NNSS News (July - September 2021)

Nevada National Security Site releases 2020 environmental report

NNSS environmental report

The Nevada National Security Site (NNSS) released its annual environmental report for 2020, now available online at http://www.nnss.gov/pages/resources/library/NNSSER.html.

The 2020 NNSS Environmental Report provides the results of environmental monitoring and compliance related to all programs and activities conducted in and around the NNSS to protect the environment and the public.

“The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Nevada Field Office (NFO) presents this environmental report to summarize actions taken in 2020 to protect the environment and the public while achieving our mission goals,” said NNSA/NFO Manager Dr. David Bowman. “This report is a key component in our efforts to keep the public informed of environmental conditions at the NNSS and its support facilities in Las Vegas.”

Contents in the report include status and activities for environmental compliance and stewardship, radiological monitoring of groundwater and air, endangered species protection, cultural resources, outreach and more.

BeyondZero in the community: Vegas Chamber honors JD Daniels

JD Daniels award
Chris Crooks, left, chair of the Vegas Chamber Military Affairs Committee, presents JD Daniels, MSTS Deputy Director of Security and Emergency Services, with the inaugural award named in his honor, the JD Daniels Non-Profit Award. Photo by Inbal Simhayoff, courtesy of the Vegas Chamber

When the Vegas Chamber Military Affairs Committee (MAC) recently held its fourth annual MAC Night Out, this year’s event included a surprise twist—a new award named in honor of JD Daniels, Mission Support and Test Services, LLC (MSTS) Deputy Director of Security and Emergency Services.

MAC Night Out was established by the Vegas Chamber and the MAC to celebrate annual award winners from Nellis and Creech Air Force Bases and to connect award sponsors with the winners, their leadership and their families. Daniels, former chair and current member of the MAC, has been instrumental in the Las Vegas community in demonstrating appreciation for military members and their loved ones, including establishing MAC Night Out five years ago.

Daniels’ support of veterans and his leadership in the community inspired the MAC to establish the JD Daniels Non-Profit Award, which was presented to him during the event on Sept. 7. Beginning next year, the annual award will recognize a charitable organization providing incredible support to veterans, their spouses and their families.

“JD has such a passion for his volunteer efforts with the Military Affairs Committee and other community support activities,” said Anthony Mendez, Director of Security and Emergency Services at NNSS. “He pours his heart and soul into these events and is a true asset to this entire region. I have seen this same passion reflected in the leadership he exudes. He truly embodies what our BeyondZero Culture of Caring is all about.”

Air Force award presented by MSTS
Kevin James, MSTS Business Specialist and Air Force veteran; Bart Jones, MSTS Senior Director of Global Security; Air Force Master Sgt. Jeremy Cunningham, recipient of the Nellis Air Force Base Senior Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year Award; JD Daniels, MSTS Deputy Director of Security and Emergency Services; Cynthia Ellis, MSTS Emergency Response Specialist and Air Force veteran; and Ken Snyder, MSTS Operations Command Center Manager and Air Force veteran.

Daniels said the award took him by surprise. “I am very grateful to the MAC and the Vegas Chamber for this distinguished honor. It is very special to me and I look forward to participating in this incredible event each year.”

Since established five years ago, the event has grown to more than 200 participants. Honorees now include a business that has greatly supported veterans in the Las Vegas community. Last year’s event was canceled due to COVID-19.

“I have always felt it was very important to recognize these incredible men and women serving in our armed forces,” Daniels said. “We must provide the recognition they deserve for serving our country and our Las Vegas community.”

MSTS has been a key sponsor of MAC Night Out since its inception. Bart Jones, MSTS Senior Director of Global Security, also attended and presented the Nellis Air Force Base Senior Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year Award to Air Force Master Sgt. Jeremy Cunningham. MSTS employees and Air Force veterans Kevin James, Ken Snyder and Cynthia Ellis also attended the event to recognize Cunningham and the other award winners for their accomplishments.

MSTS is the managing and operating contractor for the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS) and satellite facilities of the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Nevada Field Office. The MSTS BeyondZero Culture of Caring is our safety culture that fosters a positive environment of well-being, safekeeping and opportunity for all employees.

