National Nuclear Security Administration

NNSA’s Joint Technical Operations Team commemorates 20 years of mission readiness

February 24, 2017

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Current and past leaders of the Joint Technical Operations Team join Deputy Undersecretary Jay Tilden to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the team’s creation. From left: Tilden, Tom Black (longstanding member of JTOT and director of the Office of Nuclear Forensics), Dave Bowman, John Weidner, Lisa Gordon-Hagerty, Curt Coughlin, and J.Q. Crocker.

To mark the 20th anniversary of NNSA’s Joint Technical Operations Team (JTOT) program, current and past leadership gathered this month at NNSA headquarters in Washington, D.C.

JTOT is a rapidly deployable asset built from the formidable technical and scientific expertise at NNSA.

Jay Tilden, NNSA’s deputy undersecretary for counterterrorism and counterproliferation, addressed the directors and program managers who have led the national security mission over the years. “It takes special dedication and perseverance to remain committed to this largely quiet and un-heralded sliver of the nuclear deterrence and counterterrorism mission,” said Tilden.

JTOT, which predates the creation of NNSA, was established in 1997 to streamline the Nuclear Emergency Support Team (NEST) capability that dates back to 1974.

As a result of lessons learned during NEST training exercises and continued examination of the threats, the Department of Energy (DOE) determined that a more flexible and task-organized crisis operations capability was needed to support the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Defense efforts to deter nefarious activities and prevent nuclear and radiological weapon incidents.

Guest speakers gave an overview of the major accomplishments and challenges through the history of the program. The following current and former directors participated in a panel discussion:

  • J.Q. Crocker – NNSA program director for the Office of Nuclear Incident Response. Crocker manages the JTOT and Nuclear Incident Response Teams and National Assets. He assumed command following the transition of these teams and assets into the Office of Counterterrorism and Counterproliferation. (2016-Present)
  • Dave Bowman – Presently, deputy associate administrator for the Office of Counterterrorism and Counterproliferation. Former program director for the Office of Emergency Response that managed JTOT and other Nuclear Incident Response Teams and national assets. Bowman oversaw the transition of these teams and assets into the present program. (2012-2016)
  • Curt Coughlin – DOE Defense Program Director in the Office of Emergency Response. Coughlin managed the NEST program and Office of Emergency Management. (1989-1992) and (1999-2002)
  • Lisa Gordon-Hagerty – DOE’s Defense Program director, Office of Emergency Response. Gordon-Hagerty managed and restructured the NEST program. She enhanced DOE's national response assets in order to meet the needs of the interagency effort more efficiently, specifically with respect to combatting nuclear terrorism and responding to nuclear accidents or incidents worldwide. (1992-1998)
  • John Weidner – DOE’s Defense Program acting director and Crisis Response Program manager for the DOE Office of Emergency Response. Weidner was responsible for directing the maturation of the NEST structure and the associated development of the JTOT to ensure an effective response capability in combatting nuclear terrorism worldwide. (1995-1999)

Other directors not pictured:

  • Deb Wilber – (Deceased) NNSA program director, Office of Emergency Response. Wilber managed JTOT and DOE's national assets. She oversaw the development of the interagency supportive Nuclear Incident Response Team and was instrumental in defining a department-wide unified coordination structure and an all-hazards Emergency Management Enterprise system. (2004-2012)
  • Paul Evancoe – DOE’s Defense Program director, Office of Emergency Response. Evancoe managed JTOT and DOE's national assets. He oversaw the program’s transition into the National Nuclear Security Administration. (2002-2004)