Public Access to DTRA Documents Restored

10.13.09 | 1 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

The Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) recently deleted the publications web page for its Advanced Systems and Concepts Office, inhibiting broad public access to many of the agency’s arms control and proliferation-related studies.  But most of the affected DTRA publications have been recovered and reposted in a new DTRA archive on the Federation of American Scientists website.

DTRA’s public affairs office was unable or unwilling to explain the deletion of the ASCO publications web page, except to indicate that it was a policy decision, not an accident. A 2008 version of the now-deleted DTRA page is available via the Internet Archive.

Not all of the suppressed DTRA studies are of equal or enduring interest.  Some are perfunctory, derivative or dated.  But others provide food for thought, as well as insight into government thinking on various national security topics.  A 2007 DTRA-sponsored report entitled “Terrifying Landscapes” (pdf) presented “a study of scientific research into understanding motivations of non-state actors to acquire and/or use weapons of mass destruction.” A 2003 report (pdf) attempted to quantify the occurrence of biological weapons-related information in certain open source scientific publications.

Whatever DTRA’s motivation may have been, impeding public access to archived public records on government websites is an unwholesome act.  So we have taken steps to reverse it.  See our compilation of selected DTRA reports.