CASoS Engineering

Nancy Brodsky

Photograph of Nancy BrodskyDr. Nancy Brodsky’s work in geomechanics and nuclear waste isolation has received national and international recognition. At RE/SPEC from 1985-1995, Nancy expanded lab capabilities to utilize ultrasonic velocity measurements to examine fracture formation and tertiary creep in WIPP salt and evaluated a number of models to assess the performance of crushed salt to seal repository shafts. This lab analysis was used to develop the coupled fracture component of Sandia’s multi-mechanism deformation and coupled fracture (MDCF) model. She was part of a team recognized by the U.S. National Committee for Rock Mechanics (under the auspices of the National Research Council, National Academy of Sciences) with an Applied Research Award for Significant Original Contribution (1999).

At Sandia since 1995, Nancy first worked on laboratory and field testing in support of construction of a national nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. She also conducted laboratory testing in support of the Gas Migration in Shear Zones (GAM) experiment, conducted at the underground Grimsel Test Site, Switzerland. While working on Yucca Mountain performance assessment, she was one of a small team of Sandians who conducted a Features, Events and Processes (FEPs) workshop for Taiwan’s Institute of Nuclear Energy Research (INER) in support of nuclear waste repository performance assessment work.

Nancy started working in infrastructure protection in 2003, joining the Infrastructure Complexity Research and Development (R&D) Group to help identify theories, methods, and analytical tools from the study of complex systems applicable to critical infrastructure problems. From 2004-2010, Nancy built and led a multidisciplinary team (Fast Analysis and Simulation Team, or FAST), developing the analytical framework required to satisfy the Department of Homeland Security’s need for rapid response consequence analysis in the face of national disruptions. Her leadership and articulate diplomacy under turbulent conditions supported the DHS customers; results provided the basis for decision support at the Assistant Secretary, Secretary and, at times, Presidential level (propelling the National Infrastructure Simulation and Analysis Center [NISAC] into the national spotlight). Under her leadership, “FAST”, grew to be the highest-funded component in the NISAC program.

In 2010, Nancy took the technical leadership of a complex adaptive systems-of-systems (CASoS) Engineering project and has built another multidisciplinary team to evaluate potential policies to influence tobacco use and reduce national healthcare burdens.  This project seeks to understand, model and evaluate the influence of policy focused on decreasing the morbidity and mortality from tobacco products. Under her leadership, this program has expanded to integrate analyses from multiple specialized subject areas relevant to tobacco control.

Nancy was promoted in 2012 to Distinguished Member of the Technical Staff, a special promotion reserved for the top eight percent of Sandia's technical staff.


  • 1999: Outstanding Accomplishments in Rock Mechanics: Applied Research Award. Awarded by the U.S. National Committee for Rock Mechanics, National Research Council, National Academy of Sciences.

  • 1998: Member of “Spallings and Disposal Area Fluid Flow and Rock Mechanics Technical Studies” team, which won Sandia National Laboratories President’s Quality Award, Turquoise

  • 2006: Hurricane Katrina Economic Analysis Team member, which won a Sandia National Laboratories Employee Recognition Award

  • 2004: Team lead for Fast Analysis and Simulation Team, which won a Sandia National Laboratories Employee Recognition Award

  • 2002: Yucca Mountain Site Recommendation Team member, team won Sandia National Laboratories Division 6000 Employee Recognition Award.

Publications and Reports

Dr. Brodsky is an author or co-author on more than 50 SAND reports produced during her tenure in the physical sciences, geophysics and rock mechanics domains. While serving as the NISAC Sandia FAST (Fast Analysis and Simulation Team) lead, Nancy and the team produced a multitude of reports and briefings (well over 100). Most of these were for Official Use Only and are unavailable to the public. Access to technical reports for the Tobacco Control Policy project is similarly restricted by request of the customer. Recent unlimited release SAND reports, presentations and conference papers include: