning in 2005, DNDO 
has tested both the portal monitors that CBP uses today and advanced 
technology portal monitors. Current portal monitors, made of polyvinyl 
toluene (plastic) and known as "PVTs," detect the presence of radiation 
but cannot distinguish between benign, naturally occurring radiological 
materials (NORM) such as ceramic tile, and dangerous materials such as 
highly enriched uranium (HEU). DNDO hopes that the next generation of 
portal monitors, known as "Advanced Spectroscopic Portals" (ASP), will 
be able to detect and more specifically identify radiological and 
nuclear materials within a shipping container. DNDO has stated that it 
will begin conducting tests of ASPs in February 2007 and begin fielding 
ASPs in spring 2007. 

DNDO has conducted tests on PVTs and ASPs at the Nevada Test Site 
(NTS). According to DNDO officials, the advantage of using the NTS for 
testing radiation detection equipment is that it provides the necessary 
facilities to test detection system capabilities with special nuclear 
materials, which consist of specified quantities of plutonium and 
highly enriched uranium. In addition, several of the Department of 
Energy's (DOE) national laboratories have performed work related to the 
development, testing, or deployment of radiation detection portal 
monitors. In particular, Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), Los 
Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), Oak Ridge National Laboratory 
(ORNL), Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), and Sandia 
National Laboratories (SNL) have extensive expertise in radiation 
detection technology and have tested numerous commercial models of PVTs 
on behalf of DHS and DOE. 

According to radiation detection experts, portal monitor tests are 
important because they help determine how well the monitors work in 
real-life situations and provide information for making the monitors 
better. In addition, DNDO and radiation detection experts agree that 
portal monitors should be tested both in a laboratory-controlled 
setting, to learn about their performance capabilities, and under an 
assortment of real-life conditions, such as at seaports, to learn how 
well they perform under various environmental conditions in the field. 
In particular, testing should examine how well a portal monitor 
performs when screening various types of NORM, either in the local 
environment or in the cargo of a shipping container. In a February 2006 
report to the Committees on Appropriations of the U.S. Senate and House 
of Representatives, DNDO presented its Expenditure Plan for fiscal 
years 2006 through 2010. This plan echoed the need for testing, stating 
that to fulfill its missions it would, among other things, 

* describe and analyze the performance of different types of radiation 
detection equipment, such as portal monitors, before deploying them; 

* develop and use sound, quantitative assessments of different types of 
radiation detection equipment that it deploys; 

* stress the use of both laboratory-controlled testing and operational 
field testing of portal monitors and other radiation detection 
equipment; and: 

* develop a comprehensive database that describes currently deployed 
radiation detection equipment as well as equipment planned for 
deployment in the near future.[Footnote 2] 

DNDO's Expenditure Plan also stated that the office would begin 
developing and purchasing ASPs in order to replace the PVT portal 
monitors currently used by CBP. DNDO contends that the intended ability 
of ASPs to detect and identify smuggled radiological or nuclear 
materials would represent an increase in capability over PVTs. To 
implement this plan, in May 2006, DNDO completed a cost-benefit 
analysis that supported its decision to begin deploying ASPs at 
domestic seaports with high volumes of cargo and traffic. In July 2006, 
DHS announced that it had awarded 5-year contracts, totaling $1.2 
billion, to three companies to produce ASPs. In October 2006, we 
reported that DNDO's cost-benefit analysis suffered from several 
methodological flaws and did not provide a sound basis for DNDO's 
decision to purchase ASPs.[Footnote 3] Among other things, we reported 
that DNDO did not use actual test data on ASP performance but instead 
assumed that ASPs in the future will be able to meet DNDO's long-range 
goal of being able to detect highly enriched uranium 95 percent of the 
time. In addition, although DNDO also tested PVTs at the same time it 
tested ASPs, it did not analyze the data gathered from these tests. 

Furthermore, according to DNDO's Expenditure Plan, DNDO expects to rely 
heavily on the participation of state and local agencies to help 
protect the interior of the nation from a radiological or nuclear 
attack. In this regard, DNDO plans to support these agencies' efforts 
to develop radiation detection and interdiction capabilities. For 
example, DNDO plans include working with state and local agencies to, 
among other things, deploy fixed and mobile radiation detection systems 
to help defend major, high-risk cities. As part of DNDO's Securing the 
Cities Initiative, it plans to identify a limited number of high-risk 
regions, then provide these regions with federally owned radiation 
detection equipment along with related training and other support 
packages. DNDO expects that state and local agencies will eventually 
purchase their own equipment and assume increasingly greater 
responsibilities in radiation detection efforts within their borders. 

