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Ever since last summer, when a 82-year-old nun broke into the Y-12 nuclear weapons complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, the National Nuclear Security Administration has scrambled to improve its leadership and beef up security at America’s nuke facilities. Now it appears the agency has found the man for the job: The weekly trade publication Nuclear Weapons & Materials Monitor reported last week that the NNSA has named as its acting head of nuclear security Steve Asher, a retired Air Force colonel who less than four years ago was working as a “team leader” at a Target store in Spokane, Washington. Prior to that, he commanded a missile base in Montana that flunked a nuclear security test within five months of his departure.
This November 2009 video, dug up by the Project on Government Oversight (where I used to be a fellow), shows Asher hawking Black Friday bargains: “A lot of folks were being thrifty in their shopping this year, and so we sold more of our $1.99 towels than we expected!” (Click the screenshot for the link.)
Asher’s new title is acting chief of defense nuclear security and associate administrator for defense nuclear security, which puts him in charge of developing and implementing security programs at nuke sites nationwide. He has only worked at NNSA since late last year, when he was brought in as a security consultant, Nuclear Weapons & Materials Monitor reported. According to NNSA spokesman Joshua McConaha, Asher will have to apply for the permanent position, just like any other candidate. “Asher was recruited into Target’s executive ranks after serving 33 years in the US Air Force,” he says. “There are very few people in the United States who have more experience.”
Read the article: