Discussions with DTRA: Episode 9

DTRA podcast profile image

Discussions with DTRA Podcast

DTRA, the premier agency for meeting the challenges of WMD and emerging threats.

The DTRA Podcast series provides agency members with a platform to discuss interesting mission-related, morale-boosting or special interest item topics. The goal of our program is to deliver cross-talk that educates and informs audiences in an effort to support employee engagement and target potential outreach opportunities. Listeners can anticipate hearing conversations that are agency director-supported, amplify agency's core functions and convey mission intent in segments that range from 20 to 40 minutes.

Episode 9: Science, Facts, and Common Sense: A conversation with Dr. Rebecca Dunfee on the false bio lab narratives targeting DTRA

Length: 33:13

Secret Ukrainian bio labs? Weaponized birds? Combat mosquitoes? Dr. Rebecca Dunfee, Chief Scientist of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s Biological Threat Reduction Program, sits down to speak science and show the ridiculousness of conspiracy theories coming from Russian officials. After earning her PhD in Virology from Harvard, Dr. Dunfee has committed her career to biological cooperation to bolster international public health.

With Russian officials and state media making inflammatory, incorrect claims about DTRA’s work in Ukraine, Dr. Dunfee goes on record to discuss all the positive, cooperative public health projects DTRA has undertaken in partnership with Ukraine. She also leverages her scientific expertise to display just how preposterous some of the fabrications from Russia really are. Tune in to hear more on DTRA’s cooperation with Ukraine and even how Russia used to be an eager partner with DTRA on a variety of programs.

 
 
 

View Video of the Science, Facts and Common Sense Show on Youtube

Host:
Andrea Chaney
Public Affairs Facilitator

Interviewee:
Rebecca Dunfe,
Chief Scientist of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s Biological Threat Reduction Program

 

Transcript

Announcer:

DTRA Public Affairs presents, Discussions with DTRA, where the Defense Threat Reduction Agency brings together subject matter experts to discuss meeting today's challenges of WMD and emerging threats, increase awareness and deliver morale-boosting information. And now, today's show.

Andrea Chaney:

Welcome, and thank you for listening to Science Facts and Common Sense, a conversation with Dr. Rebecca Dunfee on the false biolab narratives targeting the Defense Threat Reduction Agency. The Cooperative Threat Reduction Program assisted former Soviet biological weapons research facilities and outdated health surveillance laboratories to support peaceful and safe biological detection and diagnostic capabilities and to reduce the threats posed by pathogens, whether they are naturally occurring, accidental, or intentional. In Ukraine Cooperative threat reduction helped fund security upgrades to former Soviet biological research labs enabling Ukraine to detect and report disease outbreaks before they pose security or stability threats. These Ukrainian facilities are and have always been owned and operated by the government of Ukraine, which aims to improve human and animal health capacity for the people of Ukraine. In 2014, Russia's Invasion of Ukraine caused two biological threat reduction program upgraded labs to fall behind enemy lines.

Before the podcast begins, there are two disclaimers that we would like to mention. These disclaimers appear on-screen in the video version of this podcast. At seven minutes in 13 seconds, Dr. Dunfee mentions how Anthrax was disposed at Voz Island. The disclaimer on the screen goes into detail of how it was disposed. Reading, "On Voz Island, large trenches were dug and lined with plastic sheets filled with water and HEPA chloride to create a neutralizing agent. 12 tons of Soviet anthrax was moved to the mixture and left to sit for 24 hours. The next day, the contaminated soil was tested to verify it was neutralized, and once confirmed, the neutralized earth was returned to the surrounding area." At 18 minutes and thirty-four seconds, Dr. Dunfee mentions a document that was signed by Russian scientists who stated that they believed that Ukrainian Bio Lab allegations were false. Two article links appear on-screen stating where you can learn more and you can find those links in the description. Thank you and we hope you enjoy the podcast.

Russia has been maligning Defense Threat Reduction Agency, or DTRA, programs and personnel in an attempt to undermine the integral role the agency plays in US and international security. Russia seeks to erode DTRA's capability to prevent and prevail over WMD threats by driving wedges between DTRA and international partners in peaceful nonproliferation efforts. For Russia, WMD disinformation is cheap and it can be effective when playing on primal fears. As Russian officials invoke increasingly outlandish claims detracting from crucial international discourse on nonproliferation, it is important for DTRA to provide truth and demonstrate the illogicality proffered by Russian purveyors. Join us today as we speak to a subject matter expert from DTRA at the Biological Threat Reduction Program, who has firsthand experience with DTRA's former partnership with Russia and the ongoing disinformation campaign aimed at the agency.

