Identify, Develop, and Field Solutions to Counter WMD and Emerging Threats

DTRA is the only Department of Defense organization focused exclusively on countering and deterring weapons of mass destruction and emerging threats.

We work with the DoD, other U.S. Government and international partners to preserve peace and prepare for uncertainty delivering innovative capabilities, objective analysis, effective programs and world class expertise.

Mission

DTRA enables Department of Defense (DoD), the U.S. Government, and International Partners to counter and deter weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and emerging threats.

Who we are

Our experts bring a variety of skillsets and expertise, and a diverse range of perspectives to address critical challenges facing our nation. DTRA’s workforce includes an integrated mix of personnel from government, military, and industry, blending a variety of skillsets and expertise to detect, deter, and defeat WMD and emerging threats.

What we Do

DTRA works to protect U.S. national security interests in a rapidly evolving, globalized threat environment through it’s trans regional focus, enabling the understanding. DTRA, through its trans-regional focus and strong partnerships, protects U.S. National Security interests in a rapidly evolving, globalized threat environment to enable a greater understanding of our adversaries and provide solutions to WMD threats in an era of Great Power Competition.

  Defense Threat Reduction Agency Overview 2021  

 

Core Functions

Within the framework of these dual roles, DTRA leverages five core functions to provide tailored and agile solutions, integrated across the DoD, U.S. Interagency and global partners.

As China, Russia, and North Korea modernize and expand their nuclear forces, DTRA supports the Services and United States Strategic Command to ensure the U.S. strategic deterrent continues to be safe, secure, and credible while protecting the American people, our homeland, and our allies and partners. DTRA directly supports the U.S. Combatant Commands, and DoD designated response and maintaining nuclear readiness and modernization, mission assurance, force preparedness, and treaty verification.

DTRA partners with the Interagency for positive control over U.S. nuclear weapons, components, and materials by monitoring status of the U.S. nuclear arsenal and maintaining nuclear security technologies and safety training, guidance, standards, and policies are integrated into the DoD's nuclear deterrent.


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DTRA Inspection Teams conduct nuclear surety and readiness inspections to ensure positive control and enhance resilience within the nation’s nuclear force.


U.S. TREATY IMPLEMENTATION AND VERIFICATION

Effective and verifiable arms control is in the U.S. National Security interest and makes the United States and its allies and partners more safe and secure. DTRA implements the U.S. Government’s Arms Control Verification activities by planning, coordinating, and providing technical assistance and advice to U.S. delegations, commissions, Interagency working groups, and other organizations engaged in arms control and nonproliferation.

DTRA subject matter experts oversee and manage activities supporting on-site inspections, monitoring operations, escort activities, and observations under various treaties and conventions, including:

  • Chemical Weapons Convention
  • International Atomic energy Agency Integrated Safeguards Agreements
  • Vienna Document 11
  • New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty
  • Nuclear Testing Treaties
  • Plutonium Production Reactor Agreement
  • Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty

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DTRA supports the Pueblo Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plant (PCAPP) in the achievement of a significant milestone: the successful elimination of a quarter of the mustard agent stockpiled in chemical weapons at the Pueblo Chemical Depot (PCD). This is a significant milestone toward the careful elimination of all chemical weapons in the PCD stockpile by the Congressionally-mandated deadline of December 31, 2023.


Through its Building Partner Capacity (BPC) programs, DTRA works with partner nations to enhance local and regional counter-WMD capabilities. Enabling a global network of partners to counter the development, proliferation, and use of WMD and emerging threats recognizes – as outlined in the President’s 2021 Interim National Security Strategic Guidance – that "many of the biggest threats we face respect no borders or walls, and must be met with collective action."

Nonproliferation

U.S. leadership in nonproliferation is essential to reducing the dangers posed by nuclear weapons. DTRA is the DoD lead for training and equipping partner nations in areas including border protection, nonproliferation, and counter-smuggling activities. The Agency enhances international cooperation, interoperability, and provides partners with the tools and training to stop trafficking of WMD, its delivery systems, and related materials.

Cooperative Threat Reduction

One way DTRA builds partner capacity is through the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program (CTR). Under guidance from USD(P) and in close collaboration with Interagency partners such as the Departments of State and Energy, the Agency works with partner nations to prevent the proliferation of WMD and eliminate chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) threats to the U.S., allies, and partners.

CTR eliminates WMD stockpiles, provides support to consolidate, secure, and account for the materials, and enables partners to detect and prevent WMD trafficking around the world. CTR also includes the Biological Threat Reduction Program (BTRP) which builds capabilities to detect and track Especially Dangerous Pathogenic (EDP) diseases, and links the U.S. to over 30 foreign partners, enhancing global biosafety, biosecurity, and biosurveillance. In 2021, the Defense Department’s CTR Program celebrates 30 years of collaboration with foreign partners.