Given DNDO's goal of replacing PVT portal monitors with much more 
expensive ASPs, it is important for DNDO to fully understand the 
relative advantages and disadvantages of PVTs and ASPs before making 
the multibillion dollar investment that would be necessary to implement 
its current plan. Further, in light of the important role that DNDO 
foresees for state and local governments in radiation detection, it is 
also important that DNDO communicate this understanding to its state 
and local partners. Our October 2006 report concluded that DNDO's 
assessment of ASPs did not fully support DNDO's decision to purchase 
and deploy them. This report examines whether DNDO has fully collected 
and maintained all existing tests on PVTs in order to fully assess 
their advantages and limitations. To that end, we agreed with your 
offices to examine the extent to which DNDO has (1) compiled previous 
test results from the national laboratories on commercially available 
portal monitors, and (2) provided state and local authorities with 
information on the technical performance characteristics and operation 
of radiation detection equipment. 

To conduct our review, we gathered data on DNDO's testing efforts, and 
visited existing testing facilities. To assess the extent to which DNDO 
has collected previous test results from national laboratories on 
portal monitors, we began by obtaining a list, originally provided to 
GAO by DHS and Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), of 14 commercial, 
off-the-shelf, radiation portal monitors that were available for 
purchase as of January 2006. We then submitted this list to the 
national laboratories and asked each laboratory to identify, among 
other things, which of these portal monitors they had tested, when the 
testing occurred, and what agency sponsored the test.[Footnote 4] 
During this process, the laboratories noted 15 additional commercially 
available models of PVT portal monitors that we later included on our 
list.[Footnote 5] We also reviewed test reports for portal monitors 
produced by the National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST). In 
addition, we had discussions with officials from DNDO; the Department 
of Defense; CBP; NIST; the National Nuclear Security Administration; 
and several DOE national laboratories, including BNL, LANL, ORNL, SNL, 
and PNNL.[Footnote 6] 

To gain the perspectives of state governments that have participated in 
DNDO's nuclear detection working groups, we obtained a list from DNDO 
of the states attending one of these working group meetings, then we 
contacted officials from each of the 17 states and the District of 
Columbia that attended one of DNDO's working group meetings.[Footnote 
7] We also visited DHS' NTS in Nevada, the Radiation Detector Test and 
Evaluation Center (RADTEC) testing facility at BNL, PNNL's testing 
facilities in Washington State, SNL's testing facilities in New Mexico, 
and DOD's Technical Evaluation Assessment Monitor Site (TEAMS) in New 
Mexico. We conducted our review from November 2005 through January 2007 
in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. 

Summary: 

DNDO has not yet collected a comprehensive inventory of testing 
information on commercially available PVT portal monitors. Such 
information--if collected and used--could improve DNDO's understanding 
of how well portal monitors detect different radiological and nuclear 
materials under varying conditions. In turn, this understanding would 
assist DNDO's future testing, development, deployment, and purchases of 
portal monitors. In response to our request for information, DNDO 
provided us with test reports from only 11 of at least 54 tests on 
commercially available portal monitors completed by DOE's national 
laboratories since September 11, 2001.[Footnote 8] However, when we 
later presented DNDO with our initial findings, DNDO's Director of 
Assessments told us that she personally has access to the vast majority 
of test reports completed by the national laboratories. She added that 
DNDO is in the process of planning how to develop a database with this 
type of information so that the information will be more widely 
available to others in DNDO. Radiation detection experts with the 
national laboratories and industry told us that, in their view, DNDO 
should collect and maintain all the national laboratory test reports on 
commercially available portal monitors because these reports provide a 
comprehensive inventory of how well portal monitors detect a wide 
variety of radiological and nuclear materials and how environmental 
conditions and other factors may affect performance. 

