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Threat Reduction Agency Stands Up

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

DULLES INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, Va., Oct. 2, 1998 – Defense Secretary William S. Cohen presided here Oct. 1 over the establishment of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency.

The new agency will affect all service members in its role as DoD's focal point for force protection and counterproliferation programs. It was created by merging three other related DoD agencies.

Two of the merged units -- the Defense Special Weapons Agency and the On-Site Inspection Agency -- were inactivated during the ceremony. The third, the Defense Technology Security Administration, transferred to the agency, as did some related Pentagon offices. The new agency is based in facilities adjacent to the airport.

Cohen called the Defense Threat Reduction Agency the result of a "pivot point" in history. "Fifty years ago, science split the atom and ideology split the world," he said. "The United States answered by unifying the armed forces into the Department of Defense." He said the sum of the parts was greater than each service alone, and that synergy helped the United States win the Cold War.

"Today we are at another pivot point, and we again unify three related agencies to combat a new threat posed by new types of terror," he said. The simple world of East-West confrontation has been replaced, Cohen said, by threats from rogue regimes and fanatical groups capable of buying or developing weapons of mass destruction and willing to use them.

The agency's mission is to combat present threats and prepare for the threats of the future. "By bringing you together we are elevating and enhancing your status," Cohen told the assembly. "You are performing the vital national security mission in our nation."

Agency Director Jay Davis echoed these sentiments. He said the component organizations of the new agency had been doing their jobs successfully. "What we're expecting in the future is the synergy, integration and outreach that was not required of these agencies as individual components," he said.

"The creation of the agency comes at a very significant time for the United States, having very successfully out-fought, out- created and out-lasted a focused ideological threat and physical threat in terms of communism," Davis said. "We now have to deal with a much less focused threat."

He said he was impressed by the cooperation and enthusiasm he has found since coming to the area from the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory in California. "This is an immensely difficult job," Davis said. "I think it's one that will take us a decade to do and we're well started on it today."

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