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Mar 13, 2017

TRUCKING NUCLEAR BOMBS across USA each day

* DC - Office of Secure Transportation big rigs haul nuclear weapons and highly enriched uranium on the nation's highways each day

(Video by John Callender - Aug 12, 2011: We read an article about the special road train built by Perkins to haul nuclear waste from San Onofre to Utah, and it just happened that we were driving to Mammoth at the same time it was going to be parked by the side of the road in Bishop. So we drove by and gawked) 

--- The unmarked 18-wheelers ply the nation’s interstates and two-lane highways, logging 3 million miles a year hauling the most lethal cargo there is: nuclear bombs. The covert fleet, which shuttles warheads from missile silos, bomber bases and submarine docks to nuclear weapons labs across the country, is operated by the Office of Secure Transportation a troubled agency within the U.S. Department of Energy so cloaked in secrecy that few people outside the government know it exists...

(Photo from Office of Secure Transportation: Security officers protect big rigs hauling nuclear weapons)

... Among the findings of the Times investigation:
 - The agency is 48 agents short of its planned staffing of 370, a result of budget cuts. Weapons and tactics classes were canceled in 2011 and 2012 for lack of money.
 - More than a third of the workforce has been putting in more than 900 hours a year of overtime, which former couriers and Energy Department officials say has contributed to a breakdown in morale and rapid turnover.
 - In 2010, an inquiry by the Energy Department’s inspector general found widespread alcohol problems. It cited 16 alcohol-related incidents over a three-year period, including an agent on a 2007 mission who was arrested for public intoxication and two agents on a 2009 mission who were handcuffed and detained by police after a fight at a bar.
 - In 2014, the commander of the agency’s operation at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Tennessee threatened to kill an employee in an altercation, but no disciplinary action was taken.
 - The agency’s top executive in 2009 was charged with drunk driving after police found him parked on a sidewalk with an open bottle of beer and a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.15%, nearly twice the legal limit, according to New Mexico court records.
 - The agency’s truck fleet is antiquated by commercial standards and well past its operational life even under the department’s own guidelines. About half the tractors are more than 15 years old. The high-security trailers used by the agency are even older, designed before the current era of terrorist threats.

... The agency has been able to purchase five new rigs a year. More potent self-defense systems for the trucks are on the way in a trailer dubbed the Mobile Guardian, which the Energy Department is spending $670 million to develop. But the new trailers are not expected to hit the road until 2023 — long after the weapons modernization program is underway... Meanwhile, the older rigs are well maintained and log fewer miles than comparable commercial trucks, and agency officials are confident they will be able to do the job, said Al Stotts, a spokesman for the nuclear administration...
Los Angeles, CAL, USA - The Los Angeles Times, by Ralph Vartabedian and W.J. Hennigan - 13 March 2017


* California - Digitization bolsters demand for connected devices in heavy-duty defense trucks 

--- The value of connected defense trucks in the market will create growth opportunities in cybersecurity and data analytics, finds Frost & Sullivan's Mobility team... With the escalation of political tension and civil unrest in various parts of the world, defense budgets have received a boost. The evolving mission requirements and need for enhanced mission efficiencies are compelling manufacturers of heavy-duty (HD) defense trucks to incorporate digital technologies in their vehicles. Most of the technological advancements in trucks will be driven by manufacturers and tier-1 participants to reduce operational costs and improve fleet efficiency... Frost & Sullivan analysis, Global HD Defense Trucks Market Trends, Forecasted to 2025, finds that APAC, Africa, and the Middle East will emerge as the top three regions for procurement of heavy-duty (HD) defense trucks. By 2025, the number of HD defense trucks in operation globally, is expected to rise by a compound annual rate (CAGR) of 1.0 percent...
 Santa Clara,CAL, USA - PR Newswire/Yahoo Finance - March 10, 2017

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