Inspection Report: INS-O-15-02

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November 24, 2014

Allegation Regarding Human Reliability Program Unsuitable Reportable Behaviors at the Office of Secure Transportation

The Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration, Office of Secure Transportation (OST), utilizes a professional force of Federal agents to transport nuclear weapons, weapon components and special nuclear material.  These agents participate in the Human Reliability Program (HRP), a security and safety reliability program designed to ensure that they meet the highest standards of reliability and physical and mental suitability.

We received an allegation that an Operations Squad Commander:  (1) was engaged in unsuitable, reportable behavior and even though management was aware of the problems, no disciplinary action was taken; (2) forced a medically restricted agent to participate in physical training; (3) falsified Federal documentation related to a work injury; (4) threatened to pull agents’ HRP access rendering them unable to train or perform their duties; and (5) manipulated the promotion selection process to select a personal friend over another applicant.

We found that the Squad Commander, along with other agents, engaged in unsuitable, reportable behaviors, such as uncontrolled anger, hostility, and aggression toward fellow workers and authority figures.  These incidents were not reported as required.  While the specific allegation that the Squad Commander forced an agent to participate in strenuous training while under medical restriction was not substantiated, we did find that the Deputy Director allowed the agent to engage in this strenuous training exercise without proper medical clearance.

We confirmed seven separate incidents that took place over a span of 10 years, with the most recent occurring in early 2013.  Senior OST officials told us that none of the incidents were reported to them, so they were unable to take disciplinary or other action.

The remaining allegations against the Squad Commander were not substantiated.  Even though OST had a number of internal controls in place designed to prevent the type of problematic behavior we substantiated, we found them not to be completely effective.  We made recommendations designed to strengthen controls in this important area.

The full report in this matter has been designated as for "Official Use Only" and is not available for public release.

Topic: National Security & Safety