NNSA Announces Federal and Contractor Security Professional of the Year Awards

Paulette Solis

NNSA News:

The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) announced Thursday the recipients of the Bradley A. Peterson Federal and Contractor Security Professional of the Year Awards.

Paulette Solis from Sandia National Laboratories will receive the contractor award and Susan Christian-Payne from the Nevada Field Office will receive the federal award.

The awards recognize one federal employee and one contractor employee whose contributions to security programs within the NNSA enterprise serve as models for excellence and commitment to the NNSA mission.

With more than 20 years of experience, Solis is currently team lead for Contract Security Management and Badge Office/Clearance Office. Her efforts in 2013 resulted in cost savings/avoidance close to $500,000, as well as improved performance with shortened processing times for clearances with fewer rejections.

Solis is actively building the next generation of security professionals and leaders. She has fostered a learning environment for her staff and promoted an interdisciplinary, integrated program, which allows for process improvements while ensuring sound security principles are followed. Under her leadership, 10 Lean Six Sigma events were supported, and one of her staff was nominated for Green Belt of the Year. As a result of her mentorship and leadership, she was asked to be a facilitator/trainer for the Franklin Covey Course “Leading at the Speed of Trust.”

Susan Christian-Payne

“Ms. Christian-Payne and Ms. Solis exemplify NNSA’s commitment to improving and enhancing its security across the enterprise,” said Doug Dearolph, NNSA Acting Chief and Associate Administrator for the Office of Defense Nuclear Security. “I applaud the dedication of Susan and Paulette for their commitment to helping to protect NNSA’s resources. Our security culture continues to see improvement in accountability and vigilance as we continue to implement controls that expand accountability and cooperation across the enterprise.”

Christian-Payne’s leadership, communication and organizational skills were demonstrated when she served as lead security coordinator for the 25th Anniversary of the Joint Verification Experiment, which brought together dozens of participants from around the world. Preparation for the event took months because the event required the use of specialized equipment by foreign participants at the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS).

Additionally, Christian-Payne examined recurring issues with the contractor’s security incident program and worked proactively with the contractor to identify root causes, bringing in the National Training Center to lead a Conduct of Inquiry course as part of the corrective action plan. She addressed budget shortfalls in the face of sequestration by automating Security Awareness Training for the more than 3,000 NNSS employees and implementing an alternative badging process during the government shutdown.


Christian-Payne and Solis will receive formal recognition in upcoming award ceremonies.


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