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Diplomacy in Action

Global Threat Reduction


Remarks
Ambassador Bonnie D. Jenkins
Coordinator for Threat Reduction Programs 
All-Party Parliamentary Group on Transatlantic and International Security
London, United Kingdom
February 4, 2010

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Good afternoon. I am delighted to be here and to speak with you today and for the opportunity you have provided me to highlight issues that are critically important to the United States, the United Kingdom, and the world – issues that are particularly pertinent to your mission to create awareness about transatlantic and global security issues, and to inform foreign policy.

The Obama Administration has placed a high priority on addressing proliferation and terrorist threats, with an emphasis on the grave threat we face posed by nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons, also known as Weapons of Mass Destruction, or “WMD”. Last year in April, President Obama outlined his vision for a world free of nuclear weapons. He said, quote, “…today, I state clearly and with conviction America's commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons. I'm not naive. This goal will not be reached quickly –- perhaps not in my lifetime. It will take patience and persistence. But now we, too, must ignore the voices who tell us that the world cannot change. We have to insist.”

Last week in his State of the Union address, President Obama again stressed the importance of vigilance to improve the security of nuclear materials, and also to combat the global biological threat. A key emphasis of the new Administration has been on the evolving threat posed by non-state actors, and as the threat has changed, so have our efforts to address that threat. President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton have also placed an important emphasis on forging partnerships, because we cannot address the threat posed by transnational terrorism alone. Instead we are implementing President Obama’s vision for strong multilateral engagement, emphasizing mutual pressing needs to address common threats – such as the threat of nuclear terrorism.

I want to begin my presentation by discussing the activities of the US government to combat today’s threats by first focusing on the evolution of global efforts to work cooperatively to combat WMD proliferation, beginning with the inception of the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program (or better known as “CTR”), in the United States. The United States CTR program was created in 1992 to address proliferation concerns in the former Soviet Union (“FSU”). By identifying creative solutions to the security challenges created by the end of the Cold War, CTR has made tremendous progress toward preventing the spread of WMD by securing WMD-related materials, technology, and expertise in the region.

For more than 15 years, most CTR efforts in the Former Soviet Union – particularly those implemented by the Department of Defense – have involved expensive large-scale demilitarization and construction projects. These projects have resulted in the destruction or dismantlement of warheads, intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarines, bombers, chemical weapons stockpiles, and biological weapons production facilities.

In addition to the work carried out by the Department of Defense, the Departments of State and Department of Energy have played crucial roles in CTR efforts.

The Department of State’s CTR programming has focused largely on efforts to engage and redirect weapons scientists, promote export control regimes and border security, and support the Nonproliferation and Disarmament Fund (“NDF”), which I will describe in more detail later in my presentation.

CTR work at the Department of Energy has supported efforts to protect nuclear materials and facilitate the downsizing of Russian nuclear research and fissile production facilities.

In addition to addressing a key proliferation threat, CTR activities in the FSU served as a central pillar of a broader U.S. strategy of engaging Russian scientists as full members of the international community.

But ours is not a static business, and, as the nature of global threats evolve, the tools we use to confront these threats must also change.

Over the past decade, we have all witnessed a frightening and dynamic set of terrorism and proliferation threats emerge. Today, preventing terrorist acquisition of WMD and halting the proliferation of WMD to dangerous regimes are two of the most urgent security challenges facing the world community.

The threats of the 21st century are profoundly different from the concrete and geographically-specific threats that served as the basis for the creation of the CTR Program in the 1990s. Against this backdrop of increased violence and the Iranian and North Korean nuclear programs, international terrorist networks like Al-Qaeda, continue to pose a serious threat to national and international security. The A.Q. Khan proliferation network is another clear example of this threat. A.Q. Khan, with the help of associates on four continents, managed to buy and sell key nuclear weapons capabilities for more than two decades while eluding the world’s best intelligence agencies and nonproliferation institutions and organizations. It is believed that in the 1980’s and 1990’s that this network sold the equipment and expertise needed to produce nuclear weapons to Iran, Libya, and North Korea. The network was global in its scope and clever in taking advantage of weak links in legitimate commercial, financial, and transportation systems. Similarly, we continue to see indicators that criminal networks are attempting to smuggle nuclear material across international borders.

In an increasingly globalized world, today’s threats are indeed diffuse, adaptable, and evolving, all of which makes confronting them even more essential.

President Obama has made it a priority to prevent the proliferation of WMD materials, expertise, and delivery systems as part of his strategy to work towards a nuclear free world.

To do this, we must ensure that our cooperative threat reduction programs are suitably responsive and equipped to address current threats. The United States is rapidly expanding cooperative threat reduction programs beyond the FSU, where such work was originally focused, because it is now critical to effectively counter terrorists and proliferant states who seek to acquire WMD on a global basis.

