U.S. Department of Energy review shows strengthened security posture at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

May. 15, 2009

U.S. Department of Energy review shows strengthened security posture at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

LIVERMORE, Calif. -- A recent review of security at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory by the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Independent Oversight confirmed a strengthened security posture at the Laboratory.

The annual review conducted by the oversight organization within DOE's Office of Health, Safety and Security (HSS), focused on physical security, the Lab's protective force, classified matter protection, control and program management. Included in the "positive aspects/trends" identified in the preliminary DOE report were: improved physical security systems; command and control upgrades to nuclear facilities; revitalized force-on-force testing; demonstrated emergency response capability; improved protection, control and management of classified material; and improved vulnerability and self assessment capabilities in protection program management.

"The security organization really stepped up to the plate and demonstrated the kind of 'can do' spirit this Lab in known for in rapidly making security improvements at a time of limited resources. The best security operations are those that are constantly tested to identify where improvements can be made," said Dave Leary, director of LLNL's Security Organization. "These independent reviews are a complement to our own integrated safety and security approach based on continuous improvement. Cyber, information and physical security are continually assessed and tested by internal and external security experts and security systems are strengthened to meet evolving threats. The whole idea behind these rigorous reviews is to pinpoint areas where we can improve every aspect of security, and we welcome that."

In the annual force-on-force exercise, conducted in April, the Laboratory's special response team quickly repelled an assault on a Livermore nuclear facility by an adversary team made up of highly-trained security officers from DOE. Measures taken to enhance the effectiveness of the protective force include upgrades to: communications systems; physical security; protective force weapons systems and training. Force-on-force exercises have been increased in frequency with more exercises conducted in the facilities containing special nuclear materials. External expertise of other NNSA/DOE labs and productions plants as well as LLNS partners has been tapped to improve security systems and training for security police officers.

According to the preliminary report, "LLNL has made significant progress to address previously identified security deficiencies and to strengthen the overall effectiveness of the Lab's protection programs."

The Laboratory has implemented corrective action plans for all the findings of the 2008 security review covering every aspect of security from physical and information security to cyber security and improved mechanisms for self-assessment. Security awareness programs keep employees current on evolving security threats and provide the tools for countering those threats. LLNL's counterintelligence program, one of the first in the DOE/NNSA complex, has served as a model for countering espionage and maintaining a high level of vigilance among employees of intelligence threats.