[Senate Hearing 108-52]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
S. Hrg. 108-52
NONPROLIFERATION PROGRAMS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE
COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS
UNITED STATES SENATE
ONE HUNDRED EIGHTH CONGRESS
MARCH 19, 2003
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COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS
RICHARD G. LUGAR, Indiana, Chairman
CHUCK HAGEL, Nebraska JOSEPH R. BIDEN, Jr., Delaware
LINCOLN CHAFEE, Rhode Island PAUL S. SARBANES, Maryland
GEORGE ALLEN, Virginia CHRISTOPHER J. DODD, Connecticut
SAM BROWNBACK, Kansas JOHN F. KERRY, Massachusetts
MICHAEL B. ENZI, Wyoming RUSSELL D. FEINGOLD, Wisconsin
GEORGE V. VOINOVICH, Ohio BARBARA BOXER, California
LAMAR ALEXANDER, Tennessee BILL NELSON, Florida
NORM COLEMAN, Minnesota JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER IV, West
JOHN E. SUNUNU, New Hampshire Virginia
JON S. CORZINE, New Jersey
Kenneth A. Myers, Jr., Staff Director
Antony J. Blinken, Democratic Staff Director
C O N T E N T S
Biden, Hon. Joseph R., Jr., U.S. Senator from Delaware, opening
Curtis, Hon. Charles B., president and chief operating officer,
Nuclear Threat Initiative, Washington, DC...................... 56
Prepared statement........................................... 60
Gottemoeller, Hon. Rose E., senior associate, Carnegie Endowment
for International Peace, Washington, DC........................ 49
Prepared statement........................................... 51
``Search and Destroy, The Mission to Find Unsecured Weapons of
Mass Destruction Before Terrorists Do,'' an articled from
Reader's Digest, April 2003, submitted for the record by
Senator Richard G. Lugar....................................... 87
Smithson, Amy E., Ph.D., senior associate, The Henry L. Stimson
Center, Director, Chemical and Biological Weapons
Nonproliferation Project, Washington, DC....................... 63
Prepared statement........................................... 66
Stratford, Mr. Richard J.K., Director, Nuclear Energy Affairs,
Bureau of Nonproliferation, Department of State, prepared
Responses to additional questions for the record from Senator
Wolf, Hon. John S., Assistant Secretary of State for
Nonproliferation; accompanied by: Richard J.K. Stratford,
Director, Nuclear Energy Affairs, Bureau of Nonproliferation,
Department of State, Washington, DC............................ 5
Prepared statement........................................... 9
Inter-agency Cleared Questions and Answers on the Waste
Convention, March 19, 2003................................. 16
Responses to additional questions for the record from Senator
Responses to additional questions for the record from Senator
NONPROLIFERATION PROGRAMS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 19, 2003
Committee on Foreign Relations,
The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 9:33 a.m. in room
SD-419, Dirksen Senate Office Building, Hon. Richard G. Lugar
(chairman of the committee), presiding.
Present: Senators Lugar, Sarbanes, Feingold, and Bill
The Chairman. This hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations
Committee is called to order. Today, the committee meets to
receive testimony on nonproliferation programs in the fiscal
year 2004 budget request of the Department of State.
The United States is engaged in a global war against
terrorism. The war proceeds in a world awash with nuclear,
chemical, and biological weapons and materials of mass
destruction. Throughout much of the past decade, vulnerability
to the use of weapons of mass destruction has been a No. 1
national security dilemma confronting the United States. We are
poised to use massive military force in Iraq in response to the
threat of weapons of mass destruction.
Terrorist organizations have demonstrated suicidal
tendencies and are beyond deterrence, and we must anticipate
they will use weapons of mass destruction if allowed the
opportunity. The minimum standard for victory in this war is
the prevention of any of the individual terrorists or terrorist
cells from obtaining weapons or materials of mass destruction.
In September 2002, President Bush stated that, ``Our
enemies have openly declared that they are seeking weapons of
mass destruction, and evidence indicates that they are doing so
with determination,'' from the President. Less than 1 month
later, the administration released its national strategy to
combat weapons of mass destruction, which declares that
strengthening nonproliferation programs is vital to our
For more than 11 years, the United States has been engaged
in efforts through the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction
Program to address proliferation at its most likely source, the
former Soviet Union. Through these efforts, more than 6,000
warheads have been deactivated, numerous storage locations have
been secured, and tens of thousands of former weapons
scientists have been employed in peaceful endeavors.