In a recent report by the United States National Academy of Sciences’ Committee on Strengthening and Expanding the Department of Defense’s Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, the Committee concluded that expanding the nation’s cooperative threat reduction programs beyond the former Soviet Union would enhance U.S. national security and global stability.

Let me now take a few moments to highlight some of our current CTR efforts, including continuing and concluding work in the FSU, but emphasizing expanded efforts focused in regions outside the former Soviet Union.

I’ll start by giving you a sense of what we are doing out of the Department of State. At the Department of State, our CTR programs actually consist of a number of smaller programs. All of these CTR programs have the bulk of their funding allocated toward cooperative threat reduction activities worldwide and outside the FSU. These programs are active in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Libya, Indonesia, and the Philippines – with plans to continue to expand engagement activities in the Middle East and North Africa, the Horn of Africa, and Southeast Asia.

Scientist Engagement

One such program is the scientist engagement program.

As you recall from my statement earlier, the Department of State CTR program began in 1992 with efforts to engage and redirect former WMD scientists to peaceful activity. This was mainly done through the establishment of science centers in Moscow and Kyiv: specifically the International Science and Technology Center in Moscow and the Science and Technology Center in Ukraine. Both centers coordinate the efforts of numerous governments, international organizations, and private sector industries, providing former weapons scientists from Russia, Ukraine, and the Former Soviet Union with new opportunities for sustainable, peaceful employment. The Department of State is now applying the lessons learned from these two Centers by adapting its programs to counter emerging proliferation threats worldwide. We are also offering to work in partnership with Russia and other members of the International Science and Technology Center to adapt the Moscow center to address emerging scientific and nonproliferation threats.

Most of this scientist engagement world-wide work today is carried out using discipline-specific engagement programs, such as the Biosecurity Engagement Program, the Chemical Security Engagement Program, and the Partnership for Nuclear Security Program. These programs improve our national security by promoting among scientists nonproliferation, safety and security best practices, and scientific collaboration, and are most successful when they resonate with the countries we wish to engage.

The Biosecurity Engagement Program (BEP) works in the areas of bio-safety and bio-security awareness and best practices, infectious disease detection, control, response, and scientific engagement to develop safer research and development models in areas of infectious disease research.

This program has made considerable progress supporting the Obama Administration’s National Strategy for Countering Biological Threats. By working hand-in-hand with host governments in nations such as Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Indonesia, we are mitigating biological threats and helping scientists in these countries combat infectious diseases, and develop international scientific ties. We are promoting the model of “science diplomacy” around the globe.

Our Partnership for Nuclear Security, for example, advances U.S. and international threat reduction and counter-terrorism goals by preventing the proliferation of nuclear expertise by engaging nuclear experts in priority countries and raising awareness of nuclear proliferation threats. Our Chemical Security Engagement Program (CSP) is set up on similar principles and partners with chemical scientists from across industry and academia to improve chemical security best practices. This program also develops networks of Chemical Safety and Security Officers at laboratories handling toxic chemicals.

In addition to our discipline-specific programs, we have also continued to focus scientist engagement efforts in Iraq and Libya.

In Iraq, the Cooperative Threat Reduction program has deployed a broad, multi-pronged threat reduction strategy that seeks to engage Iraqi scientists with WMD-applicable expertise. This approach bolsters weapons nonproliferation, bio-security, and chemical security, while making substantive contributions to the reconstruction of Iraq’s civilian science and technology infrastructure.

Similarly, our efforts in Libya help former WMD experts sustain civilian careers and enhance Libya’s scientific research and development, while addressing Libyan priorities such as water security, reactor utilization, radiation waste management, and radiation protection.

For example, we are working toward the development of a Nuclear Medicine Center in Tripoli that will provide a tangible, significant response to Libyan requests, rewarding Libya for its historic decision to eliminate WMD, and improving healthcare for the Libyan people.

Nonproliferation and Disarmament Fund (NDF)

The Nonproliferation and Disarmament Fund (NDF), established in 1994, provides a means for the U.S. government to respond rapidly to nonproliferation and disarmament opportunities, circumstances or conditions that are unanticipated or unusually difficult, but of high priority.

The flexibility and immediate response available from the Fund reduces the chance that the U.S. will not be able to respond to unforeseen proliferation issues anywhere in the world and is an important tool to take advantage of opportunities to counter proliferation. An important part of NDF's mandate is maintaining readiness for fast and flexible responses to a wide variety of situations. For this reason, NDF resources are not committed to any project or region in advance, unlike traditional State Department or other U.S. nonproliferation assistance programs. For example, these funds were used for the following: removal of more than 100 pounds of at-risk highly enriched uranium (HEU) from the Vinca Institute in Belgrade, Serbia; to secure storage regulated by the International Atomic Energy Agency in Russia. ($3 million); a key component of the safe removal of nuclear infrastructure from Libya to secure facilities in the United States. Libya's entire nuclear weapons program was eliminated within a few weeks time. ($2.5 million); and used to destroy fermenters in Kazakhstan that could have been used to make large amounts of pathogens for biological weapons. ($3.07 million).