NNSS concludes third annual Student Program

Connie Mi working alongside her mentor David Schwellenbach.
Connie Mi (right) working alongside her mentor David Schwellenbach.

The U.S. Department of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration’s Nevada National Security Site (NNSS) hosted more than 40 students from all across the U.S., either virtually or in-person, for its 2021 summer Student Program. While nearly half of the students attend the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) and University of Nevada, Reno, many are studying at other outstanding institutions, including Brigham Young University, the University of Arizona, Arizona State University, Rutgers, Kansas State University, Texas A&M, the University of California, Berkeley and more.

One requirement of the Student Program is that participants deliver a presentation on one of their completed projects to the managers, directors and senior director for their assigned directorate. Each directorate then chooses a student to give their presentation to the Senior Leadership Team (SLT). Students presenting to the SLT this year were Connie Mi, Nicole Castro, Christopher Tsuchiyama, Kim Gonzalez, Cecil “Lamarr” Gill, Portia Blackert and Madisen Yoder.

Connie Mi, an engineering math and statistics double major at the University of California, Berkeley, worked in Stockpile Experimentation and Operations to create algorithms to correct electron beam drifts. Mi’s internship allowed her the opportunity to actively participate in each step of the engineering design process from data collection to testing her written code. Through these steps, Mi gained a greater understanding of how engineers problem-solve and deliver solutions from start to finish.

Nicole Castro, a human resource management major at Western Governor’s University, spent her summer interning in the Compensation, Benefits and Talent Acquisition departments within Human Resources (HR). Over the course the summer, her internship allowed her to be part of the entire recruiting and employee life cycle. She was able to understand the ways in which HR works in unison with other departments to provide results and achieve common goals for new hires and active employees.

Stone Wachs, a mechanical engineering student at UNLV, was gaining hands-on experience with the Material Studies and Diagnostic Research department.
Stone Wachs, a mechanical engineering student at UNLV, gained hands-on experience with the Material Studies and Diagnostic Research department.

“The NNSS has made a lasting impression on me,” Castro said. “Each and every day I felt supported and empowered not just by my team members but by every employee I came across. I am incredibly grateful for this experience and am excited for what the future holds.”

Madisen Yoder, an economics major at UNLV, returned to the NNSS for her third summer internship. This year, she interned with the Capital Line Items group. She created and implemented a management tool allowing managers to analyze schedule variances for the U1a Complex Enhancements Project (UCEP). She also performed cost transfers, produced monthly reports displaying the financial efficiency of UCEP and created work authorization documents.

“When I started my internship, I didn’t even know what project controls consisted of,” said Yoder. “Fast forward to now, and I am taking on various responsibilities and helping monitor the schedules and budgets of capital line item projects. I have strengthened my finance knowledge by applying some of the concepts I’ve learned in school while analyzing the financial data for UCEP. I have also learned how to operate new computer programs, which allows me to obtain necessary project controls data. A soft skill I have strengthened would be my virtual business communication skills. Interning in a new role amidst a global pandemic allowed me to navigate through the struggles of virtual communication.”

These three students, along with many others, will work part-time as casual employees during the school year to further grow in their professional endeavors.

For more information about the NNSS Student Program, visit: https://www.nnss.gov/pages/NFO/MSTSStudentPrograms.html or reach out to Student Program Coordinator Terri Shafer at shafertl@nv.doe.gov.

EM Nevada Program prepares for demolition and closure of two key facilities

An aerial view of the Engine Maintenance, Assembly, and Disassembly (EMAD) complex on the Nevada National Security Site. The EM Nevada Program is preparing for the upcoming demolition and closure of the EMAD and Test Cell C complexes.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Environmental Management (EM) Nevada Program and its environmental program services contractor, Navarro Research and Engineering, Inc., have initiated characterization and hazard reduction activities to prepare for upcoming demolition and closure work at two large, unique, and complex legacy nuclear facilities on the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS).

The facilities are the Engine Maintenance, Assembly, and Disassembly (EMAD) and Test Cell C (TCC) complexes, which have ties to historical nuclear propulsion rocket development and testing programs at the NNSS.