Hello, everybody and welcome to DTRA Talks. I'll be your host today, Andrea Chaney. And with me today is Dr. Rebecca Dunfee, the chief of science for our Biological Threat Reduction Program at DTRA. Dr. Dunfee received her doctoral degree in virology from Harvard University, and her specific expertise is related to identifying viral variants that could impact public health. So thank you for being here today.

Dr. Rebecca Dunfee:

Thank you for having me.

Andrea Chaney:

And I'll go ahead and just kick it off and have you start and give us a brief introduction of who you are and why you're here today.

Dr. Rebecca Dunfee:

All right. Well, thanks again for having me. I'm happy to be here and talk about the very important work that our program is doing, part of the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, that's been a program at the DOD, the Department of Defense for over 30 years. And I'm very excited to talk about the work we're doing with all of our partner countries to reduce the threats posed by infectious diseases through the Biological Threat Reduction Program, or BTRP for short. And so a little bit about my background, I've been working with the Biological Threat Reduction Program for over 10 years in some capacity, looking at all of the scientific and technical things that the program has done to cooperatively work with our partners.

Andrea Chaney:

So we're here today because there has been a lot of false information and disinformation and accusations perpetrated by nations such as Russia and China, I'm sure the audience is even familiar with some of that, specifically referring to the US biolabs mistakenly called the Secret Labs, all those misnomenclatures in Ukraine and other Eastern European states. So why don't you just tell us as the subject matter expert, what kind of work does DTRA do or has done in Ukraine?

Dr. Rebecca Dunfee:

Absolutely. And I think I would start off by bringing it to the big picture and state right off the bat, that the Department of Defense does not develop biological weapons, nor do we work with our foreign partners to do so. And so I think that that is a very important point to make up front. And we have been working cooperatively with partners from both Ukraine and the former Soviet Union for over 30 years. And so we have been engaged with these partners to reduce threats as opposed to support bioweapons or other sort of secret biological laboratories.

And so starting in 2005, we became engaged with Ukraine as a cooperative partner to work with them to strengthen their facilities. They inherited a lot of facilities from the Soviet Union that were aimed at potentially building weapons of mass destruction or components of that. And so we have worked to secure those facilities and other facilities working on reducing threats from the biological pathogens and infectious diseases. We've been working with them to provide training and equipment, and we've also been working them in cooperative biological biosurveillance projects to look at the threats that might be present in that part of the world.

Andrea Chaney:

So can you tell me, as the subject matter expert here today, what kind of work has DTRA done or is doing still in Ukraine?

Dr. Rebecca Dunfee:

Absolutely. So I'd like to start off by saying right off the bat that the US Department of Defense does not develop biological weapons, nor do we support our foreign partners to do so. And so all of the work that we have done is peaceful and cooperative in nature to reduce the threats and not support development. So with Ukraine specifically, we've been engaged with that partner since 2005 and we've been working with them on securing the facilities and the capabilities that they inherited when the fall of the Soviet Union created sovereign nations that had components of the weapons of mass destruction programs that existed in the Soviet Union. And so we have worked with the partners to secure both the biological facilities and infectious disease sites, about 46 in total, and these range from biological laboratories to remote field sites that are detecting and diagnosing infectious diseases. We are also working with them on training and equipment provision and also studies that monitor the potential biological threats that might be in that region of the world.

And one thing I will say about all the facilities that we've worked with in Ukraine, that these are Ukrainian owned and operated facilities. So our program and the Department of Defense does not own or operate any of these labs. We may go and visit to monitor ongoing activities where we're supporting construction or renovation, but these are solely Ukrainian owned and operated.

Andrea Chaney:

Very, very good. So it sounds like your program and the US government has come in for positive purposes, to provide support and then kind of hand off the responsibility to the Ukrainians-

Dr. Rebecca Dunfee:

Exactly.

Andrea Chaney:

... for the safety of their country and the world. Dr. Dunfee, can you speak to the kind of biological hazards that were removed from these Russian facilities?