DNDO is improving its efforts to provide technical and operational 
information about radiation portal monitors to state and local 
authorities. For example, DNDO recently helped to establish a Web site 
that, among other things, includes information for state and local 
officials on radiation detection equipment products and performance 
requirements. However, some state representatives with whom we spoke, 
particularly those from states with less experience conducting 
radiation detection programs, would like to see DNDO provide more 
prescriptive advice on what types of radiation detection equipment to 
deploy and how to use it. 

Background: 

As of October 2006, which is the most recent date for which complete 
data are available, DNDO and CBP had installed 912 portal monitors at 
the nation's points of entry. All of the portal monitors are PVTs. 
According to senior DNDO officials, DHS plans to deploy at ports of 
entry this year 60 of the 80 ASPs that it has purchased with fiscal 
year 2006 funds. DNDO plans to use the remaining 20 ASPs for further 
testing or refurbishment after it has completed its tests on ASPs this 
year. Ultimately, DHS plans to deploy about 3,000 portal monitors at 
the nation's points of entry by September 2009. However, as we reported 
in March 2006, CBP's deployment of portal monitors is behind schedule, 
and it appears unlikely that CBP will be able to reach its deployment 
goal on schedule.[Footnote 9] 

DHS Has Not Yet Collected Most of the Test Data Available from the 
National Laboratories on the Performance Capabilities of Radiation 
Detection Portal Monitors: 

DNDO does not systematically collect the test results produced by the 
national laboratories on radiation detection portal monitors in support 
of DNDO's testing and development program. In response to our request 
for data, DNDO could provide us with only 11 of at least 54 test 
reports completed by the national laboratories on PVT portal monitors 
since September 11, 2001. These 54 test reports contain information 
that, in our view, could help DNDO fully evaluate PVT's capabilities 
and thus help guide its future testing, development, deployment, and 
acquisitions of portal monitors. DNDO could not provide us with the 
test reports other than those provided to them by BNL despite the fact 
that the majority of the tests were sponsored by offices within 
DHS.[Footnote 10] Our findings are consistent with those of the DOE 
Office of Inspector General, which reported in February 2006 that 
neither DHS nor DOE could provide it with a complete inventory of the 
national laboratories' relevant research on nuclear and radiation 
detection.[Footnote 11] It is important to note that DNDO's fiscal 
years 2006--2010 Expenditure Plan states that DNDO will develop a 
"comprehensive database" of current and future portal 
monitors.[Footnote 12] 

During the course of our review, DNDO officials told us that prior 
results on commercially available portal monitors do not remain 
relevant over time because the technology, in particular the software 
that converts the information detected by the portal monitor into 
meaningful data, changes often and significantly. However, officials 
with six private companies that manufacture commercially available 
portal monitors told us that, when they change the name or model number 
of their portal monitors, it typically does not mean that the software 
has significantly changed. For example, an official from one company 
told us that its model numbers represent different settings at which 
the portal monitor would sound an alarm when it detects the presence of 
radiation, as suggested by DNDO. However, the devices themselves were 
the same. The manufacturer had not changed either the portal monitor's 
hardware or software. 

However, after a meeting on January 24, 2006, when we presented DNDO 
with our initial findings, DNDO's Director of Assessments told us that 
she has access to the vast majority of the national laboratories' test 
results on commercially available portal monitors. She added that DNDO 
was in the process of planning how to develop a database that would 
contain this type of information. DNDO told us it was planning to build 
this database because there is currently no central repository of test 
results that can be used by other analysts within DNDO on a need-to- 
know basis. According to senior DNDO officials, DNDO hired a new branch 
chief in November 2006 who will be responsible for, among other things, 
leading DNDO's establishment of a test data and report archive. 

Radiation detection experts with the national laboratories told us 
that, in their view, DNDO should collect and maintain data on previous 
testing performed on portal monitors. In this way, DNDO could have a 
baseline inventory of how PVTs perform on a multitude of factors such 
as environmental conditions, the type of radiological or nuclear 
material to be detected, the best alarm setting for the PVT, the 
background level of radiation, and the quantity of benign radiological 
materials such as kitty litter or ceramic tiles that can be used to 
"mask" the presence of more dangerous radiological or nuclear materials 
in a container. 

