Help Wanted: Nuclear Weapons Courier, Serious Inquiries Only

File photo of NNSA and DTRA workers transporting three irradiators from Mexico to a U.S. military base on July 23, 2015.
File photo of NNSA and DTRA workers transporting three irradiators from Mexico to a U.S. military base on July 23, 2015.
Photo: DVIDS/Defense Threat Reduction Agency

Have you ever wanted to guard nuclear weapons as they crisscross the United States? Well, the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration has a job opening for precisely that. And it’s a great reminder that U.S. roads carry some pretty interesting cargo, even if it’s all kept very hush-hush.

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The job posting from NNSA, advertised on USA Jobs, is looking for a Nuclear Materials Courier based in Albuquerque, New Mexico or Amarillo, Texas. The pay, listed between $52,248 and $76,981 per year, is described as competitive, but you’ll need to get a Top Secret security clearance if you don’t already have that.

“Applicants who currently hold an active Top Secret or Q clearance could have their appointment time expedited,” the job listing explains.

What will you be required to do? Protect some of the country’s most important military secrets and even use deadly force if necessary. It’s right there in the ad.

From the job description at USA Jobs:

  • Serve as a member of a highly specialized armed protective force that is responsible for the safe and secure transportation of classified and/or hazardous materials including nuclear weapons, components, test assemblies, and strategic quantities of weapons-grade special nuclear materials. This involves the operation of Government-owned motor vehicles, including tractor-trailers.
  • Integrate many processes and methods in the fields of security; health and safety; emergency management; and law enforcement, including tactical operations to respond to a multitude of possible natural and/or man-made threats to the safety and security of sensitive, dangerous, and extremely valuable cargo.
  • Participate in security planning prior to trip departures; assess multiple issues and factors related to shipment security during convoy operations; coordinate with other Federal, state or local law enforcement agencies and first responders concerning the investigation of potential criminal or terrorist acts or activities that could be considered a threat to the mission.
  • Will be armed to provide the force necessary, up to and including the use of deadly force, to prevent theft, sabotage or takeover by unauthorized persons or groups. Respond quickly and effectively to environmental, resource, and safety and security issues that may arise unexpectedly in the course of mission operations.

As nuclear expert Stephen Schwartz points out on Twitter, the job posting might surprise some people who don’t know how frequently nuclear-related materials are carried on the nation’s roads.

“Your regular reminder that nuclear weapons and weapons materials are regularly in transit on US highways, moving between DOD operational bases and National Nuclear Security Administration facilities like the Pantex Plant in Amarillo, TX, and the Y-12 Plant in Oak Ridge, TN,” Schwartz said in a tweet on Tuesday.

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As the job posting explains, telework is not available in this position. It’s tough to safeguard the nation’s nuclear stockpile through Slack.

Matt Novak is a senior writer at Gizmodo and founder of Paleofuture.com. He's writing a book about the movies U.S. presidents watched at the White House, Camp David, and on Air Force One.

DISCUSSION

arcanumv
Arcanum Five

Maybe A&E could bring back Shipping Wars and let that cast handle it. Jarrett could probably fit a nuke into the back of his van.

Probably.