The characterization work being performed at EMAD and TCC is helping ensure future demolition and closure activities are conducted safely, securely, and successfully. Characterization is the process of identifying and analyzing contamination that could be hazardous to human health and the environment. Outlined in EM’s Strategic Vision for 2021-2031, the progress at EMAD and TCC represents the last major industrial-type facilities efforts identified in EM Nevada’s environmental remediation mission.

At EMAD, characterization and hazard reduction activities include the removal of light fixtures and electrical switches containing mercury, and excess chemicals containing hazardous components. Radiological control teams have finished sampling and characterization work to assess potential contamination for about 85 percent of the structures.

Test Cell C
An archive photo of the Test Cell C (TCC) complex at the Nevada National Security Site. The TCC and Engine Maintenance, Assembly, and Disassembly complexes are being prepared for demolition and closure.

Working with NNSS management and operations contractor Mission Support and Test Services, the EM Nevada Program and Navarro recently used unmanned drones to perform aerial observations and inspections of the structure. Kordt Engineering Group, an independent consultant, also conducted a structural analysis to ensure the cooling tower on the roof is stable and the interior of the facility is safe for access and entry by personnel.

Constructed in 1968 at a cost of more than $50 million, EMAD is a four-story building with 100,000 square feet of floor space that includes what was once the largest hot cell in the world. A hot cell is a heavily shielded concrete room that provided workers protection from radioactive material when the facility was in operation.

Characterization and hazard reduction activities continue at TCC as well. Four buildings comprising approximately 13,790 square feet of space remain at the TCC complex. In addition, there is some infrastructure slated for demolition and closure that was part of a cooling system used during testing. An elevated potable water tank and flare stack piping used for venting during testing also will be removed.

EMAD and TCC were part of the now inactive Nuclear Rocket Development Station (NRDS). The NRDS supported the development and testing of nuclear rocket engines from 1957 until 1973. This jointly administered effort between the Atomic Energy Commission, predecessor to DOE, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration was of such vital importance to U.S. interests at home and abroad that President John F. Kennedy toured the site in March of 1963.

The EM Nevada Program plans to initiate demolition at TCC and EMAD in 2022.

NNSS employee spotlight: Michael Corr helped fill mobile counterterrorism training gap with opening of CTOS New York Office

New York City skyline
New York City skyline

As America reflects on the events of Sept. 11, 2001, we not only remember the victims, but the heroes who responded to the terror attacks. Mike Corr is one of those heroes, who at the time of the attack, was a detective in the New York City Police Department (NYPD) Emergency Services Unit assigned to the FBI-NYPD Joint Terrorist Task Force.

With a career beginning in the mid-1970s, Corr is no stranger to catastrophes. He responded to many major disasters in the 10 years prior to 9/11, including serving on the search and rescue teams sent to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Hugo in 1989, the 1993 World Trade Center Bombing, the 1995 Oklahoma City Federal Building bombing, the U.S Embassy bombing in Nairobi, Kenya, in 1998 and the 2000 attack on USS Cole in Aden, Yemen.

The morning when the first plane crashed into the North tower at World Trade Center (WTC), Corr would have normally been in his office, just two blocks from the twin towers. A late shift the night before adjusted his normal schedule and, like many of us, Corr heard about the attacks simultaneously from co-workers, family members and headquarters. He did not watch from the sidelines and quickly sprang into action.

Corr arrived at Ground Zero shortly after the South tower fell and quickly began working leads in the FBI’s New York City office. The first 10 days after the attacks were grueling, emotionally draining work, as the number of rescuers who were missing relentlessly increased. He was at Ground Zero every day for a month that followed the attacks. Then, as the mission began its transition to a recovery operation, he spent less and less time at the site. Corr retired from the NYPD in 2002.

Corr became a full-time employee with Nevada National Security Site (NNSS) Counter Terrorism Operations Support (CTOS) when he opened the New York Office in 2003 to meet the rapidly growing demand for mobile training in the Northeastern United States. Through his experience in the nation’s response to the 9/11 attacks, Corr has helped shaped the evolution of the NNSS CTOS program with the development and growth of the Mobile Training Teams.