In addition, by maintaining test results, DNDO would have a full record 
to determine how much and in what ways portal monitor technology has 
improved over time, which can be critical to selecting what type of 
portal monitor to further develop or purchase. Even if the results from 
a series of tests show that no portal monitor yet meets DNDO's 
performance standards, maintaining previous test results can show what 
portal monitors are making the most progress towards those standards. 
Further, tests on portal monitors should differ depending on how the 
portal monitor will be used. For example, if CBP decided to deploy a 
particular portal monitor for use in primary cargo screenings, some of 
the relevant tests would be different than if CBP wanted to use the 
same portal monitors for secondary screenings (additional scans after 
the primary screening has sounded an alarm). Maintaining a full record 
of previous test results would help ensure that CBP and DNDO, before 
choosing or deploying a particular portal monitor, would have the 
correct type of tests corresponding to the specific way in which the 
portal monitor will be used. Finally, the DOE's Inspector General noted 
in February 2006 that maintaining a central inventory of testing 
information would assist DHS and DOE in coordinating radiation 
detection research across national laboratories and, among other 
things, reducing the chances for unnecessarily duplicative 
efforts.[Footnote 13] 

DNDO Has Improved Its Efforts to Provide State Authorities with Basic 
Performance Information and Other Forms of Assistance about Radiation 
Portal Monitors, but Some States Need Further Support: 

DNDO has started a number of initiatives to provide state and local 
governments with technical and operational information, training, and 
financial assistance on radiation portal monitors. For example, DNDO, 
in cooperation with DHS's Office of Grants and Training, recently 
unveiled the Responder Knowledge Base. This is a Web-based database 
that contains information on commercially available radiation detection 
equipment products, performance standards, and test results. According 
to DNDO officials, the main purpose of the Responder Knowledge Base is 
to provide state and local officials with information to help them 
evaluate radiation detection equipment and also help guide their 
purchases of this equipment. In addition, last year DNDO created a 
working group comprised of federal, state, and local radiation 
detection program officials. These officials meet periodically to 
exchange information and develop protocols on their radiation detection 
programs. According to DNDO and state officials, this group met in 
January, June, and October 2006. 

To further assist states and localities in their radiation detection 
efforts, DNDO has begun training state and local officials on how to 
operate radiation detection equipment. For example, state officials may 
attend 2-day training courses for law enforcement officials at DHS's 
Counter Terrorism Operation Support facility at NTS. Moreover, DNDO has 
worked to get DHS to provide grants to state and local governments to, 
among other things, fund their radiation detection efforts. For 
instance, in September 2006 DHS issued grants totaling $3.2 million to 
states such as Kentucky and South Carolina to invest in fixed, mobile, 
and handheld radiation detection equipment at interstate truck weigh 
stations. While DHS provides some information to states and localities 
on radiation detection equipment, officials from some states told us 
that DHS has not sought much input from them on what types of 
information they find most useful or valuable. 

We contacted all 18 state and local entities that participated in one 
of DNDO's sponsored meetings. Of these 18 entities, 15 responded to our 
requests for information. Although our discussions with officials from 
all 15 entities indicated they supported DNDO's initiatives and 4 of 
the 15 entities were interested in getting additional training from 
DNDO, officials from 8 states and the District of Columbia told us they 
would benefit from having more direct guidance to assist them in making 
purchasing decisions. According to officials from these 9 entities, 
they could use DNDO's input to help overcome their lack of experience 
and technical expertise. For example, one state official told us that 
her state has been purchasing older radiation detection equipment 
specifically because it had limited knowledge about new, commercially 
available equipment and it could not obtain recommendations from DNDO 
on which devices to use. 

In response, DNDO maintains that federal regulation prohibits it from 
recommending to state and local officials portal monitors that are made 
and sold by specific manufacturers.[Footnote 14] According to senior 
DNDO officials, DNDO's goal for the Responder Knowledge Base is to 
provide state and local officials with available performance 
information on radiation detection systems that they have tested 
without recommending specific products, which could be construed as an 
inappropriate endorsement. Despite this limitation, DNDO officials told 
us that they are readily available to answer specific technical and 
performance questions involving equipment tested by DNDO. 

