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Opening Panel: Generation Prague Conference 2012

June 4, 2012


The Generation Prague Conference 2012 panel was composed of Acting Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security, Rose Gottemoeller, Assistant Secretary for International Security and Nonproliferation, Thomas M. Countryman, and Assistant Secretary for Political-Military Affairs, Andrew Shapiro, and was moderated by Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs, Mike Hammer.

Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs, Mike Hammer:

YouTube video 1 beginning: "Welcome to the Generation Prague Conference hosted by the Bureaus of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance and the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation. And, right on cue, Andrew Shapiro, our Assistant Secretary for Political Military affairs. Now what I would like to ask of them about the work they do, bureaus that they lead and we will dive into issues that relate specifically to Prague and some of their specific efforts."

Acting Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security, Rose Gottemoeller:

YouTube Video 1: “Thank you very much Mike and thank you all for coming this morning. It’s a great pleasure to see so many friends and colleagues in the audience. It’s a great pleasure to welcome the Ambassador of Kazakhstan, Ambassador Erlan Idrisoob very nice to see you here today. (sic)”

YouTube Video 2: “What Obama used in Prague that his goal was to seek the peace and security of a world free of nuclear weapons, recognizing at the same time, that as long as nuclear weapons exist, the United States of America will sustain a safe, effective and secure arsenal. So, we kind of have dual track tasks ahead of us but the group you see arranged before us today is really emphasizing seeking the peace and security of the world without nuclear weapons and going about it in a very responsible way. Deliberate and step by step approaches on the arms control front but also ensuring at the same time that the proliferation threats are tackled and that we are also working hard to ensure that the problems around the world that may explode in such a way to cause huge problems for our denuclearization efforts. Problems like, of course, the development of terrorism, anti-piracy efforts, those types of things are also tackled in a very, very responsible way. So you will hear from a...”

YouTube Video 3: “(sic) and verification of arms control and nonproliferation regimes. We are very serious about looking at new technology developments, how we can explore, and particularly, with young experts how we can explore fruits of the information revolution. And I just want to let you know that we are launching actually a couple of interesting efforts. First of all, we have got an essay contest coming up that will be cosponsored by the Monterrey Institute in California and the Pier Center in Moscow. An essay contest just looking for some new ideas, again, from young experts. But the second thing we are launching is actually a research competition, a challenge competition to try to get some specific technical ideas out into the open and have a chance to discuss and make them. So please be mindful of that, be looking for it, they will be coming up and we will be making announcements about it in the couple of weeks. We look forward to having the participation of many around the room and also your friends and colleagues. The website is a good place to find out what is going on or you can follow me on &Gottemoeller. If you can spell Gottemoeller, you can find me. So will be very happy to have any of you all interact on Twitter. So thank you very much Mike, and now...”

Assistant Secretary for International Security and Nonproliferation, Thomas M. Countryman:

YouTube Video 4: “And it is a long term pursuit, one that can take an entire lifetime and beyond. It is a vision of Presidents like Eisenhower and Kennedy to pursue the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. It was President Reagan together with President Gorbachev dared to talk, realistically for the first time about a world free of nuclear weapons. And it is the vision of lawmakers like Senator Nunn and Senator Lugar who as the Soviet Union dissolved allocated funds that would ensure that nuclear materials and other weapons of the former Soviet Union were secure. This is the kind of long-term challenge that we face and that President Obama spoke of in Prague. What is most exciting to be doing the job at this time is working for a President who has made the quest to be from weapons of mass destruction, to be safe from these threats, he has made this a central part of his presidency and has invested his time, his study and his political capital to the cause. So it’s a particularly good time to be working in this field."

YouTube Video 5: “(sic) Security and Nonproliferation works on several different levels that I’ll describe very briefly: globally, multilaterally, bilaterally. Globally, we have responsibility for key aspects of the major treaties that limit weapons of mass destruction. The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty has three essential elements; disarmament, which Under Secretary Gottemoeller pursues in negotiations with the Russians and others. But two more key pillars that fall within ISN’s jurisdiction. That is nonproliferation, preventing other states from gaining nuclear weapons technology. And second, peaceful uses. That is promoting the ability of every state that is a member of the NPT to benefit from nuclear science, not only for power production but for very dramatic improvements in health, in water (and) in agricultural production. And as part of his commitment in Prague, the President and Secretary Clinton have promised an addition $100 million from the United States which greatly increases the budget that the International Atomic Energy Agency has to help those countries around the world benefit from nuclear science."

YouTube Video 6: “Biological and Toxic Weapons Convention which outlaws the production of biological weapons. It is a largely successful treaty, but it is more than a treaty. It is more than a wall erected against the spread of weapons. It is also a mechanism for countries to share information about biosafety, biosecurity; How to be prepared for a biological outbreak whether it occurs naturally, or accidentally or intentionally. The response must be the same. The United States has an extremely detailed program to respond to biological emergencies and we are working with other countries through the biological weapons convention to give them the same ability.”

YouTube Video 7: “Minimum standards for each country to consider before it sells or transfers convention weapons, non WMD, and sell them to another partner around the world. We will spend all of July negotiating this in New York next month. We hope to see an important step of setting standards—both humanitarian and security standards in the international trade of conventional weapons. A…(sic)”

Assistant Secretary for Political-Military Affairs, Andrew J. Shapiro:

YouTube Video 8: “And worked with the arms control and disarmament agency on various negotiations. The merger with the arms control and disarmament and the creation f the bureaus of arms control, it used to be a separate bureau of verification and a nonproliferation bureau. Most of the work that we did on nuclear nonproliferation bureaus we to those bureaus and we focused much more on conventional issues. But the work that I do is directly related to the nuclear nonproliferation efforts because countries often seek nuclear weapons out of a sense of insecurity. As such, one of the principle goals of the bureau of political, military affairs is to work to increase regional and global stability and address doubts countries may have about their security. For an example, we are looking to address transnational threats such as piracy off the coast of Somalia. We are training UN and international peacekeepers to help weak and failing states. And we are helping allies and partners in the Middle East and SE Asia meet their security needs. By helping countries in regions become more secure, we are reducing the potential for countries to seek nuclear weapons. One source of instability that we also seek to address is the proliferation of conventional weapons…”

YouTube Video 8: “Today the cold war has disappeared but thousands of these weapons have not. This also applies to conventional arms. And as the Assistant Secretary of State for Political, Military Affairs, I receive the State Department’s Security Assistance Programs. And one of our major priorities is to work with countries that have aging legacy stockpiles from the Cold War era to both better secure these stockpiles and to assist in remove and destroy weapons that are surplus to their national security requirements. So I’m going to highlight work in two areas where this is applicable. First, is our efforts to address the threat posed by shoulder fired anti-aircraft missile systems known as man-portabled defense systems or the acronym is “MANPADS.” Just as nuclear proliferation has been a major concern in wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union, the proliferation of MANPADS is a concern in today’s world.”

YouTube Video 9…"cities Ziberal(sic) and expanded into the (sic) (incomprehensible)

“Take for example what happened in Brazzaville in the Republic of Congo. This March, a massive explosion at the munitions depot resulted in at least 280 deaths and injured over 2,000 people. It also forced tens of thousands of families from their homes. Unexploded ordnance was thrown as far as three kilometers from the blast epicenter, creating lingering hazards to emergency responders and complicating the recovery efforts. In response, we immediately deployed a team of civilian technical experts to assist in the recovery. This team helped dispose of nearly 20,000 items of damaged and unstable munitions, helping some families return home and safely rebuild.”

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