McAllister and Gowadia: DHS is improving national nuclear deterrence capabilities

In the ten years since the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. has significantly improved its ability to counteract radiological and nuclear threats, according to two U.S. security officials.

Scott McAllister, deputy under secretary of the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis' State and Local Program Office, and Huban Gowadia, the acting director of the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, testified on Thursday before a House subcommittee on the subject of radiological and nuclear threats. McAllister and Gowadia spoke before the Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, which falls under the House Committee on Homeland Security.

During an intelligence hearing called "Counterterrorism Efforts to Combat a Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Attack on the Homeland," McAllister and Gowadia highlighted several areas of DHS progress in the last decade. The improvements include increased capacity building with state and local partners, an improved threat notification process and the development of radiological and nuclear detection capabilities with state, local, tribal and territorial law enforcement agencies.

The DNDO provides planning support, training, exercises, engagement, test and evaluation assistance, surge capacity and new technologies to SLTT agencies as well as a Joint Analysis Center, a Red Team to assess operational effectiveness and additional programs and challenges.

"In just a few short years, we have transformed how we work together - to share information, build our capabilities, combat threats in our communities, and address our shared challenges," McAllister and Gowadia said. "As a result, today we are better at understanding risks, leveraging intelligence and information, and making sure that information is incorporated into law enforcement efforts across the United States. Through robust partnerships with state and locally owned and operated fusion centers, as well as an integrated approach to implementing programs such as [Global Nuclear Domestic Architecture], we continue to strengthen the nation's capabilities to detect all types of threats, including nuclear terrorism. Our efforts are not only advancing the capabilities and operational readiness of our partners, but are also enhancing national deterrence against a serious threat to our homeland."

McAllister and Gowadia closed by expressing their appreciation for continued governmental support for the development, evaluation, deployment and support of the needed systems and resources to protect the U.S. against radiological and nuclear threats.