The Secretary of Defense announced the resignation of Stephen M. Younger as director of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), effective Feb. 27, 2004.
Younger will return to Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, N.M., as a senior fellow.
A replacement for Younger has not been named.
According to Dale Klein, assistant to the Secretary of Defense for nuclear, chemical and biological defense programs, Younger has "made significant contributions to national security and the Department of Defense."
"Under his leadership, the DTRA has become the 'go to' agency for issues related to weapons of mass destruction," Klein said.
Speaking of his tenure with the DoD, Younger said, "Serving at the DTRA has been one of the proudest periods of my career." In a letter to all DTRA employees, Younger wrote, "It has been my distinct honor and privilege to lead a truly remarkable organization, one that has risen to challenges and truly embraced the call to transformation."
Among Younger's noteworthy achievements while leading DTRA is the development of a set of 'playbooks' that outline effective measures to minimize consequences should the United States be attacked with weapons of mass destruction.
The agency has become the leader in the rapid development of niche weapons for the defeat of hard and deeply buried targets and targets containing chemical and biological weapons.
The agency stepped forward in Operation Iraqi Freedom, providing support for everything from warplans to weapons.
"That DTRA is so tightly integrated with the combatant commands and services is a credit to Steve Younger's extraordinary leadership," said Klein.
"The events of Sept. 11 reaffirmed the importance of what DTRA does," said Michael Wynne, acting under secretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics. "Arriving at his post only days before the terrorist attacks, Steve Younger took stock of the agency's capabilities and immediately began responding to the critical needs to the DoD. His dynamic leadership is certainly an asset; I am grateful for his contributions to national security and the focus that he brought to the agency," said Wynne.
Younger is expected to return to the Theoretical Division of Los Alamos National Laboratory.
Prior to his arrival on Sept. 1, 2001, to lead DTRA, Younger was the senior associate laboratory director for national security at Los Alamos.
In that position, he was responsible for assuring the safety, reliability and performance of most of the nation's nuclear arsenal.
Younger serves on a number of government committees and has taken a leading role in stimulating the development of a new deterrence strategy for the United States in the post-Cold War era.
He is a fellow of the American Physical Society.