Cooper, Chairman Smith, & Survivor Release Statements on GAO Report Regarding How the NNSA Could Improve Sexual Harassment Prevention & Response Efforts in its Nuclear Security Forces
Yesterday the U.S. Government Accountability Office published a report regarding sexual harassment within the Nuclear Security Forces of the NNSA. As Chairman of the Strategic Forces Subcommittee, Rep. Jim Cooper (TN-05) commissioned the report in 2019 after the alleged assault and subsequent harassment and termination of Ms. Jennifer Glover, a former security contractor.
The report reveals that NNSA does not survey employees on the prevalence of sexual harassment, nor does it require its contractors to survey their security forces. The report also highlights the potential of underreported sexual harassment complaints within NNSA protective forces, as well as the lack of gender diversity within the security forces.
“I came forward to share the sexual harassment and violence I endured while working as a security guard at the Department of Energy’s Nevada National Security Site to ensure that no one else would experience what I went through. This report shines a light on just how blind the NNSA is to the prevalence of sexual harassment and assault in its security forces, and I am thankful to Chairman Adam Smith and Rep. Jim Cooper for commissioning this report,” said Jennifer Glover, former security guard at the Department of Energy’s Nevada National Security Site and a survivor. “Everyone, especially women working in male-dominated industries, deserves to be safe at work. I am going to continue to fight for change because that’s how we create safe and equitable workplaces for all.”
“This report shows everything that is wrong with how the government handles allegations of sexual harassment and assault,” Rep. Jim Cooper said. “Since the NNSA relies solely on reported incidents, the agency has no way of knowing the extent to which sexual harassment could be a problem within its protective force contractors. If protective force contractors are worried about being sexually harassed or assaulted at work, then they very validly are guarding themselves and not our nuclear materials or weapons. That’s a national security risk and a failure of the government to protect our workforce,” Cooper continued. “This report also brought to light the fact that NNSA’s Office of Secure Transportation does not have a single female officer serving. We can and must do better. I look forward to working with the Department of Energy and NNSA leadership to ensure all Americans willing to serve in the nuclear enterprise can do so.”
“It is clear from this GAO report that the Department of Energy and the NNSA have a long way to go to understand the extent of this problem within its security forces and prevent future cases of harassment and assault,” Chairman Adam Smith said. “No one should ever be fearful to go to work, especially those that protect our nation’s nuclear materials. I look forward to working with the Biden administration to strengthen worker protections and ensure this never happens again.”
Read the full report here.