The 15th ABW (Air Base Wing) at Hickam Air Force Base Hawaii was in operational control of Johnston Island until the Early 1970′s. It was then given over to the Defense Nuclear Agency who held control until it was returned to the 15th ABW on October 1, 1999.
The Defense Nuclear Agency is now renamed the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) as is based in New Mexico.
MANAGEMENT OF JOHNSTON ATOLL TRANSFERS TO PACIFIC AIR FORCES
Host management of Johnston Atoll (JA) transferred from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) to the Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) on Oct. 1. PACAF has delegated host management responsibilities of JA to the 15th Air Base Wing at Hickam AFB, Hawaii. JA is a military installation located 717 nautical miles southwest of Honolulu. JA’s primary mission is to support the U.S. Army’s Chemical Weapons Storage and Destruction (JACADS) programs.
The atoll consists of four small coral islands. Johnston Island is the base for all the atoll’s operations and management activities. There are approximately 960 civilian and 250 military people living on Johnston Island, the main island, and approximately 100 visitors performing temporary assignments at any given time.
The Army’s JACADS and weapons storage missions are the atoll’s major tenant activities. Other tenant activities include the Army-Air Force Exchange Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and various contractors supporting host and tenant missions. Tenant activities will continue uninterrupted by the transfer.
DTRA has operated and maintained the atoll since it became a Defense Department agency on Oct. 1, 1998. Prior to that an agency which consolidated into DTRA had the responsibility to maintain the atoll. The host management function is not a mission in DTRA’s charter; therefore, the transfer was undertaken. PACAF accepted the JA operations and management mission because the atoll is in the command’s area of responsibility and the Air Force holds real property accountability for the atoll.