Conclusions: 

DNDO told us that it is in the process of planning how to develop a 
comprehensive database on commercially available PVT portal monitors. 
We believe this is a step in the right direction. In our view, until 
DNDO compiles these data, it will be missing a significant tool that 
adds to the nation's efforts to thwart nuclear smuggling. Until DNDO 
develops and completes this database--one that includes both test 
results and data derived from operations in the field--it is losing 
opportunities to better understand how these portal monitors perform. 
We agree with several radiation detection experts who told us that 
these data will provide DNDO with guidance on how portal monitors vary 
in performance under different conditions and according to how they are 
used. This, in turn, will help DNDO develop better systems and make 
smarter procurement and deployment decisions. Furthermore, as pointed 
out by DOE's Inspector General, these data would assist DHS's and DOE's 
efforts to reduce duplicative testing. Finally, if DNDO maintains more 
comprehensive data on PVTs, state and local governments could use this 
information to make more informed purchases of portal monitors. We 
believe that, if DNDO develops and maintains close working 
relationships with its state partners, it may be able to tailor these 
data to meet state needs and capabilities. 

Recommendations for Executive Action: 

In order to ensure that the nation maintains a comprehensive source of 
information on the characteristics and performance of PVT portal 
monitors and to further the ability of state and local governments to 
make informed judgments about their radiation detection needs and 
future equipment purchases, we recommend that the Secretary of Homeland 
Security, working with the Director, DNDO, take the following three 
actions: 

* collect and maintain reports concerning all of the testing performed 
by the U.S. national laboratories, 

* review the test reports in order to develop an information database 
on how PVTs perform in both laboratory and field tests on a variety of 
indicators such as their ability to detect specific radiological and 
nuclear materials or how they are affected by different levels of 
background environmental radiation, and: 

* confer with state and local officials on what information they would 
find useful and how that information could be best presented to them. 

Agency Comments and Our Evaluation: 

We provided DHS with a draft of this report for its review and comment. 
Its written comments are presented in enclosure 1. The department 
generally concurred with the recommendations presented. In addition, 
DHS offered some clarifications regarding its ability to obtain portal 
monitor testing results from other agencies, its archive of portal 
monitor test reports, and its efforts to help assist states and 
localities developing in their radiation detection capabilities. 

DHS concurred with our recommendation to collect and maintain reports 
from all portal monitor testing performed by the national laboratories, 
but noted that it has no direct authority to obtain test reports and 
data for programs that were not sponsored by DHS. However, as we 
explain in our report, over half of the national laboratory tests we 
identified were sponsored by parts of DHS, specifically CBP, DHS's 
Science and Technology Directorate, or DNDO. We support DNDO's future 
efforts to collect information from the national laboratories as part 
of its cooperative information sharing with the Department of Energy. 

DHS also stated that we misinterpreted the comments of DNDO officials 
concerning the 11 test reports--specifically, that the 11 test reports 
represented all the reports DNDO had in its collection. In response, we 
believe that there was no misinterpretation and that we described the 
situation accurately. During the course of our review, we asked DNDO to 
provide us with the results it had compiled from tests performed by the 
national laboratories on commercially available portal monitors. In 
response, DNDO provided us with the 11 test reports. We subsequently 
asked DNDO if it had additional test reports in its collection that it 
could provide to us. However, DNDO did not provide us any additional 
reports. 

DHS also concurred with our recommendation that it confer with state 
and local officials regarding their information needs, pointing out a 
number of ongoing efforts to disseminate information. These include: 
meeting with its stakeholder group comprised of representatives from 22 
states, offering help at establishing standards, providing test 
reports, developing response protocols, providing detection training, 
and facilitating access to federal experts for alarm adjudication, 
analysis, and nuclear detection-related information and intelligence. 
DNDO also identified efforts at establishing a qualified equipment 
list, threat-based standards in response to the SAFE Port Act, and a 
fee-for-service test process to widen the available market for testing 
detection systems. 

We are sending copies of this report to interested congressional 
committees and members, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and other 
interested parties. We will also make copies available to others on 
request. In addition, this correspondence will be available at no 
charge on GAO's Web site at http://www.gao.gov. 

Should you or your staff have any questions, please contact me at (202) 
512-3841 or by e-mail at aloisee@gao.gov. Contact points for our Office 
of Congressional Relations and Public Affairs may be found on the last 
page of this correspondence. Key contributors to this report include 
Julie Chamberlain, Leland Cogliani, Eugene Gray, Diane Raynes, Jim 
Shafer, Daren Sweeney, and Eugene Wisnoski. 