We have come further than many thought we could, but much
more needs to be done, and it needs to be done quickly. When
the Nunn-Lugar program was conceived, the terrorist threat was
real, but it appeared distant. Now we live in an era when
catastrophic terrorism is our foremost security concern. We
must not only accelerate weapons dismantlement efforts in
Russia, we must broaden our capability to address proliferation
risks in other countries and attempt to build a global
coalition against the proliferation of weapons of mass
Last year, I introduced legislation to facilitate the use
of the Nunn-Lugar program outside the former Soviet Union. The
restrictions that limit cooperative threat reduction to the
former Soviet Union are an unacceptable hindrance to our
national security. The President must have the ability to
respond to threats posed by weapons of mass destruction
anywhere in the world.
For fiscal year 2004, the Department has requested $385.2
million for the Nonproliferation, Antiterrorism, De-mining, and
Related Programs account. This is a slight increase over fiscal
year 2003. I am hopeful that funding for this critical account
can be enhanced.
Within the NADR account, the Nonproliferation and
Disarmament Fund, NDF, has made tremendous contributions to
United States national security. Just last year, NDF managed
the removal of more than a hundred pounds of highly enriched
uranium from the Vinca research reactor in Belgrade. The
program has destroyed 24 SS-23 missiles, 47 SCUD missiles, and
50 FROG, or intermediate-range, rocket systems. And the
administration has requested $35 million for the program in
fiscal year 2004, up from $14 million in fiscal year 2003. This
increase reflects the need for funds in a new NDF program, the
Dangerous Materials Initiative. This program will focus on
identifying, securing, and removing dangerous materials from
locations worldwide, and this proposal has been dubbed a pilot
effort, and, if successful, should be made permanent.
Another important program in the NADR account is the
International Science and Technology Centers. Tens of thousands
of Russian weapons scientists have been employed by the United
States in peaceful pursuits under this program. And if Russian
weapons experts are placed in a position of economic
desperation, they are more likely to sell their services
elsewhere. I have encouraged U.S. corporations to explore the
possibility of investing in Russian laboratories. This would
complement our work to provide Russian weapons scientists with
long-term employment options. I look forward to working with
the Department to improve these important initiatives.
Last, I am hopeful that the committee will soon receive the
State Department's views on the Nuclear and Radiological Threat
Reduction Act of 2002. This bill, offered by Senators Biden,
Domenici, and myself, provides a strategy for addressing so-
called dirty bombs. A CIA assessment released last January
called the use of radiological materials ``a highly credible
threat.'' We want to join with the Department to provide
legislative authority that will assist in preventing the
terrorist use of radiological weapons.
In sum, we have an opportunity to reduce the threat of
former Soviet weapons of mass destruction left over from the
cold war, and I applaud the efforts underway at the Department
of State to create new tools to address the threats posed by
weapons of mass destruction. Likewise, efforts by Secretary
Abraham and his team at the Department of Energy to expedite
and intensify programs to safeguard nuclear weapons and
materials are succeeding. Despite bureaucratic obstacles, time
lines measuring the provision of equipment and expertise to
protect the materials at Russian storage facilities, these have
been accelerated by a full 2 years over previous plans, and
this demonstrates a tremendous progress in just the last 6
months. Historically, no great power has ever possessed such an
opportunity to work with a former adversary in removing the
threat that confronts both of them. Statesmanship and patience
will be required over many years.
We appreciate, especially, the witnesses who have come
before us today. They possess extraordinary expertise about the
proliferation threats that we face and the steps we can take to
protect our Nation.
The committee will hear from two panels. First of all, we
will have before us John Wolf, Assistant Secretary of State for
Nonproliferation, and he will present the administration's
budget request for these key programs. Then, on the second
panel, we will have three witnesses, the Honorable Charles S.
Curtis, president and CEO of the Nuclear Threat Initiative and
a former Deputy Secretary of Energy; Rose Gottemoeller, senior
associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and
a former Deputy Under Secretary of Energy for Nuclear
Nonproliferation; and Amy Smithson, a senior associate of the
Stimson Center. We welcome all of you.
And before I ask Secretary Wolf to testify, I will ask
unanimous consent and grant it that Senator Biden's statement
be made a part of the record at this point.
[The opening statement of Senator Biden follows:]
Opening Statement of Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr.
