Note: This is a copy of a message that B&W Y-12 President and General Manager Chuck Spencer sent to employees July 25 regarding the one-year anniversary of the July 28, 2012, security breach at the Y-12 National Security Complex.
General Manager’s Message: One-Year Anniversary of Security Event
One year ago this coming Sunday (July 28), three individuals trespassed at the Y-12 National Security Complex, damaged government property, and interfered with our ongoing national defense operations. While the security breach was unacceptable, the intruders did not come close to accessing any nuclear materials. Since that time, B&W Y-12 has worked closely with the National Nuclear Security Administration to make numerous changes in security and operations. I want to thank each and every one of you for your role in those improvements. I also want to highlight those improvements specifically and talk a little about our path forward.
Early on, we took direct charge of the WSI Protective Force contract and operations from NNSA. We first brought the Protective Force into B&W Y-12 as a subcontract, establishing greater unity of command within security operations. We later terminated the subcontractor and hired the security police officers as B&W Y-12 employees. Since that time, we have been working to make improvements in security officer standards, expectations, and training.
We also recognized that significant improvements were needed in our physical security systems. We installed new cameras and replaced many sensors in our high-security perimeter. We added almost 3,000 feet of new razor wire and 27,000 feet of animal fencing. We also accelerated improvements to our monitoring systems so that our officers can better detect and assess potential threats. We improved the performance assurance process, which helps ensure that people and systems perform as they should and develops corrective actions when necessary. Additionally, we moved the boundary fence (also known as the 229 boundary) closer to our main entrance in order to strengthen our security posture. Finally, we began a longer-term initiative to improve the discipline and rigor used by our officers to perform their functions, and I’ve appreciated their professional response to these changes.
The results have been very positive. I’m proud to say that our security police officers have performed very well in strenuous assessments and testing. Our false and nuisance alarm rates have improved dramatically. The maintenance backlog of our most critical security systems has been eliminated, and when a piece of important equipment has a problem, we fix it very quickly, generally within hours. I’m also proud that we are seeing improvement in disciplined operations.
Although we have made a lot of progress, there is still work to be done. We are focusing on additional improvements to our perimeter intrusion detection system. (Eventually, we will shrink the PIDAS, making it easier to maintain and less costly.) We continue to refine our equipment to further reduce false and nuisance alarms. And, we are better at sharing lessons learned with other security organizations, allowing all of us to benefit from the improvements that have been implemented.
We also are working to instill enhanced safely culture values throughout the site. We want to make sure we always have a culture in which employees are comfortable asking questions, feel a responsibility to stop work if they have a concern, are technically inquisitive, embrace best nuclear safety practices, are accountable for what they do, and are constantly learning. These are characteristics of the best-run nuclear operations in the world, and they illustrate the nuclear safety culture we want throughout our company.
In closing, I thank all of you for your dedication in the past year in driving improvements to our business and being patient while we make crucial changes. Our goal is to have the absolute best security program in our country’s nuclear security enterprise. While the events of a year ago are regrettable, I believe we are stronger for it. All of us at Y-12 recognize that we are personally accountable for executing the security mission. It is a tremendous responsibility that we are committed to and should continue to take pride in.