YEREVAN — The United States Department of Defense, the National Security Service of Armenia (NSS), and the Armenian Border Guards held a ceremony on June 22, 2016, to mark the completion of a two-year, $9.35 million effort aimed at reducing the threat of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) by safeguarding Armenia’s northern border with Georgia. The two-year effort focused on enhancing the Armenian border agency’s capabilities to deter, detect, and interdict WMD and related materials.
“Today we celebrate the completion of two years of extensive cooperation in countering the threat of illicit trafficking of weapons of mass destruction through the border between Armenia and Georgia,” said U.S. Ambassador to Armenia Richard Mills, Jr. during the completion ceremony. “The United States and Armenia are working together toward common goals of democracy and prosperity, security and peace both in Armenia and in the region. Our security cooperation is robust, and we remain committed to an open and enduring partnership with Armenia.”
Dawn Brown, chief of the Building Partnerships Division at the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), also expressed satisfaction with the successful bilateral cooperation between the two countries. The project was implemented by DTRA’s Cooperative Threat Reduction, Weapons of Mass Destruction– Proliferation Prevention Program. Through this effort, they provided Armenian border guards with equipment to detect WMD, as well as tools to aid in the communications, surveillance, mobility, tactical infrastructure, and post and patrol operations. The border guards also received training on the use and maintenance of the equipment.
The installation of a secure wireless broadband network along the border has greatly improved the communications capabilities of the Armenian Border Guards, allowing improved communication between its patrol units, outposts, regional command facilities, and national headquarters in Yerevan. Fixed and mobile surveillance camera equipment has also enhanced their capacity to operate around the clock. And new patrol and all-weather vehicles were given to the Armenian Border Guards to expand their ability to patrol remote areas of the border and respond to events.
Since 2011, the U.S. and the Armenian Border Guards have been working together under the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, with $21.3 million in aid provided by the U.S. The two agencies recently agreed to extend cooperation and conduct additional training and development of Armenian personnel in conducting border security operations and WMD detection and interdiction techniques.