Mr. Chairman, let me begin by thanking you for holding today's
hearing. The proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons,
and the means to deliver them, is at the heart of the worst threats to
United States security today.
It may be the threat of Iraqi nerve gas that keeps you up at night,
or North Korean nuclear weapons, or terrorists making ricin and cyanide
in the basement.
But the basic threat--and it's a real threat--is the same: weapons
of mass destruction in the hands of people who are crazy enough to use
them. We can debate over how to combat that threat, but there is no
doubting the gravity of that threat today.
The first line of defense against proliferation is to keep people
from getting the materials and technology for weapons of mass
destruction in the first place.
That's what the Nunn-Lugar program in the Department of
Defense will do by building a plant to destroy 1.9 million
Russian munitions filled with chemical weapons.
That's what the Materials Protection, Control and Accounting
program in the Department of Energy does by improving security
for Russia's plutonium and highly enriched uranium.
And that's what the State Department's International Science
and Technology Centers, its Bio-Redirect Program, a related
Energy Department program, and the Cooperative Research and
Development Foundation all do by funding Russian projects that
employ weapons scientists in work that could lead to productive
These programs aren't cheap; we spend over a billion dollars a year
But that's a drop in the bucket compared to the cost of enduring
chemical, biological, nuclear or radiological attacks on our homeland
or on our forces overseas.
One big question is whether a drop in the bucket is enough. The
administration is gradually increasing our non-proliferation efforts,
having gotten religion after threatening for a year to cut those
programs. But most of the increase is going into a couple of big-ticket
items like chemical weapons destruction and plutonium disposition.
Meanwhile, our other programs just jog along. That's fine in a
marathon. But it won't do, if a herd of bulls is chasing you. I wish
the administration would view our non-proliferation programs with as
much urgency as it does Saddam Hussein.
If we don't bottle up Russia's dangerous materials and
if we don't retrieve the highly enriched uranium in research
reactors around the world,
if we don't find and secure the countless ``orphaned''
radiological sources around the world, and
if we don't convince proliferators from Russia and China to
North Korea, Pakistan and Iran to obey world-wide norms on non-
proliferation,then there will be many more Saddam Husseins to
contend with in the months and years to come.
Today's hearing is an opportunity to hear from the Honorable John
Wolf, Assistant Secretary of State for Non-Proliferation, on what's
working in non-proliferation, what's not working, and why we're not
It's also an opportunity for our three distinguished outside
experts to address those same questions and to give their
recommendations on where and how to increase our efforts so as to stem
the tide of proliferation.
As we consider our non-proliferation programs, however, we all know
that they function in the context of our non-proliferation policies. In
my view, those policies have been slow in coming and deficient in
I'm not speaking about Iraq here. While I have criticized the
President for not doing a better job of gaining international support
for disarming Saddam Hussein, I also understand how difficult it is for
any American leader to deal with the deep cynicism that prevails in
much of the world.
All Americans hope that the President and our men and women in
uniform will succeed, and that any war will be swift, decisive, and
liberating for the Iraqi people.
But I am speaking, in part, about North Korea. In 2001, the
administration inherited a policy under which North Korea had ended its
plutonium production and was negotiating to put an end to its long-
range ballistic missile programs.
Today, after two years of indecision between a policy of engagement
and one of increased pressure, the issue of North Korea's illegal
uranium enrichment program has led to an extremely dangerous situation.
North Korea has resumed its previously-suspended nuclear
activities, while saying that only direct negotiations with the United
States can remedy this. It could, at any moment, begin to reprocess the
spent nuclear fuel that was safeguarded under the Agreed Framework.
If it does that, it could have enough material for another half
dozen bombs within months--
enough that it could test a nuclear weapon;
enough that it could make the use of nuclear weapons part of
its military doctrine, which it could not safely do with only 1
or 2 untested weapons; and
worst of all, perhaps enough that it would decide to sell a
weapon or two, or some of its plutonium.
Meanwhile, the administration waits for the war in Iraq to begin
and end. It also waits for our allies--all of whom want us to begin
talking with North Korea--to instead pressure North Korea to accept
negotiations within a multilateral framework, where they could join us
in pressuring it to give up its weapons programs.
I hope the administration succeeds. I urge North Korea to accept a
multilateral forum for talks with the United States, I think a deal is
possible that would satisfy both parties.
But I worry that the administration's years of putting North Korea
on the back burner--and its current insistence that other countries
must pressure North Korea before we will sit down to talk--leave us
little margin in which to avoid the twin risks of a military conflict
in Korea or a future nuclear catastrophe.
