DTRA's New Digs

The Defense Threat Reduction Agency formally opened its new facility on Fort Belvoir: the Defense Threat Reduction Center (DTRC). VIPs in attendance for the ribbon-cutting included Dr. Dale Klein, the Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Nuclear and Chemical and Biological Defense (DTRAs boss); General James Cartwright, U.S. Strategic Commands (STRATCOM) commander (overseeing the DoD combating WMD efforts); Mr. Ken Krieg, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics; and Senator Richard Lugar. Since Lugar practically funds half of DTRA through the Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) effort, it was a nice touch to see the godfather of arms control there.dtra seal.jpgMost of the speeches were your typical political, generic statements: WMD reduction is important, DTRA is a vital source of resources and people, its a big challenge but youre well-positioned to meet the threat, blah blah blah. Lugar of course was much smoother and had more time as the keynote speaker. He noted the strong success of the CTR in reducing the former Soviet Unions ballistic missiles, silos, launchers, and bombers, and a little work in the chem-bio weapons side, too. Its critical to ensure the worlds most dangerous weapons are kept out of the hands of the worlds most dangerous people. I think he meant the radical Christian evangelists, but Im not sure. He made a strong pitch to increase the scope of Nunn-Lugar to nations outside the former Soviet Union, pointing out the success of U.S. efforts to assist Albania in disposing of sixteen tons of mustard agent it had picked up from the Chinese in the 1970s. He had an amendment to this years defense appropriations bill, but it was unfortunately killed in conference. He noted wryly that this expansion was necessary who knows whether North Korea and Iran might someday ask for U.S. assistance in getting rid of their WMD arsenal.The $78 million dollar DTRC facility is a real piece of work construction started four years ago with the aim of bringing most of the disparate parts of DTRA to one office location. A primary factor was the desire to increase its force protection standards and to get off of Telegraph Road, where the building was maybe 30 yards from the road. DTRA reorganized within the last year to realign its research and development offices into one main directorate and all of its combating WMD operations support into another directorate. It has a collaboration center that provides a core infrastructure and management architecture that translates operational requirements into decision support, situational awareness, and a unique support capability for interagency work in combating WMD efforts.The new third directorate is the STRATCOM Center for Combating WMD (SCC-WMD). Under STRATCOMs responsibility to integrate and synchronize all DoD combating WMD requirements, this SCC-WMD represents the agency that will execute the day-to-day responsibilities such as advocating and advising the combatant commands on all WMD-related matters, providing recommendations on combating WMD operations and acquisition efforts, and maintaining 24/7 situational awareness of worldwide WMD and related activities through DTRAs operations center. It wont be until October that the SCC-WMD is fully staffed and operational, but expect its players to be actively involved in the interpretation of the Quadrennial Defense Review and the building of the FY08-13 Program Objective Memorandum this spring.UPDATE: DefenseLink article on the ribbon-cutting ceremony is online here.-- Jason Sigger, Armchair Generalist

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