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Friday, May 7th, 2021

GAO: NSDD is addressing challenges, but more improvement needed

A U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report released on Saturday found that the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) nuclear smuggling detection and deterrence (NSDD) program is addressing challenges but should improve its overall plan.

The full GAO report examined NSDD’s plan for completing key activities and goals, selected partner countries’ use of NSDD-provided equipment to detect nuclear or radiological material, and additional NSDD challenges. NSAA’s NSDD program has partnered with 59 countries to provide equipment for detection and support.

The program has developed a plan that includes five-year goals to guide its efforts, but NSDD cannot measure its progress toward completing key goals because the program plan does not fully incorporate leading practices for program management. The practices include having measurable outcome-oriented goals, goals for all key activities, performance measures that align with stated goals, and details for how and when key activities will be completed.

The report also looked at Azerbaijan, Bulgaria and Georgia and their successful detection of hazardous materials using NSDD-provided equipment.

The GAO commissioned the report to study emerging nuclear and radiological threats to national security. According to the Department of Homeland Security, the earlier the U.S. is able to detect these hazardous materials, the greater the possibility of successfully deterring nuclear and radiological materials from ever entering the country.