Inside the Pentagon reports today (by subscription only) about efforts within DOD to consolidate its nuclear detection capabilities under the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), moving many of its key experts from positions in the service branches and elsewhere at DOD in support of this mission. The article notes that this move is intended to facilitate DOD’s contributions to the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office:
The Defense Department is planning to place the Defense Threat Reduction Agency in charge of the military piece of a wider government effort to detect attempts to smuggle nuclear weapons into the United States.
In a Dec. 28 budget document, Pentagon Comptroller Tina Jonas approved a move to consolidate 15 civilian and military nuclear experts from six defense agencies under DTRA beginning in fiscal year 2007. Collectively, these experts will represent the Defense Department’s contribution to the fledgling Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO), a component of the Department of Homeland Security that was established last year by presidential directive.
This is a positive signal by DOD that it is taking the creation of the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office seriously: a critical prerequisite for this new and very important office’s success. The only mixed signal in the story is the fact that DOD intends to seek reimbursement from DHS for its contributions to the DNDO, which conflicts with my original understanding in NSPD-43/HSPD-14 that the office was intended to be driven by the principle of multiagency burden-sharing among the key players (DOD, DOE, DHS), rather than the idea of holding out a tin can and seeking reimbursement from DHS. But no public documents that I’ve seen provide a clear answer to this question, so perhaps this is the intended modus operandi.