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High Marks for Pantex Nuclear Facility Protection Force

Members of Pantex’s Protective Force on the firing range.

The security force that guards the nation’s primary site for assembly and disassembly of nuclear weapons, the Pantex Plant in Amarillo, Tx., recently completed an assessment by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Enterprise Assessments (EA).

Pantex Nuclear Facility Protective Force
Members of Pantex’s Protective Force on the firing range.

The Pantex Plant Protective Force was inspected by an EA team consisting of approximately 100 Safeguards and Security subject matter experts.

During the EA inspection, the Protective Force was required to perform a wide variety of tasks to demonstrate proficiency in protecting the site. During the inspection process, the Protective Force performed more than 250 limited scope performance tests.

These tests included firearm proficiency, general knowledge testing, Special Nuclear Material recognition, use of deadly force, physical fitness proficiency and donning personal protective equipment. In most of these tests, the Protective Force performed at 100 percent according to the proficiency standards outlined in DOE Orders.

“During daily inspection update meetings, Protective Force management relayed comments that they had received by the EA team. Some of the comments included that the force was ‘well prepared,’ ‘well trained,’ ‘professional’ and ‘committed’ among other great remarks,” Audy Jones, Safeguards and Security Operations, said.

In the force‑on‑force portion of the inspection, the Protective Force was tested against a variety of simulated attack scenarios. These scenarios included an adversary team attacking the site at different hours of the day with a multitude of weapons using an array of tactics. The Protective Force was able to quickly recognize the threat to the site and, by following established plans developed within the guidelines outlined within the use of force policy, neutralize the adversary prior to them completing their mission.

In addition to support of the US stockpile, Pantex also supports the United Kingdom (UK) Ministry of Defense with test equipment, joint reentry systems, and a variety of information exchange working groups.

Sources: NNSA, Pantex

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