Nuclear Smuggling Outreach Initiative (“NSOI”)

We are also placing an emphasis on combating illicit trafficking in nuclear and highly radioactive materials. The diplomatic element of this effort, known as the Nuclear Smuggling Outreach Initiative (“NSOI”), establishes partnerships with key governments to enhance their ability to prevent, detect, and respond effectively to nuclear smuggling attempts. It develops with these governments joint action plans specifying priority steps to be taken to improve those capabilities, and then works with the international community of donors to provide and coordinate assistance to these countries to help them implement their joint action plans.

To support these joint action plans some CTR funding is used to provide direct assistance to partner countries. These funds complement aid from other U.S. programs and are used to leverage assistance from foreign donors.

Such assistance has focused on providing secure storage for highly radioactive materials, searching for and securing abandoned radioactive sources, strengthening monitoring capabilities along the open borders between fixed crossing points, and increasing capacity to respond to nuclear smuggling incidents.

A particular area of emphasis within the nuclear smuggling work is international cooperation aimed at enhancing national capabilities in nuclear forensics, which plays a critical role in national efforts to investigate and prosecute illicit uses of nuclear or radioactive material.

The operational element of our nuclear smuggling effort provides real-time support to governments responding to nuclear smuggling events overseas through our Nuclear Trafficking Response Group (“NTRG”). This group works with national authorities abroad to help them secure smuggled nuclear material, prosecute traffickers, and identify the source of diversion.

Export Control and Related Border Security

Another key threat reduction program managed by the Department of State is the Export Control and Related Border Security (“EXBS”) program, which provides assistance to help countries develop and strengthen their strategic trade control systems and border security capabilities.

EXBS plays an important role in global threat reduction by working cooperatively to improve other countries’ export and border control capabilities in order to counter the proliferation of WMD and associated delivery systems and prevent irresponsible transfers of advanced conventional weapons.

To build partner capacity to prevent and interdict shipments of dangerous items and technology, EXBS provides a wide variety of practical assistance tailored to each country’s individual needs. EXBS has helped dozens of countries draft and implement comprehensive export control laws and regulations, establish independent export control licensing mechanisms, and provided detection training and equipment that has helped recover stolen radioactive materials and sensitive goods.

While EXBS originally focused on the FSU and Eastern Europe, it too has evolved and expanded as the proliferation threat has become more global and diffuse. EXBS is now active on five continents and has extended its program to address the evolving nature of the proliferation threat from not only source countries, but also from countries with dual-use industries, transit and transshipment ports, brokers, and global proliferation networks.

Departments of Defense and Energy

Our Departments of Defense and Energy are also evolving their activities, focusing increasing resources on CTR efforts aimed at countering global WMD threats, while continuing and completing work in Russia and the FSU.

For example, the Department of Energy is working in approximately 90 countries to protect nuclear and radiological materials at civilian sites worldwide. They also support export controls, scientist redirection, and securing civilian nuclear materials through a growing Nonproliferation and International Security program. And although the Department of Defense continues to focus its resources in the FSU, DOD is now working to expand its CTR program to address emerging proliferation threats on a global scale.

Given CTR’s successes in providing incentives to nations like Belarus and Libya that have abandoned their WMD programs, we know there is both a need and a value to continue expanding CTR programs in a way that will allow us to take advantage of emerging opportunities to engage states of proliferation concern. This capacity will be crucial to integrating states like the DPRK into the international community should that country abandon its WMD program in the future.

Multilateral Efforts

Now that I have outlined some of the U.S. CTR efforts in place today, I want focus my final remarks on multilateral methods we have for combating global WMD threats.

One such multilateral effort is the G8 Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction (also known simply as the G8 Global Partnership) – to which the United Kingdom has been a major contributor.

In addition to an expanding geographic focus for U.S. threat reduction activities, a more diffuse threat demands a strong multilateral response. Our diplomatic efforts are focused on building partnerships with allies such as the United Kingdom to promote coordinated and concrete action.

In particular, our continued mutual work through the G8 Global Partnership is vital to countering today’s global WMD threat. I want to stress that the G8 Global Partnership, which is actually made up of 23 partner nations, including the EU, remains the primary multilateral financial commitment to implement and coordinate chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear threat reduction activities globally – and it is set to end in 2012 if we do not act to extend it.

