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, in Yerevan to mark the completion of a two-year, $9.35 million effort aimed at reducing the threat of weapons of mass destruction, or WMD, by safeguarding Armenia's northern border with Georgia against trafficking in WMD-related materials.
The two-year effort focused on enhancing the Armenian Border Guard’s capabilities to deter, detect, and interdict trafficking of 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.
Dawn Brown, chief of the Building Partnerships Division at the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency or 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, the United States provided Armenian border guards with equipment to detect WMD-related materials, as well as tools to support 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 United States installed a secure wireless broadband network along the border to improve the communications capabilities of the Armenian Border Guards, allowing improved communication between its patrol units, outposts, regional command facilities, and national headquarters in Yerevan.
The United States also provided fixed and mobile surveillance camera equipment to enhance the Armenian border guards’ capacity to operate around the clock and new patrol and all-weather vehicles to expand their ability to patrol remote areas of the border and respond to trafficking events.
The U.S. and the Armenian Border Guards have been working together under the Defense Department’s Cooperative Threat Reduction Program since 2011, with the United States providing $21.3 million in aid.
“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,” said Ambassador Mills. “Our security cooperation is robust, and we remain committed to an open and enduring partnership with Armenia.”