DomesticPreparedness met with Vayl Oxford, Director, Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO), Department of Homeland Security to discuss his views on the Iranian and North Korean nuclear programs, the DNDO partnerships with state and local agencies, and a broad spectrum of forward-looking R&D programs and initiatives.

The First Year of DNDO

The continuing threat of nuclear or radiological terrorism in the light of this year’s crises over the Iranian and North Korean nuclear programs. An overview of DNDO program deployments, research and development (R&D) efforts, and partnerships at the state and local levels.

Specific Programs

Status reports on, among other programs and initiatives: the Advanced Spectroscopic Portal (ASP); the Cargo Advanced Automated Radiography System (CAARS); the Dulles radiation-detection pilot for air cargo upon arrival; handheld and backpack radiation-detection devices for Coast Guard use in maritime interdiction; the Southeast Transportation Corridor Pilot program to deploy radiation detectors to truck-weighing stations; and the Securing the Cities initiative for analytically based detection architectures. Also, DNDO support for state- and local-level training.

DNDO’s “Transformational Research and Development”

The three pillars of transformational R&D: the Exploratory Research Program, the Academic Research Program, and Advanced Technology Demonstrations (ATDs). DNDO’s first ATD, the Intelligent Personnel Radiation Locator. The Stand-off Detection ATD. The active strategic nuclear materials (SNM) verification ATD, and the long-dwell detection-in-transit ATD.

Overseas Deployment of Detection Technology

DNDO incorporation of the Megaports program and the Container Security Initiative (CSI) into development of the international segment of DNDO’s global detection architecture. DNDO’s Joint Analysis Center and its partnership with the Department of Energy (DOE), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and the Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTFs) for timely and uniform information sharing.  DNDO’s Integrated Container Inspection System (ICIS) and the linkage with the pilot project at the Hong Kong Modern Terminal.

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Vayl S. Oxford

Vayl S. Oxford is the national security executive policy advisor at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). Before joining PNNL, he spent a short time in private industry after 35 years of public service. His career highlights include serving at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from October 2003 to January 2009, where he held the positions of policy advisor to the undersecretary of science and technology, acting director of the Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency, and the first director of the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office. Before DHS, he served as the director for counterproliferation at the National Security Council and chaired the interagency working group for Operation Iraqi Freedom. From 1987 to January 2002, he held several positions within the Defense Threat Reduction Agency and its predecessor organizations (Defense Special Weapons Agency, Defense Nuclear Agency). He also held several positions in the U.S. Air Force.

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