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DTRA, in partnership with the Republic of the Philippines, conducts an exercise to enhance local capabilities to prepare for, protect against, and respond to CBRN incidents. The Agency has also built two full-scale Coastal Watch Centers for our Philippine partners, and conducted numerous workshops and training events. Having an effective regional network contributes to more secure borders, and prevents the proliferation of WMD and illicit materials


As the nature of WMD threats, delivery systems, and adversary strategy changes, it becomes increasingly critical to forecast U.S. vulnerabilities early – and develop solutions to mitigate them. DTRA brings together technical, regional, and subject matter experts to identify nascent threat activity. We map its support networks and build counter–network approaches, then build tools and methods to protect U.S. forces, mitigate risk–to–mission, and ultimately deter adversary action.

With its worldwide presence, DTRA works by, with, and through other DoD agencies, elements of the U.S. Interagency, and international partners to analyze and synthesize WMD threat intelligence. Identifying vulnerabilities and connecting disparate pieces of data, the Agency aids CCMDs (and others) to develop fuller understanding of threats and threat networks; risk-tomission and risk–to–force; and executable options to counter and deter adversary action.

Additionally – looking inward at U.S. and partner capabilities – DTRA conducts mission assurance assessments to identify the readiness and efficacy of our own counter–WMD infrastructure and capabilities. We mitigate vulnerabilities through a robust portfolio of training, technical expertise, assistance with plans and exercises, leadership education (and decision support), and other material and non-material solutions.

This work – among DTRA's most tactical and "quick turn," and often with immediate application in the field – requires expansive data sources, advanced information technologies, agile applications development, and a tailored mix of forward–embedded and back–end fusion teams consisting of mission partners, customers, and DTRA’s experienced and trained analysts. Working with our partners and customers, DTRA subject matter experts have developed and use systems such as the Mission Assurance Risk Management System (MARMS) and Catapult Information System to provide CCMDs with accessible analysis and decision support at the speed of relevance.


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DTRA's worldwide team of experts leverages a broad base of analytical approaches, sources, and tools to develop executable options. Our impact can be broad and global (as these examples show), and also deeply focused on a single problem-set (as it was during the COVID pandemic).


Finally, DTRA provides technology development and capability investments that mitigate the risks of surprise, respond to the Joint Force’s urgent technical requirements, and maintain the U.S. military’s strategic and operational superiority in countering WMD.

Chemical Biological Technologies

Lead DoD science and technology to anticipate, defend, and safeguard against chemical and biological threats for the warfighter and the Nation.

Nuclear Technologies

Develop capabilities that enable an effective nuclear deterrent, integrate conventional forces to operate effectively in a nuclear environment, and counter nuclear threat networks.

Counter WMD Technologies

Develop, demonstrate, and transition innovative technologies and capabilities to actively counter the full spectrum of chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and emerging threats.

Research and Enabling Capabilities

DTRA's Basic and Applied Research Program fosters and enables farsighted, high payoff research focused on unique challenges. This includes test activities which provide end-to-end test & evaluation planning, execution, and analysis, and high performance computing capabilities which contribute to the development of software tools and high-fidelity numerical modeling and simulation.


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DTRA collaborates with Interagency and DoD partners, and led development of the Transport Isolation System (TIS) – an infectious disease containment unit. The TIS, developed during the 2014 Ebola crisis and later deployed during COVID-19, is designed to minimize aircrew, medical attendant, and airframe transmission risk while performing in-flight patient medical care.


Director's Priorities

CWMD/EMERGING THREATS MISSION EXCELLENCE

We will use our subject matter expertise to ensure an actionable, forward-thinking CWMD/emerging threats agenda.

DTRA’s world class staff – combined with the Agency's dual role as both a Combat Support Agency and a Defense Agency – place us squarely in the center of the CWMD/emerging threat mission space. This uniquely positions us to aid policy-makers, the Services, and the CCMDs to not only shape their understanding of CWMD challenges, strategies, and solutions but provide those capabilities, when required.

ALIGN RESOURCES TO STRATEGY

DTRA mission success depends on our ability to align resources to solve hard CWMD/emerging threat problems. To be optimized at an Agency level, we should be able to drive a stake from National and Defense guidance, through our own charter and strategy, and all the way to our programs.

This priority signals the commander’s intent (DIRECTOR) to update, clarify, and align our guidance; break down barriers among DTRA functions; and to ensure Agency tasks and resources are aligned to validated requirements.

DRIVE THE AGENDA WITH A SENSE OF URGENCY

As we return to “normal ops,” it’s time to re-dedicate ourselves to confirming the Agency’s position as "the" CWMD/emerging threat center of excellence for the DoD, the Joint Staff, and all our many interagency and international partners.

As we rekindle strategic relationships with our customers & partners and rebuild teams, each of you must look at your activities – and our impact as an Agency – with fresh eyes. Consider how and why things are done; think of ways to make them better.

We will re-commit ourselves to finding, coordinating, and producing solutions that provide timely, effective actions for CWMD and emerging threats.