I hope that other countries, like Iran and Libya, will not draw the
lesson that Iraq's only mistake in dealing with us was its failure to
develop nuclear weapons quickly.
I worry that they, and other countries as well, may develop full
fuel cycles, under old-style IAEA safeguards, as a means to get within
months of having a nuclear weapon before renouncing the Nuclear Non-
Proliferation Treaty as North Korea has done.
Most of all, I hope that we will see someday a real non-
proliferation strategy, one that accepts the urgency of the situation
and orchestrates our policies and capabilities in a realistic manner.
Opposing proliferation is not enough, even though we all do
Increasing our non-proliferation programs will not be
enough, even though I think it is essential to do that.
And neither is it enough to build a missile defense or threaten
retaliation, when a terrorist nuclear device is more likely to show up
in an anonymous ship or a U-Haul.
There are no easy answers here. But surely we should recognize that
effective non-proliferation depends vitally upon cooperation among a
large range of countries.
Surely we should understand that if the United States offends its
allies and others with a ``go it alone'' approach in one sphere, that
only makes it more difficult to gain the cooperation we need to stem
the flow of dangerous equipment and technology world-wide.
If Assistant Secretary Wolf has difficulty getting other countries
to work with us, he may be paying the price for actions he had nothing
to do with, on issues ranging from global warming to the Biological
We meet at a time when the future is far from clear. One thing that
is clear, however, is that non-proliferation will remain a vital issue
for the United States and the world. I welcome the opportunity that
this hearing gives us to address that issue, and I thank you again, Mr.
Chairman, for putting together this important hearing.
The Chairman. And we welcome the fact that Senator Biden is
participating. We wish him continued strength. And he is
recovering rapidly, and will be vigorously before panels before
Let me now call upon you, Assistant Secretary Wolf, for
your testimony. If you have a statement, it will be made a part
of the record in full, and please proceed as you wish.
STATEMENT OF HON. JOHN S. WOLF, ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE
FOR NONPROLIFERATION; ACCOMPANIED BY: RICHARD J.K. STRATFORD,
DIRECTOR, NUCLEAR ENERGY AFFAIRS, BUREAU OF NONPROLIFERATION,
DEPARTMENT OF STATE, WASHINGTON, DC
Mr. Wolf. Thank you very much. When you talk about
expertise, of course, I defer to you, sir for the remarkable
contribution you have made over more than a dozen years, both
in terms of the concepts that you have put forward and in terms
of the momentum that you have helped to give to us in the
The Chairman. I would include my partner, Sam Nunn, in
Mr. Wolf. And I would also include Senator Biden, as well.
The Chairman. Yes, indeed. Thank you.
Mr. Wolf. Mr. Chairman, thank you for including my full
statement in the written record. I would like to make a few
Thank you for inviting me to present our plans to combat
proliferation. The situation, though, is not good; and, in
fact, it is getting worse. So I am here today to tell you about
some of the problems, as we see them, and to describe what we
are doing about the spread of weapons of mass destruction,
missiles, and advanced conventional weapons, and also, of
course, to hear your thoughts and those of the committee.
Guarding against the dangers of the proliferation problem
lies at the core of every government's most basic obligation,
to protect the security of its citizens. Today, more countries
than ever and more terrorists than ever have access or are
seeking access to weapons of mass destruction. South Asia has
crossed the nuclear threshold. Rogue regimes like North Korea,
Iran, Iraq, and Libya seek to replicate that ambition. With
globalization, there are more potential sources of sensitive
material and technologies, and countries that used to be buyers
of weapons materials and technology are now supplying such
materials to others. Real countries with real names and real
problems pose real security threats for us, for our allies, and
for our friends. My written statement covers several of the
countries mentioned, but I know the committee may have
questions on any of these or others.
