Defense agencies (Defense agencies)
Headquartered in Arlington, Va.| Official Web site
Eight major defense agencies, not counting intelligence agencies of the Department of Defense, are deeply involved in top-secret work.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), headquartered in Arlington, is a separately organized agency within the DOD and is under the authority, direction, and control of the undersecretary of defense (Acquisition, Technology and Logistics). DARPA serves as the central research and development organization of the DOD with a primary responsibility to maintain U.S. technological superiority over potential adversaries. It pursues imaginative and innovative research and development projects and conducts demonstration projects that embody technology appropriate for joint programs, programs in support of deployed forces or selected programs of the military departments. To this end, DARPA arranges, manages and directs the performance of work connected with assigned advanced projects by the military departments, other government agencies, individuals, private business entities, and educational or research institutions, as appropriate.
The Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA), headquartered in Alexandria, was established by the deputy secretary of defense in 2000 and is under the authority, direction and control of the undersecretary of defense (Acquisition, Technology and Logistics). It is responsible for DOD contract management in support of the military departments, other DOD components, NASA, other designated federal and state agencies, foreign governments and international organizations, as appropriate.
The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), headquartered in Arlington but moving to Fort Meade, Md., was established as the Defense Communications Agency in 1960. DISA is under the authority, direction and control of the assistant secretary of defense (Networks and Information Integration). DISA is a combat support agency responsible for planning, engineering, acquiring, fielding, operating and supporting global net-centric solutions to serve the needs of the president, vice president, secretary of defense and other DOD components under all conditions of peace and war.
The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) was established in 1971 and is under the authority, direction and control of the undersecretary of defense (Policy). DSCA executes the traditional security assistance functions such as military assistance, international military education and training, and foreign military sales, as well as program management responsibilities for humanitarian assistance, demining, and other DOD programs.
The Defense Security Service (DSS) is under the authority, direction, and control of the undersecretary of defense (Intelligence). DSS ensures the safeguarding of classified information used by contractors on behalf of the DOD and 22 other executive branch agencies under the National Industrial Security Program; oversees the protection of conventional arms, munitions and explosives in the custody of DOD contractors; evaluates the protection of select private-sector critical assets and infrastructures (physical and cyber-based systems) and recommends measures needed to maintain operations identified as vital to the DOD; makes clearance determinations for industry and provides support services for DOD Central Adjudicative Facilities; and provides security education, training, and proactive awareness programs for military, civilian and cleared industry to enhance their proficiency and awareness of DOD security policies and procedures. DSS also has a counterintelligence office to integrate counterintelligence principles into security countermeasures missions and to support the national counterintelligence strategy.
The Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), headquartered in Fort Belvoir, was established in 1998 and is under the authority, direction and control of the undersecretary of defense (Acquisition, Technology and Logistics). DTRA's mission is to reduce the threat posed by weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). DTRA covers the full range of WMD threats (chemical, biological, nuclear, radiological and high explosive), bridges the gap between war fighters and the technical community, sustains the nuclear deterrent, and provides offensive and defensive technology and operational concepts to war fighters. DTRA reduces the threat of WMDs by implementing arms-control treaties and executing the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program. It uses combat support, technology development and chemical-biological defense to deter the use and reduce the impact of such weapons. It prepares for future threats by developing the technology and concepts needed to counter the new WMD threats and adversaries.
The mission of the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) is to establish and deploy a layered ballistic missile defense system to intercept missiles in all phases of their flight and against all ranges of threats. This capability will provide a defense of the United States, deployed forces and U.S. allies. MDA is under the authority, direction, and control of the undersecretary of defense (Acquisition, Technology and Logistics). MDA manages and directs DOD's ballistic missile defense acquisition programs and enables the services to field elements of the overall system as soon as practicable. MDA will develop and test technologies and, if necessary, use prototype and test assets to provide early capability. Additionally, MDA will improve the effectiveness of deployed capabilities by implementing new technologies as they become available or when the threat warrants an accelerated capability.
The Pentagon Force Protection Agency (PFPA) was established in May 2002 in response to the events of Sept. 11, 2001, and subsequent terrorist threats facing the DOD workforce and facilities in the National Capital Region (NCR). PFPA is under the authority, direction and control of the director (Administration and Management) in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. PFPA provides force protection, security and law enforcement for the people, facilities, infrastructure and other resources at the Pentagon Reservation and for DOD activities and facilities within the NCR that are not under the jurisdiction of a military department. Consistent with the national strategy on combating terrorism, PFPA addresses the full spectrum of threats -- including chemical, biological and radiological agents -- through a strategy of prevention, preparedness, detection and response to ensure that the DOD workforce and facilities in the NCR are secure and protected.
(See also: Defense Intelligence Agency, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency.)
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Top Secret Work
Number of Work Locations
Number of Contracting Clients
- Management consulting and administration
- Border control
- Counter-drug operations
- Counter-IED explosives operations
- Cyber operations
- Disaster preparedness
- Facilities and Infrastructure
- Weapons technology
- Information technology
- Law enforcement
- Nuclear operations
- Staffing and personnel
- Psychological operations
- Building and personal security
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