A new Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction (CWMD) Office within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will consolidate the efforts to thwart and counter WMD attacks, the department announced on Thursday.
DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen announced the creation of the CWMD Office, which will be tasked with streamlining DHS efforts to prevent terrorist attacks and mitigating threats posed by chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear material and devices to the United States and its allies.
“The United States faces rising danger from terrorist groups and rogue nation states who could use chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear agents to harm Americans,” Nielsen said. “That’s why DHS is moving towards a more integrated approach, bringing together intelligence, operations, interagency engagement and international action. As terrorism evolves, we must stay ahead of the enemy and the establishment of this office is an important part of our efforts to do so.”
A DHS release noted that intelligence analyses showing that terrorist groups are pursuing WMD capabilities, testing them in a battlefield environment and incorporating them into external operations. Once viewed as out of reach for non-state actors, WMDs are now within reach of terrorist groups.
James McDonnel, the director of the DHS Nuclear Detection Office, has been tapped to lead the new CWMD office.