About DTRA

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

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Our experts bring a variety of skill sets and expertise, and a diverse range of perspectives to address critical challenges facing our nation.

DTRA protects national security interests in a rapidly evolving, globalized threat environment through it's trans regional focus while enabling the understanding of our adversaries and providing solutions to WMD threats.

What We Do

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Who We Help

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Dual-roles as a Defense Agency and Combat Support Agency, we support the U.S. Combatant Commanders and Military Services.

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.



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


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."


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.


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.


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.





Ms. Rebecca K.C. Hersman

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Deputy Director


Rear Admiral Ryan Scholl

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Dr. Rhys M. Williams


Dr. Rhys M. Williams

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Senior Enlisted Leader

Senior Enlisted

Command Sergeant Major Brant C. Shyrigh

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Our Legacy

DTRA’s history is long and storied; we trace our roots all the way back to the Manhattan Project in 1947. A mission that began strictly as a weapons development program quickly adapted to include weapons effects and survivability, as nuclear technology proliferated. During the Cold War, we turned to stockpile stewardship and hardening targets. Post-Cold War, the DTRA mission implemented non-proliferation and arms control activities. In the 1990s began to delve into expanded definitions of Weapons of Mass Destruction, including chemical and biological threats.

DTRA itself was established in 1998, and since that time has been entrusted with some of the Department’s most critical “emerging threat” missions. We have developed knowledge and capabilities to counter and defeat not only chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear threats, but matured the DoD counter-Improvised Explosive Device (C-IED) and counter-small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS) portfolios as well, before transitioning them successfully to the U.S. Army.

As technology changes – as the United States National Security landscape changes – DTRA leads the way to Detect, Deter, and Defeat WMD and Emerging Threats.

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