Mr. Chairman, the reason why countries seek weapons of mass
destruction capabilities, so-called WMD weapons, are, I
suppose, many. Some feel it is their right. Others feel this
will give them a qualitative edge against larger or better-
armed neighbors. Doubtless, some believe that this makes them
invulnerable against the United States and others who share our
belief in democracy, open markets, religious tolerance, and
ethnic pluralism. Whatever the reason, we want to convince them
otherwise. If we cannot convince them by diplomacy, then we are
committed to working with our allies and our friends to do what
is necessary to protect our citizens from the threats they
And here is some of what we are doing. First of all, we are
focusing on the still sizable residual dangerous material
stocks from the massive weapons programs of the former Soviet
Union. Twelve years ago, this committee launched several
initiatives, including the Cooperative Threat Reduction
programs which you and Senator Nunn cosponsored. Congress also
enacted the Freedom Support Act and stronger nonproliferation
authorities under the Foreign Assistance Act. The Departments
of Defense, Energy, and State, among others, have locked down
many threats, as you mentioned, Mr. Chairman, that arose from
the arsenal from the former Soviet Union. This administration
has accelerated funding for a number of projects, but there
remains much more still to do, and we must continue boldly on
We are spending nearly a billion dollars a year to improve
security at Russian storage facilities, to consolidate stored
fissile materials, to stop new production, and to purchase or
blend down former nuclear weapons material to reduce supply. My
State Department team provides the diplomatic lead for several
threat reduction programs of the Department of Defense and
Just last week, Energy Secretary Abraham signed the
Plutonium Production Reactor Agreement, which will lead to the
permanent closure of Russia's three plutonium production
facilities. The State Department itself runs the International
Science Centers in Russia and Ukraine. They employ former
Soviet weapons scientists in peaceful commercial projects to
reduce the temptation for those scientists to hire themselves
out to proliferators. Russian scientists in one project with
the U.S. Public Health Service have identified two antiviral
compounds potentially effective against smallpox. A Defense
project on pathogen security is making important research
advances on alternatives to blocking smallpox. And we are using
$30 million that the Congress gave us in last June's Defense
supplemental to convert biological weapons factories. American
firms can play a role, and we are pleased at the interest that,
for instance, Eli Lilly, from your State, sir, has shown in
producing medicines at one of these facilities.
Beyond Russia and the states of the former Soviet Union,
the State Department runs the Nonproliferation and Disarmament
Fund, NDF. It tackles, as you mentioned, some of the tough,
urgent problems such as the removal of highly enriched uranium
from Vinca, near Belgrade, to safe storage in Russia, and the
destruction of missiles in Bulgaria. This is a photograph \1\
of electronic and guidance components from an SA-23 missile
that was destroyed in Bulgaria. That is the end result we want
for a variety of weapons systems.
\1\ The photographs and chart referred to during Assistant
Secretary Wolf's testimony can be found on pages 29-31.
NDF has created ``tracker,'' a computer system that enables
nine countries and 66 ministries to inventory and account for
weapons-sensitive exports. We are asking substantial increases
for NDF to build on NDF's strong record of accomplishment,
possibly including speeding up the removal of highly enriched
uranium from Soviet-supplied research reactors. There are a
number outside of Russia and the former Soviet Union, Soviet-
supplied research reactors, and we need to accelerate progress.
We are working with the Department of Energy on that.
NDF also will help underwrite our new worldwide Dangerous
Materials Initiative. We seek projects that have the highest,
most effective impact in controlling the production, storage,
transit, and custody of materials that can be used for weapons
of mass destruction. Here we have an example of radiation
detection equipment installed at the Turkish/Armenian border.
It looks simple, but it is effective, and we are doing that all
across Central Asia and parts of Europe.
Allow me to cite briefly two other areas where my Bureau
spends the money appropriated to it by Congress. One is the
Export Control and Border Security Program. We are running
programs in 35 countries. As this chart illustrates, we have
broadened out from Central Asia to include new programs in
Eastern Europe, the Baltics, South Asia, and Southeast Asia.
These programs are important, and they help our partners to
control the flow of dangerous technologies in the most
dangerous parts of the world. My written statement goes on at
some length about the work that we are doing on export controls
in a variety of places, whether the Baltics, the Mediterranean,
South Asia, or Southeast Asia.
The other area is our partnership with the International
Atomic Energy Agency, the IAEA. Its safeguard programs aim to
ensure that civilian nuclear facilities remain exactly that,
civilian. And to enable the IAEA to ferret out covert weapons
efforts, we are prepared to back tough safeguards with
increased funding. But let me be frank. We are looking for
tough, non-nonsense performance by the IAEA. If it is to have
credibility as a guardian of the NPT regime, the IAEA will have
to be more hard-edged in reporting violations. And the
international community, all of us, will also need to be much
more focused in fashioning political responses early to the
challenges that we face.
