Site Security Chief David von Damm joined the Lab in May to lead the Site Security Office, which includes Physical Security, Security Operations Center, Site Access and Visitor Management, Foreign Visitors and Assignments, and Personnel Security.
He and the site security team work closely with Emergency Management and the Fire Protection and Prevention functions in Operations to keep people at the Lab safe. A reserve officer in the U.S. Coast Guard, von Damm plans to extend the Lab’s security systems to further support the Lab’s scientific and strategic priorities.
Elements: What is the most pressing security concern affecting the Lab right now?
David von Damm: One thing happening here and at all the national labs is an increased sensitivity around intellectual property and export control. We take direction from DOE to create an open, collaborative environment, but also a secure environment. Everyone working at the Lab needs to feel safe and secure, and I take that role seriously. We want our lab to be a place where we can conduct our research and not worry about exposure to unnecessary risk.
Elements: Why is security important to world-class science?
David: When we talk about stewardship of the Lab, part of what we mean is that individuals have a responsibility to contribute to security. The Lab has a reputation as a preeminent research facility, and to maintain that we have to work together to build confidence in the way we operate the Lab. With 7,000 people here at any one time, we can all play a role in security by being aware and working together.
Elements: What’s one simple thing everyone at the Lab can do, right now, to help?
David: Wearing your Berkeley Lab ID badge is one thing everyone can do. It gives us heightened situational and professional awareness of our surroundings by visually confirming that the people around us — employees, staff, and visitors — belong here. When IGB is occupied, we’ll launch a pilot program to test a visitor badge process in that building, so that when you see a visitor you’ll know they’re contributing to our science and are a part of our science community.