Sandia LabNews

Labs helps in stand-up of Homeland Security Department

Sandia helping shape the new Department of Homeland Security

A new feature of this year’s State of the Labs events were short presentations by two younger Sandians, TJ Allard (Org. 50) on homeland security and Ireena Erteza (5912) on synthetic aperture radar (see "Beyond images . . . " below).

TJ, director of Sandia’s homeland security office, outlined the Labs’ role in the new federal department. He pointed out that Sandia has been trying to anticipate and guard against terrorist threats for years, at least since the 1972 Munich Olym pics attacks. "This is what being a national laboratory is all about — anticipating needs and working on solutions before problems arise so the solutions are available when the country needs them," TJ said.

So Sandia was well prepared on the people side, he said. "We have a wide array of experts."

Since last August, many of them have been working in Washington, helping get the new Department of Homeland Security up and running. Most of Sandia’s interactions are with the Science and Technology Directorate; others are with the Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection Directorate. Here’s what some of the Sandians are doing:

  • John Vitko (8100). Defining the Department’s biological and chemical defense programs.
  • John Cummings (1000). Laying out the Department’s infrastructure protection science and technology development.
  • Sam Varnado (6500). Defining the program to use those technologies to assess vulnerabilities and protect the nation’s infrastructures.
  • Jerry Allen (ret.). Putting together the structure of the Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection Directorate. Jerry came out of recent retirement to help with this task.
  • Tom Klitsner (9621). Helping the Department’s Security Chief Information Officer put together the information architecture for the Department.
  • Holly Dockery (5350). Puttting together the standards to guide all this work.

"In short, Sandians have taken on major responsibilities in defining the science and technology aspects of the Department of Homeland Security," said TJ, "– more so than any other laboratory." . . . "It’s a big job," and "it’s taken them away from families and loved ones," but they are being praised for their quality. He said he is "extremely proud" of them. "In fact," he said, "John Vitko, John Cummings, and Holly Dockery have been asked to take long-term assignments in the Department."