Mr. Chairman, the State Department projects that I have
just described are only part of what we are trying to do to
keep bad stuff out of the hands of the wrong people. We are
working with our partners around the globe, because
proliferation is an international problem. First, the bedrock
of countering the nuclear threat remains adherence to the
Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. As I said earlier, the news
has been grim from a nonproliferation point of view in South
Asia, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, and a variety of other
countries. The latter are inside the NPT. The South Asians were
never under the NPT. But most of the 188 countries inside the
NPT have made irrevocable decisions to forego the nuclear
option. South Africa, Brazil, and Argentina actually turned
back from nuclear weapons capabilities. Ukraine, Kazakhstan,
and Belarus have abandoned the nuclear weapons they inherited
at the fall of the Soviet Union, and they will stick firmly by
the treaty, and the IAEA safeguards programs necessary to give
confidence to it.
I would like to talk for a moment about South Asia. There
are two very different countries with which we are pursuing
boldly different relationships. Each poses special
opportunities, and each poses special challenges. We need to
take account of the unique situation posed by their possession
of nuclear weapons.
From my perspective, ongoing tensions in South Asia make
especially important those countries' controls on sensitive
technologies. We are also mindful of the risk that nuclear
weapons could be used either intentionally or accidentally in a
crisis. We discuss these issues regularly with officials from
both countries, and I convey our concerns and I have helped
propose possible solutions whenever I meet with my Indian and
Pakistani counterparts. In all of our actions in South Asia, we
continually weigh our mutual interests in cooperation against
our obligations under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, the
Atomic Energy Act, and our membership in the Nuclear Suppliers
Others at the State Department shepherd U.S. participation
under the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Biological
Weapons Convention, but my bureau leads active efforts in other
multilateral nonproliferation regimes that address weapons of
mass destruction--the Australia Group, the Zangger Group,
Nuclear Suppliers Group, Missile Technology Control Regime, and
Wassenaar for conventional weapons. Each of these regimes has
30 to 40 members. We are working to make them more effective at
stopping states and terrorist groups, international terrorist
groups, seeking WMD weapons and technologies.
Stronger regimes would be a plus, but it is not enough, in
part, because the regimes are mostly voluntary and they are not
legally binding. Frankly, too many states are engaging in
rhetorical hand-wringing, but too few are willing to match
their words with action. To protect their security interests,
and ours, others need to exercise greater scrutiny over their
exports, and they need to use their diplomacy more actively to
We have other tools to fight proliferation. One is
interdiction. It is not a panacea; but, where properly planned
and executed, it can help to stop proliferating countries or
terrorists from getting new weapons, or at least can slow them
A second tool is sanctions. These are useful in deterring
proliferation, but they rest on a crazy quilt of overlapping
authorities that we would like to work with you to consolidate
A third tool is the positive measures, such as the
commitment of G-8 leaders last summer at Kananaskis. Leaders
pledged to promote nonproliferation projects around the world,
starting with Russia, to advance safety at nuclear facilities
and to cutoff terrorist access to WMD materials.
Our nonproliferation efforts, Mr. Chairman, are a web of
laws, projects, policies, and practices. They must reinforce
each other. We must be quick to act when necessary.
Sir, I am gratified that you asked how the Congress can
strengthen what we are doing, and I have a couple of
suggestions. Obviously, I ask your support and the Congress'
support for the stepped-up funding for our programs in fiscal
year 2004. These requests address the ominous threat of
terrorist access to weapons of mass destruction. I would urge
your committee, as well, to support the President's proposal to
broaden Cooperative Threat Reduction spending authorities
beyond the former Soviet Union by allowing the President to use
those resources however and wherever he best can. And finally,
I would hope that the Congress would support the President's
request for permanent authority to waive the requirements for
CTR certification, for permanent authority on construction of
the Shchuch'ye chemical weapons destruction plant.
Mr. Chairman, we are all partners in nonproliferation. My
Bureau is in action on a variety of fronts. I would be happy to
describe that action in whatever additional detail would be
helpful to you and your committee.
Thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Wolf follows:]
Prepared Statement of Hon. John S. Wolf, Assistant Secretary of State,
Bureau of Nonproliferation, Department of State
I am pleased to have the chance to talk with you today about our
policies and initiatives on nonproliferation. I know we share a view
that weapons of mass destruction in the possession of hostile states
and terrorists are one of the greatest security challenges facing the
United States. Over eleven years ago, this chairman of this committee
showed extraordinary foresight in proposing the Nunn-Lugar authorities
to address a problem that has broadened and become more serious.
