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A successful terrorist attack on Department of Energy (DOE) sites containing the material used in nuclear weapons, called special nuclear material, could have devastating consequences for the site and its surrounding communities. Because of these risks, DOE needs an effective safeguards and security program. A key component of an effective program is the design basis threat (DBT), a classified document that identifies, among other things, the potential size and capabilities of terrorist forces. The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, rendered the then-current DBT obsolete resulting in DOE issuing a new version in May 2003. GAO examined the issues that could impede the ability of DOE's Office of Energy, Science and Environment to fully meet the threat contained in the May 2003 DBT by the department's fiscal year 2006 deadline.

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