On October 1, Secretary of Defense William Cohen announced the merger of several Pentagon agencies to form the new Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), whose mission is to combat the danger of weapons of mass destruction. "At least 25 countries are in the process of developing nuclear, biological or chemical weapons and the means to deliver them," warned Cohen at DTRA's headquarters near Dulles International Airport. "We must confront these threats in places like Baghdad before they come to our shores."
The formation of DTRA, recommended by the 1997 Defense Reform Initiative, consolidates the Defense Technology Security Agency, Defense Special Weapons Agency, and On-Site Inspection Agency. DTRA's eight directorates include Nuclear Support, On-Site Inspection, Cooperative Threat Reduction, Technology Security, Special Weapons Technology, Chem-Bio Defense, Counterproliferation, and Force Protection. DTRA Director Dr. Jay C. Davis, former associate director of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, will report to the under secretary of defense for acquisition and technology. The new agency has roughly 2,100 employees and a fiscal year 1999 budget of about $1.9 billion.