Since then, our nonproliferation policies and programs have come a
long way. Executive agencies have forged powerful partnerships in many
The Cooperative Threat Reduction program has partnered the
Departments of Defense, Energy and State on vital programs within the
former Soviet Union. These include programs managed by my own Bureau of
Nonproliferation (NP) in the Science Centers in Russia and Ukraine, and
the Nonproliferation and Disarmament Fund (NDF) projects and export
control assistance programs, which can operate worldwide. I will have a
few more words to say about other areas of interagency cooperation
later in my testimony.
We face a world in change, and in the nonproliferation world, this
change is not for the better. I'd like today first to offer some
thoughts about the worldwide situation we face. Will then describe some
of what we are doing about it.
Our challenges have multiplied in many worrisome ways since the end
of the Cold War. During the first 40 years following World War II, we
and our allies depended largely on deterrence and tight export controls
to limit the spread of dangerous weapons. Looking back, things seemed
more manageable--perhaps because the Soviet threat superseded all
Today, we face a substantially increased risk from countries and
international terrorist groups with access to chemical and biological
weapons, and at least several states with access to components and
technology for making nuclear weapons.
Nuclear issues have the most public visibility. The Nuclear
Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) remains the cornerstone of U.S. nuclear
nonproliferation policies, and we can take some satisfaction that, of
the 188 countries that are parties to the Nuclear Nonproliferation
Treaty, most have made irrevocable decisions to forego the nuclear
option. States like South Africa, Brazil and Argentina actually turned
back. Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus chose not to try to maintain the
nuclear weapons that were left on their territories following the
Soviet Union's collapse.
However, we can no longer say we have held the line at five nuclear
armed states. South Asia has crossed the nuclear threshold. So too
apparently has North Korea. Iraq, Iran, and Libya are among the list of
nuclear wannabees. These wannabees seek nuclear weapons capabilities
even though they are all parties to the NPT.
We are determined to do what it takes to push back their efforts.
We need to get this right. Failure to arrest nuclear proliferation
would profoundly affect U.S. and allied defense interests and policies.
Curbing supply of dangerous technologies, including nuclear
technology, is made more difficult by the ambivalent approach of many
governments in Europe and Asia. While combating proliferation is, for
us, a central, focusing national security issue, many others trade off
concerns about the spread of WMD against economic and political
interests. For us, though, we clearly see a threat--from real
countries, with real names, and real capabilities, capabilities which
pose real security problems for the U.S. and our allies and friends.
Iraq is a unique threat; and one the President is determined to see
ended. For twelve years, Saddam Hussein has reneged on his disarmament
commitments and defied the international community by continuing to
produce prohibited weapons of mass destruction and delivery systems.
That defiance will now end. We are resolved to eliminate Iraq's ability
to use WMD to threaten its neighbors, our friends and allies, and our
interests. And we are determined not to wait until it is too late.
Some ask why disarming Iraq is more urgent than resolving North
Korea's nuclear threat. The facts are different, and so too should be
our policies. While all options are on the table, we will be patient
yet deliberate in working for de-nuclearization of the Korean
Peninsula. We are working quite closely with our South Korean and
Japanese allies, with Russia, China and with the EU to seek a peaceful,
multilateral path to end the North's nuclear weapons program.
Iran is another proliferation problem--both for its indigenous
programs and for the risk of onward proliferation. Recent visits to
Iran by the IAEA have made all too clear what we have been saying
publicly and privately to counterparts in the EU, Russia, China, and
other countries in Asia--Iran has a sizable, heretofore clandestine,
effort to acquire capabilities that makes sense only as part of an
effort to produce fissile material for weapons. It has done this while
maintaining the pretense of adherence to its NPT safeguard obligations.
As I will expand on in a moment, we count on IAEA to be forthright
and forceful in identifying problems and safeguards violations, and we
expect it to insist on immediate action by Iran to end its clandestine
nuclear weapons programs. This is not just an IAEA problem; again the
international community must act in concert. All nations that have not
yet done so should sign the Additional Protocol. That would enhance
global security through more rigorous safeguards.
