Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Threat reduction division transitioning to Eglin AFB

By Lois Walsh
96th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (AFMCNS) — In May 2005, the Base Realignment and Closure Commission put into motion sweeping changes here, one of which is now coming to fruition.

One of the commission's mandates was to increase the efficiency of operations by consolidating technical facilities and capabilities; and to establish multifunctional centers of excellence, to facilitate more rapid transition of capabilities and weapons technology to the warfighter. Accordingly, an element of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, or DTRA, has begun moving its personnel to Eglin AFB.

Established in 1998, DTRA is a Department of Defense combat support agency with the mission of safeguarding the United States and its allies from weapons of mass destruction, or WMD, -- such as chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high-yield explosive weapons -- by providing capabilities to reduce, eliminate, and counter the threat and mitigate its effects. DTRA employs 2,000 men and women, military and civilian at more than 14 locations around the world.

DTRA has partnered with Eglin agencies on a variety of fuze, warhead and weapon system projects, and is currently working on the Thermobaric Weapon Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration and the Massive Ordnance Penetrator.

"We've always worked closely with Eglin in conducting our counter WMD mission." said Air Force Col. Jim Collins, the chief of DTRA's Counter WMD division (CXW).

The colonel noted he's got a few people in place now and will then transition others in the near future. A joint-service team of 11 military, 10 civilians and 15 support contractors will be located in building 13A.

"DTRA-Eglin's initial cadre includes a Navy helicopter pilot, an Air Force scientist, an Army counter WMD officer, and a DoD civilian. Each one brings an expertise and perspective from their service background needed for a comprehensive, systematic approach to the problem of combating WMD," Colonel Collins said.

The DTRA division will continue to work closely with the Air Force Research Laboratory Munitions Directorate and the weapons program offices using Eglin's ranges and test facilities. DTRA also conducts full-scale testing at several different locations throughout the country, including White Sands Missile Range, N.M.

In addition to test capabilities, being collocated with AFRL and the program offices will save time and money, which is important as the work doesn't stop during this conversion period. Relocating to Eglin has been fairly smooth, thanks in part to the assistance offered by numerous people, Colonel Collins noted.

"Eglin is eager to host us and we've been working very closely with the all the agencies involved in our relocation," the colonel said. "The support we've received has been outstanding and is making the transition go smoothly."