“There is no one more dedicated to his job and protecting his city than Michael Corr,” said Rhonda Hopkins, former Remote Sensing Laboratory duty manager.

CTOS develops and delivers onsite and online training for emergency responders. It prepares personnel to take immediate, decisive action to prevent or respond to terrorist use of radiological and nuclear WMDs, such as radiation dispersal devices and improvised nuclear devices at the NNSS.

“Training sessions were not designed to be mobile initially, but September 11 quadrupled requests for this specialized training, especially in the Northeastern region, hence the need for a New York office that can deliver cost effective mobile training in the region,” said Corr.

Mobile training sessions offered off-site have an advantage for increased class capacity in that 50-60 first responders can receive the training versus a handful traveling to the Site.

“The department prides itself on going above and beyond, working nights and weekends to provide this unique training to the nation’s first responders and being able to deliver the same high quality of training they would receive on site,” said Elsia Gorden, CTOS schedule coordinator.

More than 280,000 first responders have been trained since 9/11 through direct delivery of CTOS curriculum by U.S. Department of Homeland Security certified instructors, Train-the-Trainer programs and web-based training. A vital resource for this effort was the Secure the Cities program, established after 9/11 when it became abundantly clear there was a scarcity of the equipment for radiological missions in the country’s major metropolitan areas. The program purchases equipment for U.S. cities and conducts large training campaigns for the first responders.

Counterterrorism training at NNSS: preparing responders today for the threats of tomorrow

The T-1 training site at the NNSS
The T-1 training site at the NNSS

In the wake of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, a clear need crystalized to train responders in counterterrorism to prepare them for recovery efforts for possible future attacks. Thus, the National Domestic Preparedness Consortium created the Nevada National Security Site’s (NNSS) Counterterrorism Operations Support (CTOS) program. Its mission: to prepare emergency responders for every potential act of terrorism against the U.S.

Since that time, CTOS has become the nation’s premier training organization for radiological/nuclear prevention and response. More than 280,000 first responders have gained invaluable skills through CTOS’s training since September 11, 2001.

After 9/11, the courses evolved to focus on radiological/nuclear training. “The program was bombarded with demand,” said Elsia Gorden, CTOS schedule coordinator. As the nation reckoned with the attacks, registration for the specialized training tripled.

The program is taught by emergency responders and managers, law enforcement, radiological and nuclear subject matter experts, and personnel with extensive military experience. Program participants are typically federal, local, tribal and regional first responders from across the nation.

The NNSS offers one-of-a-kind, hands-on experience. “We help alleviate inherent fears that most [people] have when dealing with radiation,” said Latrelle Smith, CTOS principal training coordinator. “These students gain a higher sense of confidence with mitigating a radiological/nuclear incident.”

After 9/11, the 40-acre Radiological/Nuclear Weapons of Mass Destruction Exercise Site (T-1) at the NNSS was updated to simulate an American city attacked by terrorists using improvised nuclear devices or radiation dispersal devices. It is a scene out of an Armageddon-themed movie: The streets are strewn with crashed and damaged vehicles, its downtown area littered with damaged buses and cars. A contaminated restaurant and strip mall and an airliner debris field add to the realistic training experience.

T-1 is unlike any site in the U.S. as the ground soil emits a small amount of radiation remaining from four nuclear devices detonated between 1952 and 1957. The residual radiation poses minimal risk to participants while offering unique opportunities to learn techniques required in an actual incident. Each participant, donned in protective equipment, trains with radioactive material in a classroom setting and in scenario-based exercises.

Students receive an unparalleled training experience that taps into extensive radiological expertise within the NNSS. “Our week of training is unmatched when you consider the mix of lecture and hands-on training provided to the participants,” says Smith.

Looking back on 9/11: NNSS’ Special Technologies Laboratory’s assist in the rescue mission at WTC leads to greater role in National Security mission

Seven person team deployed with Ground Zero
Seven-person team deployed with Ground Zero

We watched from work, home, restaurants, and coffee shops. Wherever a television was turned on, we watched, frozen, with disbelief and horror as the deadliest terrorist attack to ever occur on American soil unfolded on live television. For many Americans, Tuesday, September 11, 2001, was a day that stood still. It is a day that forever changed our entire country.

