Following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, NNSA Administrator John Gordon told employees they should keep three goals in mind: “protect ourselves, accomplish our mission, and help others.”
Gordon addressed employees at all NNSA field offices, labs, and plants during a special all-hands address broadcast live via satellite Tuesday.
Gordon related his pride in all 37,000 NNSA employees throughout the country, and pointed out that even before the final two airplanes crashed that day, all NNSA facilities were at SECON2, and all NNSA weapons convoys were off the road and secured within 90 minutes of the first attack.
He praised the efforts of those across the NNSA complex who manned the Emergency Operations Centers 24 hours a day in the first few days, and especially thanked all of NNSA’s protective forces personnel for their increased efforts and “long difficult hours” in the three weeks since Sept. 11.
“There is a sense of urgency and commitment to do whatever it takes to protect us from the threat of terrorism,” Gordon said. “We must be tireless and relentless in our efforts to do our jobs and make the world a safer place. We must be poised for any follow-on event.”
Gordon also noted the inconvenience to all workers as a result of the heightened security measures throughout the NNSA complex and called for employees’ patience and understanding.
All NNSA security forces, Gordon announced, will remain at “enhanced SECON3” for an indefinite period.
“We must be prepared for further attempts at attack,” he stated. “We must never again fall into a state of complacency.”
Vulnerability assessments and security task forces are working now to decide what new, permanent security measures will be placed at each NNSA facility.
“The FBI is working hard to provide us the intelligence reports we need,” he assured employees.
In addition to outside intelligence, Gordon asked employees for any and all ideas on how better to protect NNSA resources, and for their understanding as the new security levels evolve.
“How we think about the threat has changed. In the short term, it may mean more people on the task,” he said. “But in the long term it will mean better technology.” He also warned employees, “You may have to walk a bit further.”
Gordon offered a challenge, “What can we as an agency bring to this fight? Not just nuclear weapons and materials, but great technology and talent, such as some of the very best sensor work in the world.”
Summing up NNSA’s counter-terrorism efforts in three main points, Gordon defined the mission as:
• Protect ourselves – with measures such as heightened security levels and changes in security procedures.
• Accomplish our mission – by continuing with the work that is vital to national security.
• Help others – such as NNSA’s former Soviet counterparts trying to protect their resources and materials.
On this last point, Gordon explained, “Terrorism knows few boundaries. Protection of Russian nuclear materials is just as important as in America.”
Concluding the all-hands, Gordon said that although the attacks have dramatically changed the way we look at security, “It’s time to get back to normal work and normal travel.”