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    Industry Acclimates to DTRA cWMD Mission Space and Expertise

    Federal Computer Week FCW Host Weapons of Mass Destruction in the Digital Age

    Photo By Luis Palacios | WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senior leaders from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s...... read more read more



    Story by Darnell Gardner 

    Defense Threat Reduction Agency

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senior leaders from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s (DTRA) were invited to participate as counter-WMD subject matter experts at the Federal Computer Week’s “Weapons of Mass Destruction in the Digital Age" symposium in Washington, D.C., Dec. 11.

    This event featured more than 150 government and industry professionals focused on confronting evolving WMD terrorism, biological weapons and pandemics threats. Attendees from government, non-governmental organizations, and industry were presented with the latest information on how to best bridge gaps of understanding among stakeholders through increased collaboration.

    “When you apply the Venn diagram to see how we address chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear area uniqueness, there is a lot of overlap among agencies,” said Gary Rasicot, the acting Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction. “If we are going to answer the nations’ call to enhance and coordinate the federal effort to counter WMD, we need a more holistic approach…which involves increased collaboration and more importantly, data integration.”

    Rasicot further explained that with the inordinate amounts of scattered data flowing in, experts are now devising ways to churn those bits into useful information that can be shared throughout the industry.

    To better understand the multifaceted efforts involving monitoring and mitigating WMD risk, attendees participated in interactive panel discussion, "Mapping Tomorrow's Threat Matrix: What Today's Data Tells Us." This session detailed silo-busing approaches meant to spur on meaningful information-sharing on how to seek out and defeat emerging threats.

    Amanda Richardson, one of four experts on the panel and the chief of staff at DTRA’s office for research and development, conveyed DTRA’s multi-spectrum perspective to countering WMD.

    “To align better with the National Defense Strategy, DTRA is shifting efforts across the entire cWMD spectrum,” said Richardson. “DTRA’s approach addresses the chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threat spectrum and also the timeline spectrum.”

    Richardson explained that it is not enough to focus solely on the threat associated with the use of a WMD or the potential level of destruction, but is equally important to find ways to get in front of the threat before it happens.

    “We need to do more than just find the actual weapon, we need information on the people who are buying the precursors for these weapons, the people who are looking for money to purchase these weapons and those who are interested in the research of building these weapons…we need to disrupt then entire threat network and that’s best accomplished through collaborative efforts.”

    To stay ahead of evolving risks, innovative thinking is an all-of-agency practice at DTRA. The agency’s WMD intelligence personnel, for example, also attended the symposium to stay abreast of cWMD enterprise activities.

    “I was very interested in how this topic correlates to some of the WMD topics that we currently brief,” said U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Lisa Hajjar, an intelligence analyst at DTRA. “Hearing interagency thoughts and perspectives can generate discussions for potential incorporation in DTRA briefs.”

    The symposium included a fireside chat session entitled, “The Potential (and Limits) of New Technologies,” which allowed for executive-level subject matter experts to present their merited assertions. Dr. Ronald Hann, the director for DTRA’s chemical and biological technologies program, delivered perspectives on the ever-changing threat landscape and what new counter-technologies and limitations exists in laboratories and on the battlefield.

    “Part of my job is to be the technology scout,” said Hann. “I am looking at the horizon on where technology is going, where opportunities are and what threats exists. When I see a threat, I am trying develop countermeasures so it won’t threaten us.”

    Hann noted that technology limitations are expected when addressing evolving threats. Battlefield commanders need the capabilities that enable better, more timely and informed decision-making while under duress. DTRA is working on systems such as the Integrated Early Warning system that give the warfighter many of those capabilities, including sensor-to-cloud transmission, data-to-information encryption, and communication-to-solution transfer.

    “In this case, time is not money,” Hann said. “Time is people’s lives.”



    Date Taken: 12.11.2019
    Date Posted: 12.18.2019 13:05
    Story ID: 356210

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