The Defense Threat Reduction Agency enables the Department of Defense, the United States Government and International partners to counter and deter weapons of mass destruction and improvised threat networks.


DTRA is a Combat Support Agency and a Defense Agency with a three-pronged mission:

  1. to counter the threats posed by the full spectrum of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), including chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and high-yield explosives;
  2. counter the threats posed by the growing, evolving categories of improvised threats, including improvised explosive devices, car bombs and weaponized consumer drones, as well as the tactics, technologies and networks that put them on the battlefield;
  3. ensure the U.S. military maintains a safe, secure, effective and credible nuclear weapons deterrent.     

As a Combat Support Agency, we support the Combatant Commands and the military services with both defensive and offensive capabilities. With a focus on our combat support mission, and through leveraging and expanding our collaboration with interagency and international partners, DTRA is uniquely prepared to address some of the most immediate, consequential and non-conventional weapon threats to our national security. In our role as a Defense Agency, we work with rest of the U.S. government, allies and partner countries, and international organizations to counter WMD and improvised threats. As the DoD’s research and development leader focused on WMD and improvised threats, DTRA facilitates innovation as we combine traditional research with unconventional means to develop and quickly field solutions to the most complex, deadly and urgent threats facing the U.S. and the rest of the world.

DTRA has more than 2,000 uniformed military personnel and DoD civilians working with the combatant commands, military services, other government agencies, allies, partners and international organizations on every continent except Antarctica, and DTRA technology has even made its way aboard the International Space Station for testing. We had more than 2,500 global engagements in more than 100 countries last year, and in addition to our multiple locations stateside and overseas, we have liaisons in many embassies. Countering WMD and improvised threats is a truly global problem that requires global execution and a global presence.

DTRA celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2018, but our legacy begins with the Manhattan Project during World War II. What began strictly as a weapons development program expanded during the Cold War both in name and scope, eventually including deterrence, survivability, counter proliferation and arms control missions. After the Cold War, the mission evolved to include non-nuclear weapon development and nonproliferation efforts. In 1998, five different organizations within the DoD were brought together to create the Defense Threat Reduction Agency to focus and better synchronize the related nuclear deterrent and C-WMD efforts.



Do the right thing, the right way, for the right reasons, regardless of circumstances or consequences.

Sustain dignity and respect by fostering an inclusive, engaged and capable work force,
trusted to take personal initiative enabled and supported by leadership.

Be risk-tolerant and operate at the speed of relevancy.

Understand and meet the operational needs of those we support.

Be bold with courage to fail and the inspiration to learn and develop creative solutions.

Collaborate with and support our partners and each other.