Scanners may not detect all nuclear weapons bound for U.S.

New GAO report says implementation of smuggling detection system faces challenges

Some $2.8 billion was budgeted in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2007, for the 74 programs included in the global nuclear detection architecture, according to DNDO figures, the GAO noted.

Of this $2.8 billion, $1.1 billion was budgeted for programs to combat nuclear smuggling internationally; $220 million was devoted to programs to support detection of radiological and nuclear material at the U.S. border; $900 million funded security and detection activities within the United States; and about $575 million was used to fund a number of cross-cutting activities.

And those figures may climb still higher, the GAO cautioned. Future costs for DNDO and other federal agencies to address the gaps identified in the initial architecture are not yet known or included in these amounts.

GAO recommends that DNDO work with DOD, DOE, and State to establish a strategic plan to guide agency efforts to develop a more comprehensive architecture. In commenting on a draft of this statement, DNDO concurred with this recommendation.

The GAO report titled "Nuclear Detection: Preliminary Observations on the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office's Efforts to Develop a Global Nuclear Detection Architecture" can be read in full by going to on the Web.