DTRA director and Azerbaijan meet to discuss defense

The Defense Threat Reduction Agency's director and Azerbaijan's ambassador met on April 12 to talk about defense strategies and other efforts they could work together on.

Azerbaijan is tasked with keeping its territories safe from attacks, and the DTRA, an agency that specializes in safeguarding from chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons, is helping with the task.

"Our relationship with Azerbaijan on these projects is very good, [and] we have a long record of success," Kenneth A. Myers, the director of the DTRA, said. "[Azerbaijan] has some very difficult and unique security challenges and some of the things we do here could be of help and additional opportunities for partnership."

Azerbaijan's recent focus has been stopping smuggling, terrorism and threats that might interfere with trade in the Caspian Sea, along with reducing its CBRN weapons and threats.

Azerbaijan first began its partnership with the DTRA in 2004 when the Cooperative Biological Engagement Program was set up to reduce dangerous materials. The goal of the CBEP program was to reduce dangerous material terrorists or other rogue groups could use. Because of this partnership, Azerbaijan has upgraded some diagnostic laboratories and started a national disease reporting system.

"Azerbaijan is a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council," Elin Suleymanov, Azerbaijan's ambassador, said, "so those kinds of global issues we face on a daily basis and we deal with them along with the United States and other partners, trying to minimize potential damage by biological weapons."