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Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Customs & Border National Security Specialist 6 in Santa Fe, New Mexico


Protecting U.S. residents and visitors is among our nation’s highest priorities. As adversaries gain access to sophisticated technologies and materials, the threats grow more dynamic and complex—from cyber and nuclear to chemical and biological weapons of mass effect and other forms of terrorism. The PNNL national security mission employs our researchers, tools, and technologies to play a key role in advancing the ability to identify and secure nuclear materials, detect weapons of mass effect, manage nonproliferation treaties, secure our nation's borders, and protect critical infrastructures. PNNL’s scientific discovery and capabilities—rooted in innovative theory, methods, algorithms, and tools—are enabling stronger, more resilient technologies and systems to safeguard national security. Coupled with decades of radiological and nuclear materials expertise, advanced computing and threat analysis capabilities, and a broad fundamental science base, we are identifying and countering emerging threats that have significant impact at home and around the globe.

Do you want to contribute to national security while representing a billion-dollar international research institution? Our collaborative environment and commitment to work/life balance makes PNNL an ideal place to advance your career, challenge yourself, and make a difference in the world. The National Security Directorate (NSD) Physical Detection Systems and Deployment Division’s Systems Integration (SI) Group is seeking a National Security Specialist to support the Customs and Border Protection Non-Intrusive Inspection Division (NIID) Project at PNNL as a Subject Matter Expert for Operations, Policies, and Practices at United States (US) Port of Entries (POEs).

PNNL supports CBP-NIID with wide-range of capabilities and long-term experience including technology/equipment deployment, development, performance analyses and evaluation, data transfer, integration, management, and software development expertise, independent testing and associated functions, generation of requirements, production of test plans

utilization of expert test personnel, Availability of specialized test facilities and equipment, Execution of test campaigns and producing reports, Provide scientific and expert assessment/evaluation, Management (tactical and strategic) capabilities, functions, and products, Execute procurements as directed on a continual and/or as-needed basis.

Background: The incumbent will be the Subject Matter Expert (SME) for Customs and Border Protection (CBP) operations at US Ports of Entry (POE) for supporting CBP in the design, development of operational policies and procedures, and deployment of x-ray imaging systems and other non-intrusive inspection systems at US POEs, under the CBP NIID Technical Support Project. This is a multi-million-dollar effort, commissioned by Congress, to improve National Security along the US borders.

Details: The technical programmatic SME will be accountable to the Project Manager for supporting direct CBP tasking and assist with the deployment of X-Ray imaging systems and other programmatic technical support. The incumbent will be a SME with direct contact to the sponsor on areas of focus to support the project manager and team and to also assist with project organization and execution.


Provide technical expertise in the development, operation and implementation of security systems, operational security, nuclear material safeguards, vulnerability assessments, risk analysis, security policy, and critical infrastructure protection. Apply specialized knowledge of equipment and technologies deployed for physical security, WMD counter-proliferation, and interdiction operations. Develop and implement training, exercises, procedures, logistics strategies, concept of operations, planning, and assessment techniques and tools associated with the deployment, operation, maintenance, and sustainability of these systems. Conduct assessments, evaluations and analysis of these systems to support troubleshooting, forecast reliability and sustainability challenges, and identify opportunities for technological or operational enhancements. Utilize breadth and depth of knowledge related to national and international safeguards and security policies and guidelines in the development and implementation of security strategies. Areas of emphasis include program planning and management, system design and analysis, tactics and training, requirements definition, and operational sustainability. Serve as a technical subject matter expert for procurement, installation and maintenance of integrated systems, including identification of R&D opportunities associated with next generation security systems, counter-proliferation and interdiction technologies. Communicate with a wide range of federal, state, and local authorities regarding policies, requirements, and conduct of operations both domestically and internationally.

The incumbent will routinely interact with the CBP Sponsor as well as staff from other CBP divisions, directorates, and field offices as well as representatives from the General Services Administration (GSA) and other project participants. The incumbent will also interact with Non-federal project participants which include the four NII vendors, their subcontractors, and stakeholders from the local cities and bridge authorities. With the four vendors working in parallel and each working multiple sites simultaneously, participating in all of the calls and reviews can be challenging and will require significant coordination of staff resources across this effort and other projects at PNNL, the incumbent will assist the project manager in supporting these efforts. The incumber will assist CBP with conduct of operations discussions and utilize expertise as a SME in the area to direct those conversation as required, assisting with training discussions as needed.

The incumbent will need to be able to specifically assist with:

  • Developing solutions that comply with CBP NIID

  • Identify and communicate project focus and direction

  • Influence strategy to address internal or external risks

  • Participate as a reviewer at readiness reviews

  • Develop briefings, provide demonstrations, give training and/or outreach support

Impact: PNNL’s focus of the project is to assist as thought leaders with direct technical support and guidance to a program at CBP that will assist with securing the border and detect and deter illicit materials entering the US.

Demonstrated Skills:

  • Management of complex tasks.

  • Contribution to the design and design reviews for installing scanning systems (e.g., RPMs) at US POEs for CBP operations.

  • Leading (in the field) the installation, integration, and functionalization of scanning system (e.g., RPMs) at US POEs for CBP operations.

