Calendar Details

For more information about item submission and attendance, see About the Technical Calendar.

Friday, May 24

Energy Security and Small Modular Reactors:
A Department of Defense Leadership Opportunity
Subversion of Critical Components in the Kill Chain:
Securing Air Force Weapon Systems Against Embedded Cyber Threats

Trish Sexton and Matt Poisson, 2012–2013 Air Force Fellows, ORNL
Global Security Directorate Seminar
1:00 PM — 2:30 PM, Joint Institute for Computational Sciences (Building 5100),
Auditorium (Room 128)
Contact: Kim Miner (, 865.574.5926


Lt Col Trish Sexton will present "Energy Security and Small Modular Reactors: A Department of Defense Leadership Opportunity"
Abstract: The missions of the Departments of Defense (DoD) and Energy (DOE) can benefit from a closer collaboration on energy security as national security is dependent on the nation's ability to acquire energy resources. As part of this collaboration, DoD has an opportunity to provide leadership by supporting industry development and deployment of small modular nuclear reactors that show promise in helping meet military energy requirements for fixed and remote installations. This research presents background information showing shifts in energy production sources are possible and that DoD has a strong operations and leadership record in nuclear power. To assist DoD and DOE collaboration, an energy security definition and policies relating to energy security and nuclear power are presented as a foundation from which to grow a closer relationship. Nuclear power is just one of many energy sources that could comprise a diverse energy portfolio. A review of some current energy technologies show that DoD, DOE, and industry teaming is working to provide DoD with energy sources helping meet energy security and environmental goals. This teaming can further meet or exceed these goals by supporting DOE and industry small modular reactors research and development. Finally, an analysis of the advantages and challenges of a thorium based fuel cycle explores a research area that can extend energy resources while improving a breadth of nuclear material management activities, to include nonproliferation and nuclear security interests, when compared to the current uranium fuel cycle. Recommendations will be presented that may assist efforts to improve energy security including establishing a joint office, improving energy security education and training, and DoD leading efforts to develop and deploy small modular reactors and understand the thorium fuel cycle.

Maj Matt Poisson will present "Subversion of Critical Components in the Kill Chain: Securing Air Force Weapon Systems Against Embedded Cyber Threats"
Abstract: The US military's shift towards joint "net-centric" operations has created a heavy reliance upon Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) embedded within weapon systems. The manufacture of ICT for military purposes used to be heavily based within US borders. A globalized market, convoluted supply chain, and shift towards purchasing commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) products has caused the Department of Defense (DoD) to lose awareness of who is fabricating many of its most critical components. Some of these technologies may even be manufactured by potential adversaries. In response, the US government, led by the DoD, has instituted Supply Chain Risk Management (SCRM) policies in order to deliver Trusted Systems and Networks (TSN) to its warfighters.

This presentation will examine the threat posed by embedded cyber technologies. It includes examples of supply chain vulnerabilities, especially with respect to the sourcing and manufacture of critical ICT. Recent SCRM policies, procedures, and programs will be highlighted, and the process of acquiring a "trusted" weapon system from contract award and product design, to system manufacture and delivery, will be explored. Current DoD acquisition and Information Assurance (IA) testing requirements, procedures, and weaknesses will be reviewed, and recommendations for improvements given.

The Air Force Fellows will be available afterwards to discuss their Air Force careers and answer any questions.