Dr. Rebecca Dunfee:

I can a little bit, yes. And so when the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program went into these areas, into Ukraine, as well as other countries, we found that these facilities were really in a state of disrepair, that they needed to be secured, that there was infrastructure and equipment that was falling apart. And so we worked to basically secure and remediate these types of infrastructure and equipment so that it was more secure and safe for our partners.

And so a couple of examples of this would be there was a testing site in Uzbekistan called Vozrozhdeniya, or Voz Island for short, and we removed 12 tons of anthrax from the soil in that island testing facility that was part of the leftovers from testing that weapon. We also went into Kazakhstan in the Stepnogorsk production facility and dismantled the equipment that was present there.

In Ukraine. We had not necessarily dismantled that kind of large infrastructure or found that we needed to shore up any facilities, but we did have to provide repairs, construction and renovation to make sure that their facilities were safe, and also to make sure that they had the right types of training and equipment to do the mission of making sure that they could detect infectious diseases.

Andrea Chaney:

For some of these cleanup operations you just mentioned, and DTRA is heavily involved in supporting that, is there any other interagency partners or foreign partners that helped with that?

Dr. Rebecca Dunfee:

Oh, yes. We work with many interagency partners and also partners around the globe. And so the Biological Threat Reduction Program often works with the World Health Organization, some United Nations organizations around food and agriculture. We work with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the US State Department, and so all of our partners, it's really sort of a international effort in our partnership with Ukraine, it isn't just us working with them. And Ukraine has been a very good partner and very transparent in working with us.

Andrea Chaney:

I really find that mission pretty fascinating, and I think our audience would. I just had some technical questions of how long does an operation like, yeah, let's take Voz Island for example, how long does that take? Is that a year-long project? Is it multiple years?

Dr. Rebecca Dunfee:

Those are usually multiple year projects because not only are you working to go in there and potentially remove the threat and remediate it, but you also want to ensure that the capacity that you are either taking away or providing can be sustained by that partner. And so if we are strengthening the security of a facility or we are providing training to our partners, we want to ensure that they are able to maintain that and even build upon it in the future. And so we're looking to strengthen their own capability to do this, because again, this isn't a Department of Defense capability that we're building, this is a Ukrainian partner or capacity that we're aiming to aiming to work with them to strengthen.

Andrea Chaney:

Very good. And it looks like, or sounds like some of these cleanups, Stepnogorsk and Voz Island, that's up to 20 years ago now at this point, right?

Dr. Rebecca Dunfee:

Mm-hmm. Yes.

Andrea Chaney:

What happens post deemed clean, is the land... I mean, is the land just done at that point or what do we do going forward?

Dr. Rebecca Dunfee:

Well, so I think for those particular areas, we've cleaned things up. We've determined that it's cleaned up, and so what we would continue to do is to work with our partners to monitor and ensure that there's nothing that might pop up later on that they weren't aware of. We may also, if we're working with our partners on training or equipment, we may help them by refreshing the equipment or potentially providing repairs to a facility or doing refresher training to kind of continue to ensure that those capabilities that we're trying to provide them are maintained long term.

Andrea Chaney:

So your program, BTRP, is part of the overall Cooperative threat reduction program, which has a pretty rich history and a long legacy to its name, now part of DTRA, which we're lucky to have. I know it was formerly known as the Nunn-Lugar program, our audience might relate to that, but can you speak a little bit about CTR's bigger history overall?

Dr. Rebecca Dunfee:

Yes, of course. So the Cooperative Threat Reduction program was basically born out of the fall of the Soviet Union. And so Senators, Nunn and Lugar recognized that there was a threat posed when the Soviet Union broke up and there were these new sovereign countries that had these components of former weapons programs and systems in them, and they didn't necessarily have the capability or capacity to deal with those threats all on their own. And so Congress began the program to work cooperatively with these countries in the former Soviet Union, which included Russia, actually, to help dismantle, secure and eliminate those threats.

Andrea Chaney:

So Russia cleaned up their own problem?

Dr. Rebecca Dunfee:

Correct. Correct.

Andrea Chaney:

Interesting.

Dr. Rebecca Dunfee:

They were a willing partner in working with us cooperatively for many years.

Andrea Chaney:

Knowing all that, and that Russia actually was part of cleaning up their own problem and we continue to take that on and continue today even working with that as the US government, it must frustrate you guys a little bit to see what they're saying now and hear what they're saying now when they were our partners at one time, what else can you say about that?

