April 19, 2013 

Alleged Improprieties Regarding the Canine Program at the Department of Energy's Y-12 Site

The Department of Energy's (Department) Canine Program is an essential component of its efforts to identify and deter potential threats to infrastructure and personnel. At the Y-12 National Security Complex (Y-12) and other nuclear material hosting sites in the Department, canines are used to detect explosives, narcotics, concealed humans and also track human presence at facilities that store, handle and maintain special nuclear material. As outlined in Department directives and adopted as best practices by law enforcement and security professionals, the performance of canine teams depends on continual reinforcement of skills through realistic performance testing, proficiency training and annual certifications. As required by their contract with the Department, canine services contractors are required to develop and implement a canine training and certification program that embodies these principles. Canine services at Y-12 were obtained through a 5-year contract that is valued at almost $15 million.  Subsequently, in 2012, we received allegations that the Department's Y-12 site: (1) possibly "rigged" testing for canine teams, and (2) worked canines beyond their physical capability to perform effectively.  Because of conflicting testimony and a lack of supporting documentation, we could not conclusively determine whether there were instances of "rigged" testing.  However, our inspection identified a number of issues that led us to question the efficacy of the processes used to test, train and certify canines at Y-12.  For instance, performance testing, training and annual certifications of canine teams were not properly conducted and/or documented.  We did substantiate the allegation that handlers had worked canines beyond their physical capability to perform assigned duties.  Deficiencies associated with the management of a multi-layered contract structure for furnishing canine services at the Y-12 site contributed to the problems we observed.  Finally, Federal officials and various contractor officials acknowledged that they had not reviewed the training and certification records for the canine teams because the Canine Program was not identified as a high-risk security area based on the Department's graded approach for risk determination.  Management concurred with the recommendations in the report and agreed to develop and implement standardized policies and guidelines for all National Nuclear Security Administration sites utilizing canine detection services.

Topic: National Security & Safety