There are a number of initiatives that must be undertaken immediately to start building a
new agency culture and identity and restoring public confidence:
- Establish a clear mission and clear standards of excellence. The agency’s mission,
and that each subordinate unit, must be clearly articulated. Strong security and counterintelligence
in addition to scientific achievement must be core elements of the mission.
Similarly, clear standards of excellence must be established throughout the
organization. Excellence must be the goal of scientists, engineers, technicians, and
managers as well as security and counterintelligence officials.
- Establish a clear chain of accountability. There must be clear, simple, indelible lines
of accountability from top to bottom. If a failure occurs, there must be a straightforward
means for determining accountability—at all levels. Seeking consensus and
advice is important, but ultimately a decision must be made by individuals, and those
individuals should be held accountable.
- Hold leaders accountable. Accountability must be enforced, particularly among the
agency managers who will form the backbone of the new agency and instill a new
culture of excellence.
- Reward achievement. Criteria should be clear and rewards substantial. Protection of
nuclear secrets and expansion of scientific knowledge should be among the most valued.
Achievement must be judged on contribution to mission, not to program expansions
or budget increases.
- Punish failure ... with severity, if necessary. Penalties should be tough, but fair and
proportional. Laxity in protecting nuclear secrets and other sensitive information
should be among the most severely punished.
- Train and educate. Establish a formal educational and training system to develop a
professional cadre of career managers and leaders. Security and counterintelligence
should be major parts of the core curriculum passed down to all lab personnel in regular
briefings and training sessions.
- Do not forget the primary mission. Preserve and strengthen those agency
attributes—including cutting edge research in the most advanced scientific
fields—that will attract the finest talent in the nation. With respect to the weapons
laboratories, continue to foster their unparalleled lead in intellectual excellence. But
never lose sight that protecting the nation by securing its nuclear stockpile and
nuclear secrets—through good science and good management—is Job Number One.
- While maintaining its autonomy, the agency should nonetheless emphasize continued
close scientific interaction with the DOE research labs not engaged in
weapons–related endeavors. In the semi–autonomous alternative, DOE should also
be responsible for ensuring that good relations are maintained between the non-weapons
labs and the weapons labs.
SECURITY AND COUNTERINTELLIGENCE ACCOUNTABILITY
- Accountability. The agency director should issue clear security accountability guidelines.
The agency security chief must be accountable to the agency director for security
policy at the labs, and the lab directors must be accountable to the agency director
for compliance. The same system and process should be established to instill
accountability among counterintelligence officials.
- Independent Oversight. Attentive, independent oversight will be critical to ensuring
high standards of security and counterintelligence performance at the new agency. In
that regard, we welcome Senator John Warner’s recent legislative initiative to create a
small, dedicated panel to oversee security and counterintelligence performance at the
weapons labs. This oversight should include an annual certification process.
- Joint Committee for Congressional Oversight of ANS/Labs. Congress should abolish
its current oversight system for the national weapons labs. Just as the profligate
morass of DOE contractors and bureaucrats has frustrated the critical national interest
of safeguarding our nuclear stockpile, so has the current scheme of Congressional
oversight with roughly 15 competing committees laying claim to some piece of the
nuclear weapons mission.
- ANS Inspector General. The President, Congress, and the director of the new agency
should cooperatively, through executive order, legislation, and agency directive, provide
teeth to the authority of the new agency’s inspector general. For example, the
inspector general, the independent oversight body, and the agency director should all
have to concur on the findings of the annual report to the President on safeguards and
security at the weapons labs.
- The CIA and FBI should expand their “National Security Partnership” to include the
new agency and the weapons labs. Reciprocal assignment programs should be implemented
to promote cross-fertilization of expertise and experience.
- CIA and DIA should bolster their support for ANS needs. Both intelligence agencies
should establish analytic accounts to support the specific substantive and counterintelligence
interests and needs of the new ANS and the weapons labs. These accounts,
among other issues, should regularly produce data on the nuclear–related collection
efforts of all foreign governments and foreign intelligence services. This data should
serve as the foundation for regularized weapons lab counterintelligence briefs for the
foreign visits/foreign visitors programs.