Dr. Rebecca Dunfee:

So it is a little confusing to hear them talk about how we are being very secretive and that we aren't being transparent about the work we're doing with Ukraine because our history with the former Soviet Union and with Russia themselves has been part of this very transparent cooperation. And we worked with Russia as well on three areas where we also have been working with Ukraine, biological safety and security, the infrastructure and elimination, and also those cooperative studies to monitor threats. Russia was also a willing partner in a lot of that work with our program in the past. And so we're doing the same types of activities with Ukraine and other partners, and so Russia is very familiar with what we're trying to do because they were our cooperative program partner for a long time in those efforts.

The allegations about the studies that we're supporting to monitor threats in particular has been a little bit confounding because Russia participated in some of those very same studies. And in fact, even recently, if you do a search via the internet and you look up studies on any of the bioweapons programs, types of pathogens that they accuse us of doing illegal research on, you'll see that they're also investigating some of the same problems because these are infectious disease threats that are impacting everybody globally and not just the US and their partners.

And so even as recently as 2022, there was a manuscript that, the Biological Threat Reduction program supported the publication of, and there was a Russian author working with the Ukrainians to characterize soil pathogens to sort of very, very open and transparent work. And so the fact that Russia is saying that we're being secretive and that we're working on offensive research is just flat out wrong.

It's interesting because there was a project that they keep bringing up in the allegations that they put forth, which is a project that's on migratory birds, I think we called it UP-4, which just stands for Ukrainian Project, nothing nefarious about that. But it accuses us of cooperating on this nefarious research, but if you, again, do an internet search, you'll find that Russia supported some of the very same types of studies on the same types of scientific questions. And so again, these are global biological threats that impact everybody and our goal is to be open and transparent about that work and support other countries in being open and transparent as well.

Andrea Chaney:

So what if I Google UP-4, will I see a bunch of transparent [inaudible 00:18:07]-

Dr. Rebecca Dunfee:

You'll probably see a picture of a map of the world with these lines that show the different migration patterns of birds and the fact that they may carry these viruses that are of danger to humans or other animals. And if you looked up the Russian authored paper, you'd see the same map with the same picture of the world with these pathways. So you could put them side by side and not be able to tell which project they came from.

Andrea Chaney:

So your program, and DTRA specifically, has found themselves in the news and amidst some conspiracy theories and all that over the last couple of years. I know last year you particularly, you specifically participated in the Biological Weapons Convention with some other panelists from your organization. What can you say about that? What were some revelations? How did Russians handle that? Some partner nations and the US government?

Dr. Rebecca Dunfee:

Yeah, so that was a very interesting experience because it was a session that basically we joined the Ukrainians in defending our cooperative work against the Russian allegations that we are doing something nefarious. And I specifically had been part of that group from the Defense Reduction Agency that went there to talk about our work specifically around the scientific work that we do with our Ukrainian partners. And what I found really interesting about that was that when we met up with the Ukrainians to talk about, here's the different points that we would like to bring up to refute these allegations, the scientific points that I was bringing up were the same ones that the Ukrainian scientists were also bringing up.

So what's even more interesting about that is that these were often the same points that other member nations at the meeting were raising as well, and I think even the Russian public and scientists and the Russian Federation agreed that there's nothing nefarious about these types of studies and this type of scientific work. And so that was an eye-opener for me because you're coming from two different cultures, and even though we've been working together for a long time with the Ukrainians, the fact that we can independently come up with the same talking points and the same points to refute these allegations is an indicator that everybody's coming with the same truth as opposed to these false allegations that are coming our way.

Andrea Chaney:

I heard you just say that you think Russian scientists feel the same way. Why do you say that?

Dr. Rebecca Dunfee:

So I believe there was a document that was signed by maybe a thousand Russian scientist that sort of said, "We believe these allegations are false, and we believe in the peaceful intent of this type of work."

Andrea Chaney:

When the public hears about these labs, and you're educating us very well on what they really do, but Russia still screams pretty loud of what they think we're doing and they're trying to convince the public it's pretty nefarious and wrong. It's been seen on Twitter and it's been reported that human experimentation is part of this. What can you say about that as the official representative?

