Acting Director, Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA)
Dr. Rhys M. Williams, a Tier 3 member of the career Senior Executive Service, is the Acting Director, Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA). Dr. Williams leads the 2100 military and civilian members of the Agency, operating in over 50 countries, and executes over $2.4B to support US Nuclear Operations, Counter Proliferation, Nonproliferation, Arms Control, and Counter Network activities across the WMD and improvised device threat space. As a Combat Support and Defense Agency, DTRA provides the Combatant Commands and Services leading edge capabilities to execute their mission across the full continuum of gray zone and warfighting activities.
Prior to assuming his current position, Dr. Williams served as the Director for research, development, test, and evaluation activities for the Agency. He directed a geographically-dispersed military and civilian workforce of more than 450 Ph.D. level engineers and scientists and executed an annual budget of more than $1B. He led the Department of Defense’s primary science and technology (S&T) program to develop capabilities to detect, deter, and defeat foreign chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), as well as improvised threat devices. As one of the S&T Executives for DoD, Dr. Williams was the senior Agency S&T interface with the Military Services and the DoD, Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (USD(R&E)).
Dr. Williams previously served as the Assistant Deputy Administrator (Deputy Assistant Secretary – DAS position) for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation R&D at the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). In addition, he also served as Acting Principle Deputy Administrator (PDAS level) for Defense Nuclear NonProlfieration within NNSA.
Dr. Williams specializes in issues at the intersection of technology development and national security policy. He led policy, R&D, analytical, and operational organizations in both the public and private sectors with a specific focus on nonproliferation and counter proliferation activities.
Dr. Williams holds a Bachelor of Science in Engineering Physics from Miami University; a Master of Arts in International Science and Technology Policy from the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University; and a Ph.D. in Public Policy, with an emphasis in science and technology policy in a national security context from the School of Public Policy, George Mason University. A former submarine officer, Dr. Williams was qualified as a nuclear power plant manager through the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program and also served as a nuclear weapons officer. He is the author of a number of publications, including a National Intelligence Estimate. Dr. Williams is a level 3 acquisition professional and the recipient of a Presidential Rank Award.