In 2002, at the G8 Summit in Kananaskis, in the wake of the September 11th attacks, the international community pledged up to $20 billion to forge the Global Partnership – a unique mechanism to address WMD threats posed by proliferant states and terrorists. The U.S. and the UK have been instrumental in continuing the work of the Partnership, and the U.S. is on target to meet its pledge of $10 billion over the original ten year span of the Partnership. A $20 billion commitment of funds from the 23 partners is an enormous achievement in international nonproliferation cooperation, unprecedented in its size and scope, as well as its unique and non-bureaucratic mechanisms for just simply getting the work done.

Since 2002, Global Partnership activities have been focused in Russia and the FSU, and completing ongoing activities is crucial. These activities focused predominately on the destruction of Russian nuclear submarines and destroying Russian chemical weapons. However, at the 2008 G8 Summit in Japan, the G8 leaders declared that the work of the G8 Global Partnership should be expanded on a world-wide basis to counter 21st century proliferation threats – it is time to make the Partnership truly “global”, as it was intended to be.

As G8 President in 2010, Canada is now seeking G8 commitment to extend the mandate of the G8 Global Partnership beyond 2012. The United States strongly supports such an extension of the G8 Global Partnership to ensure that this critical mechanism continues into the future, and to expand it geographically to address threats in regions of the world where terrorism and proliferation are on the rise. We also seek to expand the G8GP so that multilateral efforts can be focused on such areas as biosecurity threats, nuclear security, and scientist engagement. In addition to the $10 billion dollar, 10 year pledge made by the US to the G8 Global partnership in 2002, the U.S. is currently programming approximately $450 million in additional CTR funding per year for its efforts to reduce threats globally, as noted earlier.

It is our view that renewed funding for the Partnership will play a key role in promoting greater multilateral cooperation on global threat reduction activities.

1540

The Department of State also supports United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540 as a critical vehicle for preventing WMD proliferation. The resolution, for the first time, established binding obligations for all UN member-states to take steps to prevent the proliferation of WMD, their delivery systems, and related material.

The adoption of Resolution 1540 in April 2004 has led to significant, positive steps to prevent the development, use, and trafficking of WMD around the globe. Key international organizations such as the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Biological Weapons Convention, and the Financial Action Task Force have adopted portions of the mandate of UNSCR 1540 to guide their programs of work and act in concert with the 1540 Committee and Member States.

Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI)

The Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) is another key multinational effort to stop WMD trafficking. PSI-related activities enhance countries’ capacity to take action against shipments of WMD and their delivery systems, as well as the materials and technology to produce them.

To date, 95 countries covering six continents have publicly declared their commitment to the PSI. The cooperative efforts of PSI partners shrink the operating space of proliferators, thereby increasing the difficulty and cost of engaging in proliferation.

Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism

Launched in 2006, the goal of the Global Initiative is to prevent, detect and respond to nuclear terrorism through strengthened international cooperation and coordination. To date, 76 countries and 4 official observers have committed to implementing a set of principles aimed at reducing the threat of nuclear terrorism. These objectives include: deterrence, prevention, detection, and response.

The Global Initiative has conducted dozens of multilateral activities and five senior-level meetings, resulting in strengthened policies, enhanced information sharing techniques, and greater partner nation collaboration.

Conclusion

I want to close by highlighting the importance of all of these efforts in meeting the objective of a world where WMD materials and expertise are not accessible or utilized by those that would do us harm. Nothing makes clearer the priority placed by the United States on this objective than President Obama’s upcoming Nuclear Security Summit, which will bring together leaders from 44 countries to raise awareness about the threat of nuclear terrorism.

The Summit will highlight the importance of this issue to the leaders of the 43 invited nations, and will also encourage all nations to take effective measures to secure nuclear materials and prevent nuclear smuggling, all of which are essential to the President’s ambitious nuclear security agenda.

A key component to this important agenda is the four-year effort to secure vulnerable nuclear materials worldwide, announced by President Obama in 2009, as well as efforts to break up black markets, detect and intercept materials in transit, and use financial tools to disrupt illicit trade in nuclear materials.

We hope the Summit will raise awareness of nuclear security issues at the highest levels of government, reach a common understanding of the threat posed by nuclear terrorism, encourage governments to recommit themselves to securing the nuclear materials under their control, and reinforce existing mechanisms that support nuclear security. We also hope the Summit will reinforce the principle that all states are responsible for ensuring the best security of their own nuclear materials, for seeking assistance to do so if necessary, and providing assistance if asked.

In closing, let me just say that the 21st century proliferation threat is a global priority, and the success of bilateral and multilateral efforts to combat this threat is dependent upon our ability to work together in partnership with other nations to address this important challenge. Our success in this effort is of paramount importance, and we will continue to work closely with our partners in the UK to ensure that we bring all we have to bear to achieve that success.

 Once again, thank you for giving me this opportunity to speak with you today, and at this time I am happy to answer any questions you may have.



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