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Date:  March 6, 2009

Contacts:  Sara Frueh, Media Relations Officer

Edgar Acajabon, Media Relations Assistant

Office of News and Public Information

202-334-2138; e-mail <news@nas.edu>

 

for immediate release

 

Under White House Leadership, Cooperative Threat Reduction Programs

Should Be Revamped to Address 21st Century Threats

 

WASHINGTON -- The White House should lead the reformulation of U.S. Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) programs to focus on combating international terrorism and other current threats, says a new congressionally mandated report from the National Research Council.  The government's first CTR programs were created in 1991 to eliminate the former Soviet Union's nuclear, chemical, and other weapons and prevent their proliferation.  Originally designed to deal with immediate post-Cold War challenges, the programs must be expanded to other regions and fundamentally redesigned as an active tool of foreign policy that can address contemporary threats from groups that are that are agile, networked, and adaptable.

 
"A bold vision is again required," said Ronald F. Lehman, director of the Center for Global Security Research at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and co-chair of the committee that wrote the report.  "The Department of Defense and the entire federal government should re-examine what CTR has already accomplished and refocus efforts to promote global security engagement in the 21st century."  The report calls this new approach CTR 2.0.  "The programs need a broad upgrade to meet the magnitude of new security challenges, particularly at the nexus of WMD and terrorism," said co-chair David R. Franz, vice president and chief biological scientist at the Midwest Research Institute in Frederick, Md. 

 
Under the CTR 2.0 model recommended in the report, the White House should engage departments across the government -- not only those traditionally associated with security such as Defense, State, and Energy, but also departments often considered outside the security realm.  For example, the departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services and the Environmental Protection Agency could participate in CTR projects and should be given the appropriate legislative authority to support their involvement.  The U.S. also should engage the nongovernment sector -- academia, industry, and other organizations -- and seek international partnerships, including under the G8 Global Partnership Against Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction. 

 
The report recommends that Department of Defense CTR programs be an integral part of this new approach.  DOD should continue traditional CTR programs -- including completing current projects in Russia and the former Soviet Union -- and also expand into new activities, partnerships, and countries.  A geographic expansion of CTR would enhance U.S. national security and global stability, the report says.  A key to the United States' future security will be the ability to build a broader network of partners who are committed to enhancing global security; this network of partnerships can be a tripwire to warn the U.S. of potential dangers.

 
The report notes a wide array of possible opportunities to cooperate with other nations on threat reduction.  For example, many countries in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia may be willing to partner on efforts to bolster emergency and disaster preparedness, strengthen port security, and combat smuggling.  They may also be willing to partner in broadening efforts begun by DOD to improve disease surveillance and give early warning to the U.S. about potential biological attacks or disease outbreaks. 

 
The U.S. government's CTR programs have accomplished much, the report says.  For less than a total of 7 billion dollars over 15 years, the programs have deactivated thousands of nuclear warheads, neutralized chemical weapons, safeguarded fissile materials, converted weapons facilities for peaceful use, and redirected the work of former weapons scientists and engineers, among other efforts.  However, the report argues that current programs must be made more flexible and responsive, with a stronger focus on building partnerships with other nations and with international and nongovernmental organizations.  The report also highlights the role of personal relationships and professional networks in building trust and transparency.


Greater flexibility and authority should be given to those who plan and implement CTR projects to improve the projects' timeliness and effectiveness, the report says; contracting procedures also need to be streamlined.  In the past, heavy bureaucratic requirements often slowed the implementation of projects, and partner countries have sometimes interpreted these delays as a U.S. reluctance to collaborate.  And new ways to gauge the success of projects will be needed given the heightened focus on partnerships and relationship-building, which contribute directly to national security but which are more difficult to measure than the number of weapons destroyed. 

The report was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense.  The National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and National Research Council make up the National Academies.  They are private, nonprofit institutions that provide science, technology, and health policy advice under a congressional charter.  The Research Council is the principal operating agency of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering.  A committee roster follows.

 

Copies of Global Security Engagement: A New Model for Cooperative Threat Reduction are available from the National Academies Press; tel. 202-334-3313 or 1-800-624-6242 or on the Internet at http://www.nap.edu.  Reporters may obtain a copy from the Office of News and Public Information (contacts listed above).  In addition, a podcast of the public briefing held to release this report is available at http://national-academies.org/podcast.

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[ This news release and report are available at http://national-academies.org ]

 

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL

Division of Policy and Global Affairs

Committee on International Security and Arms Control

 

Committee on Options for Strengthening and Expanding the

Department of Defense Cooperative Threat Reduction Program

 
David R. Franz (co-chair)
Vice President and Chief Biological Scientist
Midwest Research Institute
Frederick, Md.

Ronald F. Lehmann II (co-chair)

Director

Center for Global Security Research
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Livermore, Calif.

 

Robert B. Barker

Nuclear Weapons Designer (retired)

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Livermore, Calif. 

 

William F. Burns

Former Director

U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency

Washington, D.C; and

Former Commandant
U.S. Army War College
Carlisle, Pa.

 

Rose E. Gottemoeller

Director

Carnegie Moscow Center

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Moscow


John J. Hamre

President and CEO
Center for Strategic and International Studies

Washington, D.C.

 

Robert G. Joseph

Senior Scholar  

National Institute for Public Policy

Fairfax, Va. 

 

Orde Kittrie

Associate Professor

College of Law

Arizona State University

Tempe

 

James W. LeDuc
Director, Program on Global Health
Institute for Human Infections and Immunity

University of Texas Medical Branch

Galveston

 

Richard W. Mies

Private Consultant

Fairfax Station, Va.

 

Judith Miller

Independent Consultant

Manhattan Institute

New York City

 

George W. Parshall

Former Director of Chemical Sciences

E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Co. (retired)

Wilmington, Del. 

 

Thomas R. Pickering

Vice Chairman          
Hills and Company

Washington, D.C.

 

Kim K. Savit

Consultant
International Business Manager

Intelligence, Security and Technology Group,
Science Applications International Corporation and Adjunct Professor

University of Denver

Denver

 

RESEARCH COUNCIL STAFF

 

Anne Harrington

Study Director

 

Rita Guenther

Senior Program Associate

 

Benjamin Rusek

Senior Program Associate