Dr. Rebecca Dunfee:

We don't do anything that is at all involved in human experimentation. The work that we support is all on ensuring the security of the facilities, ensuring that people are working with samples that they're collecting as part of diagnostics, like when you go to your doctor's office and they take a throat culture to say, "Do you have strep throat?" These types of diagnostic samples. Or samples from sick animals that the veterinarian has collected and they're doing testing on those samples, we want to make sure that they're doing it safely and that they can do it accurately. There's no going out and testing on humans. There's no going out and tagging birds or bats, which are other allegations that I've heard. Mosquitoes, engineering mosquitoes. We don't do any of that. Our focus is really on, are the systems that are in place to detect biological threats functioning. And so we're not looking to do anything that has anything to do with human experimentation or creating new types of animals or anything that's sort of crazy science fiction like that.

Andrea Chaney:

Crazy. Yeah, so it sounds like... That all makes sense to me. I can relate to that. And it sounds like they're kind of pulling a classic ploy of just shaping the narrative differently, but the public is believing it, it sounds much more nefarious and much more just scary, and that seems to be-

Dr. Rebecca Dunfee:

I mean, especially after we're coming out of a global pandemic. So these themes of, things must have been created to create these bad things. That is something that is a narrative that will resonate with certain groups of people, and it's not truthful, but it plays on those fears of the unknown, and we're really not involved in that type of stuff at all. In fact, what we're trying to do is help define and detect and report these types of pathogen outbreaks before they become something that is scary and could be a threat. And so we're very far from what the Russians are saying that we're doing and creating. And hopefully people will realize that it's really important to understand what is out there and how to combat it, then believe that people are out there trying to create new and different things.

Andrea Chaney:

Recognizing that your organization has been dealing with the disinformation, the false narratives being thrown out there, what can you say? Do you guys just counter it? Do you call them liars? How do you handle the disinformation? How does the US government handle that?

Dr. Rebecca Dunfee:

Well, I think one of the important things is to make sure that the truth gets out there, and we've always really prioritized transparency and openness in what we're doing. And when we're working with our partners and funding studies to look at the presence of potential threats in the country, we're promoting and ensuring that those results are published for anybody to see in the community internationally. We promote reporting and making sure that people are talking about what they're encountering, et cetera.

And so part of countering that disinformation is just making sure that the truth is actually already out there and is part of that narrative that's ongoing regardless of countering these allegations that come up. Every time they come up, we will of course refute them with the truth and facts, but remembering and continuing to stress that we are a cooperative program and a peaceful one, and we are working with full and open transparency. We're not trying to hide anything, is one of the ways that we can hopefully, at least set an environment where this barrage of disinformation and that foreign maligned influence can really be, not gain traction as part of that campaign that's constantly ongoing.

Andrea Chaney:

Why do you think the Russians continue to push this narrative? And part two of that, is anyone believing it?

Dr. Rebecca Dunfee:

The scientist in me says, I hope, why would anybody believe something so preposterous? But the scientist in me also knows that there are a lot of things that people don't understand that they will believe because the story sounds real and plausible. And I think the campaigns with misinformation are really easy to put out there because you can make something up and push it out much more quickly than you can push out the truth and make sure that it's accurate and fact-checked and all of that.

And so I think it is easy to spread this misinformation, and it's easy to use this as justification for other activities. If you're sort of already spinning a narrative where you don't have to worry about the truth, you're just pushing out these stories, it's much harder to push out something accurate when you want to make sure that you get all of your facts right. But that is something that we try to do as an organization for sure, is make sure that we have our facts straight and we're putting those out there and we're not just making something up and pushing it out to sway public opinion.

Andrea Chaney:

You said you've done work with the Biological Threat Reduction Program for 10 years, you have a strong science background. You've been working with the program since before there was negative stories surrounding it. So why do you continue to do what you do? Why'd you get into it and why continue to do this when it seems like there's some naysayers and just falsities out there? Why do you continue?

Dr. Rebecca Dunfee:

So I think that I have always been very interested in the type of work that really makes an impact on both the world and on public health. And the Biological Threat Reduction Program sort of does the best of both in that it both protects national security, which is something that resonates, but also does it through enhancing global public health. And so those are two things that I think are really rewarding to me, and to work with a program that makes such an impact, especially with our partners.

