The Department of Defense (DoD) announced today that the
Defense Nuclear Agency (DNA) is being renamed the Defense Special
Weapons Agency (DSWA). This change is made to more accurately
reflect the Agency's mission under its 1995 charter.
DNA, whose lineage derives from the Manhattan Project that
produced the first atomic bomb, carried out nuclear support
responsibilities throughout the Cold War. Over the years, the
name of the organization evolved from the Armed Forces Special
Weapons Project in 1947, to the Defense Atomic Support Agency in
1959, to DNA in 1971. Thus the "special weapons" designation is
a return to the Agency's roots, but the mission now encompasses
both nuclear and advanced conventional weapons support programs.
The Agency's responsibilitities were increased as a result
of two congressionally mandated studies of its roles and
functions. Missions include:
-- Maintaining a center for nuclear technical expertise
-- Conducting nuclear weapons stockpile support and serving
as the lead DoD agency for national nuclear stockpile stewardship
-- Performing nuclear and advanced weapons effects research
and operational support.
-- Carrying out research and development to support U.S.
government implementation, compliance and verification of arms
control treaties and agreements.
-- Researching and developing capabilities for military
responses to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
--Supporting military warfighters in analyzing plans and
response options for both nuclear and advanced conventional
-- Carrying out DoD's Cooperative Threat Reduction program
The charter revision prompted an Agency reorganization in
December 1995, and the name change completes the adjustment to
the expanded charter.
Maj. Gen. Gary L. Curtin is the current Director, DSWA. The
Agency's headquarters is located in Alexandria, Va. DSWA Field
Command is a subordinate field operating organization and is
located at Kirtland Air Force Base, Albuquerque, N.M. Field
Command also operates the Defense Nuclear Weapons School at
Kirtland and supports the Army's Johnston Atoll Chemical Agent
demilitarization system on Johnston Atoll in the Pacific. The
Agency reports to Harold P. Smith, Jr. the assistant to the
secretary of Defense for Nuclear and Chemical and Biological