As the nation grappled with the attack on the Pentagon, the crash of Flight 93 in Pennsylvania, and the collapse of the World Trade Center (WTC) twin towers, the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS) Special Technologies Laboratory (STL) called the Department of Energy (DOE) Headquarters to offer help. The search and rescue efforts at the WTC could benefit from their latest technology: Rescue Radar, a motion-sense radar that can detect very slight motions–such as breathing–through concrete or heavy rubble.

One of the very few aircraft flying that evening was a jet carrying STL personnel to New York City. With quick approvals from the DOE and FAA, and thanks to teamwork within the company, a seven-person STL team and their equipment arrived within hours at Ground Zero to assist in the rescue mission.

STL trained the Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team on how to setup and use the Rescue Radar equipment. From a small building a block from the still-smoldering WTC, the USAR team deployed the Rescue Radar for search and rescue, mostly below ground level, which was especially useful as the WTC had five subterranean floors.

“This was what the system was designed to do,” said Steve Koppenjan, STL senior principal engineer, who provided tech briefings to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and helped train USAR personnel.

Koppenjan distinctly remembers the experience of being at Ground Zero. “Nothing could prepare me for the shock of seeing the amount of destruction, even though I heard about the first plane on the radio seconds after it occurred and saw the second plane live on TV. Being there was much different than seeing it on TV.”

Deploying to Ground Zero was mind blowing, he said. Through that experience, Koppenjan became more focused on engineering systems for deployment by in-the-field users. “It made me recognize the fact that we at STL are very well-suited for quick response projects and expert technical support.”

As a result of STL’s 9/11 response, NNSS shifted resources to place greater emphasis on counterterrorism.

“For about the next 10 years [after 9/11], the type of projects from our sponsors changed as well. We began to move away from traditional research and development projects, and focus on rapid build and deliver projects. Security projects became the norm.”

Although STL was just a small part of the national effort to recover from 9/11, Koppenjan said NNSS made a significant contribution that day, and the days that followed. Counterterrorism efforts continue to play a large role in NNSS’ national security mission.

The bonds that tie us together

RSL aerial photo of ground zero
Aerial photo of Ground Zero

The sound of the pager buzzing. Repeated, frantic telephone calls to turn on the television. Scenes of terrorist attacks playing in a loop on every news station. Flights cancelled. The nation unified in disbelief. Many Americans have similar experiences about the morning of September 11, 2001.

As the nation began to understand the attack on our country, the FBI called upon the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS) Remote Sensing Laboratory (RSL) to provide technical support to the first responder communities.

RSL organized deployments to major metropolitan locations to provide operational radiation detection capabilities to federal law enforcement, primarily the FBI, the Secret Service and U.S. Coast Guard. RSL also provided support and training to state and local law enforcement, New York Police Department (NYPD), New Jersey State Police and Washington Metro Police.

With all aircraft in the U.S. grounded, RSL-Nellis was granted special permission to fly to New York to conduct aerial photography and multi-spectral mapping of Ground Zero. The multi-spectral mapping images provided first responders with heat map images of the World Trade Center (WTC). For instance, as materials were moved, oxygen would surge in and feed the fires burning in the underground parking garage. Such flare ups made recovery efforts even more dangerous for responders. RSL shared images with New York Fire Department so that fires could be extinguished.

RSL-Joint Base Andrews, then known as Andrews Air Force Base, was deployed as part of the Radiological Assistance Program (RAP) to assist the local Brookhaven, New York RAP Team. Together, they monitored debris for potential radiological sources that may have been in the buildings, presenting a danger to workers after the building collapse.

The Search Response Team, the third RSL-supported mission at the request of the FBI, built and operated seven vans with equipment to detect weapons of mass destruction in several major metropolitan areas to ensure no other cities were targeted.

“RSL has had the nuclear search mission since the 1970s,” said Rhonda Hopkins, who then was serving as the RSL duty manager. “The events of 9/11, while terrifying, were confirmation of the importance of that mission and affirmed that there are parties that exist in the world that seek to hurt the citizens of the U.S. We are here to do what we can using radiological science, engineering and operations to defeat such attempts.”