- Improve national security and law enforcement cooperation, particularly with
respect to counterintelligence case referrals and handling. The National Security
Council should take the lead in establishing clear Executive Branch guidelines and
procedures for resolving disputes between agencies over law enforcement and
national security concerns. A government–wide process needs to be established by
which competing interests can be adjudicated by officials who are properly informed
of all relevant facts and circumstances, but who also are sufficiently senior to make
- Ensure a government–wide review of legal tools to address the current foreign intelligence
threat. The National Security Council should conduct a review to ensure
that sufficient legal authority and techniques are available and appropriate in light of
the evolution of a very sophisticated threat and the ongoing revolution in information
- An effective personnel security program. The agency director should immediately
undertake a total revamping of the “Q" clearance program and look to the security
elements in the intelligence community for advice and support. This review should
result in a complete rewrite of existing guidance and standards for the issuing, revoking
and suspending of security clearances. Special attention should be paid to establishing
a clear—and relatively low—threshold for suspending clearances for cause,
including pending criminal investigations. The review also should significantly
strengthen the background investigation process by restructuring contracts to create
incentives for thoroughness. We strongly advocate abolishing the prevalent method
of paying investigators “by the case." Strict “need–to–have" regulations should be
issued for regular reviews of all contract employees clearance requirements. Those
without a continuing need should have their clearances withdrawn. The National
Security Council should review and resolve issues on a government–wide basis that
permit a person who is under FBI investigation for suspected espionage to obtain a
new or renewed clearance; existing standards for clearance renewal also should be
reviewed with an eye toward tightening up.
- A professional administrative inquiry process. Promulgate new agency guidelines
and standards for security–related administrative inquiries to ensure that proper security/
counterintelligence procedures and methods are employed. Very high professional qualification standards should be established and strictly maintained for all security
personnel involved in administrative inquiries.
- Comprehensive weapons lab cyber–security program. Under the sponsorship and
specific guidance of the agency Director, the weapons labs should institute a broad
and detailed program to protect all computer workstations, networks, links and related
systems from all forms of potential compromise. This program, which should be
reviewed by and coordinated with appropriate offices within the U.S. intelligence
community, must include standard network monitoring tools and uniform configuration
management practices. All lab computers and networks must be constantly monitored
and inspected for possible compromise, preferably by an agency–sponsored,
independent auditing body. A “best practices" review should be conducted yearly by
the appropriate agency security authority.
- Comprehensive classified document control system. Document controls for the most
sensitive data of the weapons labs should be reinstituted by the agency Director. The
program should be constantly monitored by a centralized agency authority to ensure
- A comprehensive classification review. The new agency, in coordination with the
intelligence community, should promulgate new, concise, and precise classification
guidance to define and ensure awareness of information and technologies that require
protection. This guidance should clear up the widespread confusion over what is
export–controlled information; what information, when joined with other data,
becomes classified; and the differences between similarly named and seemingly
boundless categories such as “unclassified controlled nuclear information" and “sensitive
but unclassified nuclear information."
- Make security an integral part of doing business. Security compliance must be a
major requirement in every agency contract with the weapons labs. Rather than a
detailed list of tasks, the contract should make clear the security and counterintelligence
standards by which the lab will be held accountable. It is the responsibility of
the lab to develop the means to achieve those objectives. If a lab fails to conform to
these standards and requirements, the agency should withhold performance award
- Review the process for lab management contracts. If the agency director has reason
to open the bidding for lab management contracts, we strongly recommend an intensive
market research effort. Such an effort would help ensure that legitimate and
competent bidders, with strong records for productive research and development, participate
in the competition.
- Weapons labs foreign visitors program. This productive program should continue,
but both the agency and the weapons labs, in concert, must ensure that secrets are
protected. This means precise policy standards promulgated by the agency to ensure:
the integrity of the secure areas and control over all foreign visitors and assignees; a
clear demarcation between secure and open areas at the labs; strong enforcement of
restrictions against sensitive foreign visitors and assignees having access to secure
facilities; and sensible but firm guidelines for weapons lab employees’ contacts with
foreign visitors from sensitive countries. Exceptions should be made by the agency
director on a case–by–case basis. Clear, detailed standards should be enforced to
determine whether foreign visits and appointments receive approval. The burden of
proof should be placed on the employees who propose to host visitors from sensitive
countries. Visits should be monitored by the labs and audited by an independent
office. The bottom line: treat foreign visitors and assignees with the utmost courtesy,
but assume they may well be collecting information for other governments.
- Foreign travel notification. The agency should institute a program whereby all
agency and weapons lab employees in designated sensitive positions must make written
notification of official and personal foreign travel well before departure. The
agency must keep close records of these notifications and also ensure that effective
counterintelligence briefings are provided to all such travelers. Unless formally
granted an exception, scientists for weapons labs should travel in pairs on official visits
to sensitive countries.
- Counterintelligence. The FBI should explore the possibility of expanding foreign
counterintelligence resources in its field offices nearby the weapons labs. The panel
offers additional thoughts for improving the Department’s CI efforts in the Classified
Appendix to this report.
On to Appendix
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