I think one of the things that I really enjoy about working with this program is that this isn't something that the United States is doing alone. It is something that we are working with our partners cooperatively and together reducing that threat as opposed to one single entity or individual because working with a program that looks at the holistic way to combat biological threats means that you are basically setting the foundation to ensure that no pandemic will totally take us by surprise, right? We'll be able to be confident that partners across the world will be able to recognize that there's a threat and to at least say, "Hey, there's a problem here. We need help." And I think as somebody who has worked in a lab before and has sort of looked at the very minutia of what's happening at the molecular level, the fact that the work that we're doing day in and day out really has a significant impact is very rewarding.

Andrea Chaney:

We've talked a lot about the ongoing allegations toward the US and partner nations in areas like Ukraine and Kazakhstan and other places. What about other regions of the world, do you see this a similar pattern?

Dr. Rebecca Dunfee:

We do. So we work in the biological threat reduction program with partners across the world in multiple regions, in the Middle East, in Southeast Asia, and also in Africa. And in Africa in particular, we've done a lot of good work to build capacity and capability to detect infectious disease threats. The Ebola outbreak in 2013, 2014 is something that the BTRP was very involved in ensuring that partners had the right types of diagnostics and could deal with the outbreak safely. And what we see occurring even now throughout Africa is that these information campaigns are starting up to sort of do similar things, sow doubt about intentions, accuse the United States of potentially being involved in the release of specific pathogens. There was some information going around that the United States or DOD Labs were somehow involved in the Monkeypox outbreak, or now Mpox they call it, the Mpox outbreak.

And so we see similar things happening, but it seems to be that wherever the program is doing good work that is actually helping to reduce the threats, we're seeing this counter narrative that they're trying to sow doubt and fear about, what is the Department of Defense doing here? And again, it's the same sort of open and transparent work that we've done in other places. We're working to build that capacity and capability for our partners to detect, characterize, and report infectious diseases. Nothing nefarious, nothing secretive. We're very transparent about it.

Andrea Chaney:

That's a very good point to say that wherever we're doing really good work they just say we're not.

Dr. Rebecca Dunfee:

Yes.

Andrea Chaney:

So you talked about transparency, obviously, and you said, we just continue to make sure that the facts are already out there and readily available. So where can our public find information on your program and just DTRA in general?

Dr. Rebecca Dunfee:

I think the information is out there. I know that the Defense Threat Reduction Agency has a whole page devoted to making sure that the facts of the program are out there, and you can look there. I think there's, again, we've supported a lot of publications, and so you can Google and you will see that we have ensured that our partners are putting out that information. So I would say for official information, definitely go to our DTRA site. But yeah, we are very transparent about the work we're doing. You can find more about BTRP. You can find more about the specific programs we did in Ukraine and in Russia. We're not trying to hide anything, so the information is out there.

Andrea Chaney:

Well, thank you Dr. Dunfee. That was all very good information and you've pointed us where we can gather more. So I know our audience appreciates hearing from that from you, and we appreciate your time today, and thank you.

Dr. Rebecca Dunfee:

All right, thank you so much.

Announcer:

Thanks for listening. To learn more about the Biological Threat Reduction Program, visit DTRA.mil at the Foreign Malign Influence page. Stay connected to hear more episodes by subscribing on your favorite podcast channel to Discussion with DTRA.

Stay connected to hear more episodes by subscribing on your favorite podcast channel to Discussion with DTRA

ABOUT DTRA

DTRA provides cross-cutting solutions to enable the Department of Defense, the United States Government, and international partners to deter strategic attack against the United States and its allies; prevent, reduce, and counter WMD and emerging threats; and prevail against WMD-armed adversaries in crisis and conflict.  

DTRA logo

CONNECT WITH US

Facebook Twitter YouTube LinkedIn DTRA Webmail

8725 John J. Kingman Rd., Fort Belvoir, Va. 22060-6221

Welcome to the Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s website. If you are looking for the official source of information about the DoD Web Policy, please visit https://dodcio.defense.gov/DoD-Web-Policy/. The Defense Threat Reduction Agency is pleased to participate in this open forum in order to increase government transparency, promote public participation, and encourage collaboration. Please note that the Defense Threat Reduction Agency does not endorse the comments or opinions provided by visitors to this site. The protection, control, and legal aspects of any information that you provided to establish your account or information that you may choose to share here is governed by the terms of service or use between you and the website. Visit the Defense Threat Reduction Agency contact page at Contact Us for information on how to send official correspondence.