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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 074-96
February 13, 1996

OFFICE OF ATOMIC ENERGY CHANGES NAME

The Department of Defense announced today that the Office of the Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Atomic Energy has changed its name to the Office of the Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Nuclear and Chemical and Biological Defense Programs.

The name changed in Public Law 104-106, under Title IX of the FY'96 Defense Authorization act which was signed by the President on February 10, 1996. The organizational name change more accurately describes the current functions and new missions of the office.

The Atomic Energy Act of 1954 established the position of Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Atomic Energy with the responsibility of providing technical advice on nuclear weapons to the Secretary.

Dr. Harold P. Smith has been the Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Atomic Energy since June 1993. During his time he has led the transition and expansion of the responsibilities of this office. Today he retains the responsibilities of managing nuclear matters and maintaining the nuclear stockpile as well as serving as the Secretary to the Nuclear Weapons Council. Additionally, the following responsibilities have been added or expanded upon:

-- Chemical matters to include destruction of chemical weapons in the United States and Russia.

-- Biological matters to provide passive defense capability against the threat of biological weapons.

-- Arms control treaties and agreements implementation and counterproliferation programs.

-- Cooperative threat reduction program to assist with elimination of weapons of mass destruction with states of the former Soviet Union.

Additionally, Dr. Smith has responsibility for overseeing the Defense Nuclear Agency and The On-Site Inspection Agency.

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