Signed by; 

Gene Aloise: 
Director, Natural Resources and Environment: 

List of Requesters: 

The Honorable Carl Levin: 
Chairman: 
Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations: 
Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs: 
United States Senate: 

The Honorable Susan M. Collins: 
Ranking Member: 
Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs: 
United States Senate: 

The Honorable Norm Coleman: 
Ranking Member: 
Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations: 
Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs: 
United States Senate: 

The Honorable John D. Dingell: 
Chairman: 
Committee on Energy and Commerce: 
House of Representatives: 

The Honorable James R. Langevin: 
Chairman: 
Subcommittee on Emerging Threats, Cybersecurity, and Science and 
Technology: 
Committee on Homeland Security: 
House of Representatives: 

The Honorable Michael T. McCaul: 
Ranking Member: 
Subcommittee on Emerging Threats, Cybersecurity, and Science and 
Technology: 
Committee on Homeland Security: 
House of Representatives: 

The Honorable John Linder: 
House of Representatives: 

[End of section] 

Enclosure: Comments from the Department of Homeland Security: 

U.S. Department of Homeland Security: 
Washington, DC 20528: 

February 26, 2007: 

Mr. Gene Aloise Director: 
Natural Resources and Environment: 
U.S. Government Accountability Office: 
441 G Street, NW: 
Washington, DC 20548: 

Dear Mr. Aloise: 

Thank you for the opportunity to review and comment on the Government 
Accountability Office's (GAO's) draft report GAO-07-347R entitled 
Combating Nuclear Smuggling: DNDO Has Not Yet Collected Most of the 
National Laboratories' Test Results on Radiation Portal Monitors in 
Support of DNDO's Testing and Development Program. 

The Department's Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) generally 
concurs with the recommendations made in this report: 

* Collect and maintain reports from all of the testing performed by the 
U.S. National Laboratories; 

* Review the test reports in order to develop an information database 
on how polyvinyl toluene portal monitors (PVTs) perform on a variety of 
indicators such as their ability to detect specific radiological and 
nuclear materials or how they are affected by different levels of 
background environmental radiation; and: 

* Confer with state and local officials on what information they would 
find useful and how that information could be best presented to them. 

However, we would like to clarify that DNDO has and will continue to 
collect and maintain reports on radiation detector tests as a condition 
of cooperative information sharing with the U.S. National Laboratories 
in collaboration with the Department of Energy (DOE). DNDO has no 
direct authority to obtain test reports and data for programs that were 
not sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). 
Nonetheless, our cooperative working relationship with DOE has allowed 
DNDO to acquire multiple test reports, including several supplied by 
the National Laboratories. We verified that the 11 test reports cited 
by your office were in our archives, but this was unfortunately 
misinterpreted as the extent of reports in our possession. 

DNDO continues to move forward in establishing a test data and reports 
archiving system that will be accessible to official personnel with a 
verifiable need to know. Once assembled, the archival system will 
supplement DNDO's use of test results to inform our decisions with 
regard to PVT development and deployment. 

The report also recommended that DNDO provide further assistance to 
some states. We strongly agree with this statement, as the DNDO feels 
that bolstering preventive rad/nuc detection capabilities within the 
domestic interior is an essential part of our Nation's defense. DNDO 
continues to meet on a regular basis with its state and local 
stakeholder group comprised of representatives from over 22 States. 
This group provides critical insight into the needs of our state and 
local partners as we develop our domestic support programs and expand 
detection capabilities. 

DNDO is offering a wide array of services to the state and local 
community, including: helping establish standards, providing test 
reports, developing response protocols, providing preventive rad/nuc 
detection training, as well as exercise support and operational drills 
to ensure that state and local authorities are able to effectively 
detect and respond to potential threats. We are also facilitating state 
and local access to a full array of the technical support 
infrastructure to ensure that Federal experts are available to support 
prompt alarm adjudication, provide effective analysis, and disseminate 
nuclear detection-related information and intelligence. 

DNDO will continue to provide information about the technical 
capabilities and performance of equipment to the state and local 
community. We are in the process of establishing a qualified equipment 
list, threat-based standards in response to the SAFE Port Act, and a 
fee for service test process to widen the available market for 
detection systems testing. DNDO remains committed to proactive 
dissemination of information to our state and local counterparts. 