The Search Response Teams were initially sent to major metropolitan areas for a month-long deployment. Their mission evolved, keeping them on road for the next six months supporting various cities and events such as Mardi Gras, Super Bowl and New Year’s Eve.

The physical demands of working 12-hour shifts, seven days a week while maintaining a constant state of alertness took its toll, but Hopkins recalled how she and others coped. “We became a family with strong bonds during these strenuous situations.”

“This is our job. It’s what we signed up for and everyone went willingly,” she said, reflecting on how important these teams were to the NYPD and the nation’s response teams.

After the initial 9/11 response, the RSL staff continued to protect the nation by providing 24-hour, seven-day per week operations for almost two years in the Washington, D.C. and New York City areas. Today, RSL continues to support major events across the nation and collaborate with law enforcement and military units to help keep Americans safe.

EM Nevada Program contractor marks 3.5 million hours without a lost workday incident

Employees with Navarro Research & Engineering, the EM Nevada Program's environmental program services contractor, are shown at work at the Nevada National Security Site prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Navarro recently achieved 3.5 million hours without a lost workday due to a safety incident.
Employees with Navarro Research & Engineering, the EM Nevada Program's environmental program services contractor, are shown at work at the Nevada National Security Site prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Navarro recently achieved 3.5 million hours without a lost workday due to a safety incident.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Environmental Management (EM) Nevada Program recently recently reached a major milestone when its environmental program services contractor reached 3.5 million hours without a lost workday due to a safety incident. The period for Navarro Research & Engineering’s 3.5 million hours extends more than 16 years and multiple contracts and contract teaming partners. A lost workday is an occupational injury or illness that results in an employee being unfit for work following the incident.

“The successes in safety over multiple contracts can be attributed to consistent engagement of personnel at all levels in the organization in work planning and execution where hazards are identified and mitigated prior to and during project performance,” Navarro Environmental Safety and Health Manager Tom Bastian said.

The EM Nevada Program implements environmental corrective actions to address contamination resulting from historic nuclear testing at the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS) and surrounding Nevada Test and Training Range (NTTR).

EM’s mission in Nevada involves workplace hazards such as heavy machinery, radiological contamination, unexploded ordnances, work outdoors in excessive heat and extreme weather conditions, and slips, trips and falls that are a risk in every workplace.

Navarro employees who work at the NNSS and NTTR develop groundwater characterization wells, survey soils and industrial-type facilities for contamination, excavate land, and manage waste. Navarro adheres to DOE’s Integrated Safety Management System, which ensures safety is ingrained in management and work practices at all levels and stages of planning and execution.

In 2006, Navarro developed and implemented a safety leadership program as a corrective action and lesson learned derived from a previous lost workday incident. Safety leadership has become a model best practice, through which EM Nevada and Navarro personnel are regularly trained to understand safety culture expectations, think for themselves, consider consequences, and act with health and safety first and foremost in mind. Without exception, every day in the field starts off with both a daily operations call and a safety briefing, during which workers review procedures, acknowledge potential hazards, and address safety measures.

“Safety expectations are communicated with all personnel in safety leadership discussions, daily operation calls, and tailgate safety briefings. Safety issues or concerns are documented and addressed using a formal issues management system,” Bastian said. “These processes and employee commitment have been instrumental in the safe operations at EM Nevada.”

Another major component of EM Nevada’s safety culture is its experienced workforce. Many environmental program services contract employees have worked in various roles within the EM Nevada Program for decades. The unique hazards specific to their worksites are well known, and their experience gained over many years in the field helps prevent accidents.

Long careers spent working on EM Nevada Program missions have led to strong relationships between employees who have worked side by side for years. These relationships enable workers to recognize each other’s strengths and weaknesses, look out for one another, and respect each other’s instructions, cautions, and advice.

“Ultimately, a collaborative environment has been developed where workers take responsibility for their own safety as well as the safety of their co-workers, which has contributed greatly to EM Nevada and Navarro's exemplary safety record,” Bastian added.

