‘Unsuitable behaviors’ among nuke bomb carriers

A squad commander and other federal agents who transport nuclear weapons, bomb parts and special nuclear materials engaged in “unsuitable behaviors” — such as uncontrolled anger, hostility and aggression toward co-workers and authority figures — that were not reported as required.ost

That was one of the findings of an inspection by the Department of Energy’s Office of Inspector General. The IG released a one-page summary of the allegations and findings on Monday, but did not release the entire report because it’s been labeled “Official Use Only.”

The IG said it received allegations that an Operations Squad Commander with the Office of Secure Transportation engaged in multiple unsuitable behaviors (as described above); forced a medically restricted agent to perform strenuous training; falsified documents related to work injury; threatened to pull agents’ access to the Human Reliability Program that could have made them unable to perform duties; and manipulated the promotion process to help a friend over another candidate.

The eastern command hub for the Office of Secure Transportation is located in Oak Ridge. The summary doesn’t state where the incidents occurred.

Overall, the IG inspection confirmed seven incidents over the past 10 years, with most of them 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 report’s summary stated.

“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,” the IG’s summary brief stated.,

The remaining allegations against the Squad Commander were not substantiated, the report summary stated.

“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,” the IG said. “We made recommendations designed to strengthen controls in this important area.”

The Human Reliability Program, in which the federal agents — also known as couriers — participate, is designed “to ensure they meet the highest standards of reliability and physical and mental suitability.”

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About Frank Munger

Senior Writer Frank Munger covers the Dept. of Energy's Oak Ridge facilities and many related topics — nuclear weapons, nuclear waste and other things nuclear, environmental cleanup and science of all sorts. Atomic City Underground is, first and foremost, a news blog, but there's room for analysis, opinion and random thoughts that have no place else to go.