  • Coordinating activities amongst numerous stakeholders.

  • Creation of white papers and presentations on technical topics suitable for delivery to sponsors and stakeholders.

  • Ability to represent a sponsor’s equities (i.e., act on their behalf) regarding technical issues and topics.


Minimum Qualifications:

  • BS/BA and 11 years of relevant experience -OR-

  • MS/MA or higher and 9 years of relevant experience -OR-

  • AA and 20 years of relevant experience -OR-

  • HS/GED and 22 years of relevant experience

  • Qualifying experience in the following areas will be counted: Department of Energy, Department of Defense, Homeland Security, intelligence community or military that supports national security or radiation detection/protection operations

Preferred Qualifications:

  • The ability to obtain a clearance is required, existing clearance is preferred.

  • Fifteen (15) years of direct experience in Managing and Leading Customs and Border Projection Operations at U.S. Ports of Entry, to include the following responsibilities;

  • Management of officers

  • Management of budget

  • Implementing National Laws and Policies

  • Development of National and local policies and practices

  • Leading interactions with international partners

  • Oversight of port facility and infrastructure projects

  • Ability to pass CBP Background Investigation (BI)

Hazardous Working Conditions/Environment

  • Up to 50% domestic travel could be required

Additional Information

This position requires the ability to obtain and maintain a federal security clearance.


  • U.S. Citizenship

  • Background Investigation: Applicants selected will be subject to a Federal background investigation and must meet eligibility requirements for access to classified matter in accordance with 10 CFR 710, Appendix B.

  • Drug Testing: All Security Clearance positions are Testing Designated Positions, which means that the candidate selected is subject to pre-employment and random drug testing. In addition, applicants must be able to demonstrate non-use of illegal drugs, including marijuana, for the 12 consecutive months preceding completion of the requisite Questionnaire for National Security Positions (QNSP).

Note: Applicants will be considered ineligible for security clearance processing by the U.S. Department of Energy until non-use of illegal drugs, including marijuana, for 12 months can be demonstrated.

Testing Designated Position

This position is a Testing Designated Position (TDP). The candidate selected for this position will be subject to pre-employment and random drug testing for illegal drugs, including marijuana, consistent with the Controlled Substances Act and the PNNL Workplace Substance Abuse Program.

About PNNL

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is a world-class research institution powered by a highly educated, diverse workforce committed to the values of Integrity, Creativity, Collaboration, Impact, and Courage. Every year, scores of dynamic, driven people come to PNNL to work with renowned researchers on meaningful science, innovations and outcomes for the U.S. Department of Energy and other sponsors; here is your chance to be one of them!

At PNNL, you will find an exciting research environment and excellent benefits including health insurance, flexible work schedules and telework options. PNNL is located in eastern Washington State—the dry side of Washington known for its stellar outdoor recreation and affordable cost of living. The Lab’s campus is only a 45-minute flight (or 3-hour drive) from Seattle or Portland, and is serviced by the convenient PSC airport, connected to 8 major hubs.

Commitment to Excellence, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Equal Employment Opportunity

Our laboratory is committed to a diverse and inclusive work environment dedicated to solving critical challenges in fundamental sciences, national security, and energy resiliency. We are proud to be an Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer. In support of this commitment, we encourage people of all racial/ethnic identities, women, veterans, and individuals with disabilities to apply for employment.

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory considers all applicants for employment without regard to race, religion, color, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity), national origin, age, disability, genetic information (including family medical history), protected veteran status, and any other status or characteristic protected by federal, state, and/or local laws.

We are committed to providing reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities and disabled veterans in our job application procedures and in employment. If you need assistance or an accommodation due to a disability, contact us at careers@pnnl.gov .

Drug Free Workplace

PNNL is committed to a drug-free workplace supported by Workplace Substance Abuse Program (WSAP) and complies with federal laws prohibiting the possession and use of illegal drugs.

If you are offered employment at PNNL, you must pass a drug test prior to commencing employment. PNNL complies with federal law regarding illegal drug use. Under federal law, marijuana remains an illegal drug. If you test positive for any illegal controlled substance, including marijuana, your offer of employment will be withdrawn.

Mandatory Requirements

Please be aware that the Department of Energy (DOE) prohibits DOE employees and contractors from having any affiliation with the foreign government of a country DOE has identified as a “country of risk” without explicit approval by DOE and Battelle. If you are offered a position at PNNL and currently have any affiliation with the government of one of these countries, you will be required to disclose this information and recuse yourself of that affiliation or receive approval from DOE and Battelle prior to your first day of employment.

Rockstar Rewards

Employees and their families are offered medical insurance, dental insurance, vision insurance, health savings account, flexible spending accounts, basic life insurance, disability insurance, employee assistance program, business travel insurance, tuition assistance, supplemental parental bonding leave, surrogacy and adoption assistance, and fertility support. Employees are automatically enrolled in our company funded pension plan and may enroll in our 401k savings plan. Employees may accrue up to 120 vacation hours per year and may receive ten paid holidays per year.

  • Research Associates excluded.

**Once eligibility requirements are met.

Click Here For Rockstar Rewards (https://careers.pnnl.gov/rockstar-rewards)