NNSS hosts hand-selected cadets from DTRA

DTRA cadets
DTRA cadets at RSL-Nellis

The Nevada National Security Site (NNSS) recently hosted 10 cadets who were hand-selected from all services of the U.S. military to participate in the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) Nuclear Deterrence Military Cadet Program.

The annual DTRA Nuclear Deterrence Military Cadet Program is designed to familiarize cadets and midshipmen with the U.S. nuclear security enterprise through on-site visits with various Department of Defense (DoD) and Department of Energy organizations and facilities. The goal is to educate cadets and midshipmen about the origins and evolution of the U.S. nuclear deterrence policy, current strategic nuclear capability and U.S. nuclear weapons’ operations and supporting infrastructure.

“Our partnership with DTRA is invaluable, and we look forward to hosting these future military leaders each year,” said Dr. Craig Wuest, senior director of Mission Development. “It's one thing to have an awareness of the NNSS' role in our national security and nuclear deterrence, but it's a completely different experience to meet our people and see our work and programs first-hand.”

DTRA’s core functions for DoD include enabling strategic deterrence, supporting U.S. treaty implementation and verification, partnering to reduce global weapons of mass destruction threats, identifying vulnerabilities and mitigation strategies and developing and delivering rapid capabilities. However, the NNSS has worked with DTRA and its predecessor agencies for many decades, partnering on underground nuclear weapon effects tests and providing support for research and development of nuclear nonproliferation, nuclear arms control treaty monitoring and verification in support of on-site inspections.

DTRA cadets
DTRA cadets at RSL-Nellis

The NNSS first hosted the DTRA military cadets in 2018 at the NNSS Remote Sensing Laboratory-Andrews. In 2021, this select group participated in an exclusive three-week training program that provided them with access to laboratories and facilities across the nation, with the last stop being the NNSS—the Site itself as well as the NNSS Remote Sensing Laboratory-Nellis.

At the Site, they were able to see and meet some of the experts who developed—and continue to further develop—subcritical experiments. These interactions allowed the cadets to better understand the decades of previous testing and the importance of continuing to conduct research for ensuring the safety, security and reliability of our nuclear deterrence efforts and support to national security.

“We look for future generations to keep people understanding the nuclear enterprise,” said Donald Parman, coordinator for the DTRA Military Cadet Program. “The years of expertise and research cannot be forgotten. We must inform and educate the upcoming generations to further protect and develop the nation’s security.”

DTRA cadets
DTRA cadets at RSL-Nellis
DTRA cadets
DTRA cadets at RSL-Nellis
DTRA cadets
DTRA cadets visit the Site's Apple II house

NNSS' Joshua Zamzow awarded Contractor Security Manager of the Year

NNSA logo

The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Office of Defense Nuclear Security (NA-70) recently honored Joshua Zamzow, manager of the Nevada National Security Site’s (NNSS) Vulnerability Analysis and Risk Planning department, as its Contractor Security Manager of the Year.

Zamzow is well-known for his leadership with all things risk-related. After the Department of Energy (DOE) published the Design Basis Threat (DBT), a comprehensive threat policy that describes DOE assets and the vulnerability assessment and security risk assessment metrics that are used to assess the quality of physical protection programs, Zamzow led his team through the analysis for the NNSS and became the first site to complete the analysis for the DBT. However, this isn’t the only first for Zamzow, as he has also led the NNSS to be the first site to complete several unique assessments.

“We are thrilled Josh was recognized for his efforts and leadership during the implementation of the DBT,” said Anthony Mendez, director of Security and Emergency Services. “He not only led the NNSS through this transition to the new threat policy; he supported other sites in their implementation as well.”

Mendez continued, “Josh and his team were able to change the paradigm for how security analysis is conducted and integrated with site operations and emergency management. Josh is already well-known as a top expert and leader in his field, and it’s great to see NA-70 honoring him as well. We are proud to have him on the NNSS team!”

Zamzow is also a member of the U.S. Army National Guard and was recently activated to aid in security for the 59th Presidential Inauguration, as well as the safeguarding of the U.S. Capitol by leading as the senior Noncommissioned Officer in-charge for the team protecting the House of Representatives.