Finally, we would like to make clear that DNDO has conducted a variety 
of tests on radiation portal monitors as a part of our overall research 
and development process. Each test series has a specific purpose that 
should be accurately reported. Specifically, DNDO previously conducted 
tests at the Nevada Test Site (NTS) to help down-select vendors. Our 
ongoing test series (February 2007) is conducting performance testing 
of Advanced Spectroscopic Portal (ASP) systems. The results of this 
test series will support the Secretary's certification of our next- 
generation technologies, enabling a full-scale production decision and 
eventual introduction of ASPs into the field by spring 2007. 

Thank you again for the opportunity to comment on this draft report and 
we look forward to working with you on future homeland security issues. 

Sincerely, 

Signed by: 

Steven J. Pecinovsky: 
Director: 
Departmental GAO/OIG Liaison Office: 

[End of section] 

(360641): 

FOOTNOTES 

[1] Although DNDO was originally created in April 2005 by National 
Security Presidential Directive-43/ Homeland Security Presidential 
Directive-14, the office was formally established in October 2006 by 
Section 501 of the SAFE Port Act. 

[2] See DNDO, Domestic Nuclear Detection Office: FY 2006--2010 
Expenditure Plan (Washington, D.C., February 2006), p. 27. The task of 
developing the performance database was part of DNDO's competitively- 
awarded Systems Engineering Support Program contract that DNDO awarded 
in August 2005. DNDO identified other tasks within this contract, 
including the development of requirements for its Cargo Advanced 
Automated Radiography System (CAARS) and modeling of different portal 
monitor deployment scenarios. In September 2006, DNDO awarded a $1.3 
billion contract for the procurement of CAARS. 

[3] See GAO, Combating Nuclear Smuggling: DHS's Cost-Benefit Analysis 
to Support the Purchase of New Radiation Detection Portal Monitors Was 
Not Based on Available Performance Data and Did Not Fully Evaluate All 
the Monitors' Costs and Benefits, GAO-07-133R (Washington, D.C.: Oct. 
17, 2006). 

[4] Because several of the portal monitors were tested by more than one 
laboratory, the number of tests exceeds the number of portal monitors 
on our list. 

[5] One of the commercially available portal monitors on our list was 
an ASP, not a PVT. However, for ease of discussion, we use the term 
commercially available portal monitors to mean PVT portal monitors. 

[6] The National Nuclear Security Administration is a separately 
organized agency within DOE that was created by the National Defense 
Authorization Act for fiscal year 2000 with responsibility for the 
nation's nuclear weapons, nonproliferatrion, and naval reactors 
programs. Pub. L. No. 106-65 (1999). 

[7] The stakeholders we contacted include representatives from the 
following state and local entities: California, Colorado, Connecticut, 
District of Columbia, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, 
New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, 
Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. 

[8] Our estimate of 54 test reports is conservative. In cases in which 
a laboratory tested two models of PVTs that were manufactured by the 
same company and had virtually the same model number (e.g., 4550-V and 
4550-R), we counted this as one test rather than two tests. We did this 
because, according to a manufacturer with whom we spoke, similar model 
numbers for two PVTs indicate that the two PVTs are virtually the same. 

[9] See GAO, Combating Nuclear Smuggling: DHS Has Made Progress 
Deploying Radiation Detection Equipment at U.S. Ports-of-Entry, but 
Concerns Remain, GAO-06-389 (Washington, D.C.: Mar. 22, 2006). 

[10] DHS offices sponsoring the research were CBP, DNDO, and the 
Science & Technology Directorate. 

[11] See DOE Office of Inspector General, Audit Report: Nuclear 
Detection Devices, DOE/IG-0720 (Washington, D.C.: February 2006). 

[12] In response to our findings, a DNDO official told us that the 
"comprehensive database describing currently deployed radiation 
detection systems and those planned for near-term domestic deployment" 
mentioned in DNDO's Expenditure Plan referred to operational data 
culled from the portal monitors that CBP has already deployed, not test 
data. However, DNDO's Expenditure Plan never makes this distinction. 

[13] See DOE Office of Inspector General, Audit Report: Nuclear 
Detection Devices, DOE/IG-0720 (Washington, D.C.: February 2006). In 
addition, it is important to note that, in some instances, DHS may want 
separate national laboratories to perform duplicative tests as a method 
to confirm the accuracy of test results. 

[14] See 5 C.F.R.  2635.702. 

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