The situation in South Asia deserves special mention, as it is
quite different from the dangers posed by the rogue states. India and
Pakistan are two very different countries, with which we are pursuing
boldly different relationships. Each poses special challenges. We need
to take account of the unique situation posed by their possession of
nuclear weapons. From the NP Bureau perspective, ongoing tensions in
South Asia make especially important these countries' controls on
sensitive technology. We are also mindful of the risks that nuclear
weapons could be used, either intentionally or accidentally in a
crisis. We discuss these issues regularly with officials from both
countries: I convey our concerns and help identify possible solutions
whenever I meet with my Indian and Pakistani counterparts. But with
India, there are tough questions about how far we can go. We must
continually weigh our mutual interests in cooperation against our
obligations under the NPT, NSG, and the Atomic Energy Act.
In the face of such challenges, what's missing in today's
international debate is a sense of outrage; international standards of
acceptable conduct--embodied in treaties like the NPT and other
nonproliferation treaties--are being violated by countries and the
world is reluctant to impose consequences. I have said to my
colleagues, in Europe and India for instance, that what the rogue
states are demonstrating is a deep seated antipathy for our systems
based in law, religious tolerance, and respect for human rights and
ethnic pluralism. Today their target may be the U.S., but one can well
expect these states to strike out against all who share these values.
Against this grim backdrop, there is a risk that complacency,
inertia, and timidity are preventing the international community from
blocking attempted violations, or from reacting decisively to them.
Clearly, we cannot simply wring our hands and hope things will get
better. We have an active agenda, in partnership with a wide range of
other countries and international organizations, and unilaterally.
I have set five goals f or the Nonproliferation Bureau. They are:
Curbing the supply of material, equipment, and technology
for WMD and missiles to proliferators or terrorists;
Persuading states seeking to acquire WMD and missiles to
cease those efforts;
Maintaining and strengthening the international system of
nonproliferation treaties and regimes;
Promoting international nuclear cooperation under the
highest nonproliferation and safety standards; and
Containing the transfer of advanced conventional arms to
states of concern, and to terrorists.
We focus considerable attention on the need to stop leakage of WMD
expertise, sensitive materials and technology from the states of the
Former Soviet Union. Looking first at nuclear materials, it's axiomatic
that one cannot build a nuclear weapon without fissile material. Thus a
key part of our efforts relates to securing the hundreds of tons of
such materials present mainly in Russia and other states of the FSU.
The FY 2004 budget request currently before the Congress seeks about $1
billion for our Global Partnership effort in the former Soviet Union to
prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction. This request
includes $459 million for Department of Energy (DOE) programs to
prevent proliferation of nuclear weapons, material and expertise, $451
million for Department of Defense (DOD) Cooperative Threat Reduction
programs, and $81 million for Department of State programs to prevent
the spread of weapons of mass destruction and expertise.
Our goals for nuclear nonproliferation within this effort are to:
Improve security at Russia storage facilities;
Consolidate stored fissile materials;
Stop new production; and
Purchase or down-blend former nuclear weapons materials to
My bureau provides the diplomatic lead for several of the
nonproliferation and weapons reduction programs funded and implemented
by the Departments of Defense and Energy. Just last week, for example,
Secretary Abraham was able to sign the Plutonium Production Reactor
Agreement thanks in part to such support from the State Department.
Similarly, with Energy, we are leading the multilateral negotiations on
an agreement to finance Russia's plutonium disposition program.
We also oversee the U.S. Government's participation in the
International Science Centers in Russia and Ukraine. These provide
flexible platforms for engaging former Soviet WMD scientists and for
redirecting them toward peaceful, commercial projects, and away from
rogue states or terrorists. The centers also are used as partners when
needed to support other U.S. nonproliferation programs. The Defense
Department, for example, as a partner of the Moscow Center, contributed
assistance for pathogen security projects when it was unable to
negotiate an implementing agreement for such biological weapons
nonproliferation research projects in Russia.
The centers have had some notable successes. Russian scientists
regularly tell us that the prospect of working with the Center provides
them a genuine incentive to spurn offers from rogue states, and we
continue to receive reliable reports that such offers are being made.
Research done under the auspices of the Science Centers has produced
tangible benefits for Russia--and for us. One project, for example,
resulted in development of a high altitude laser which can detect leaks
from gas pipelines and is now under commercial development. Another has
identified new electronics applications for beryllium that allow a
shift from weapons to commercial manufacturing.
Recently, some of our biggest achievements have been in the bio-
medical sphere. In research jointly sponsored by State and the U.S.
Public Health Service, Russian scientists have identified two anti-
viral compounds that hold promise of effectiveness against smallpox. If
this effort bears fruit, we could have an important new tool in the
event our nation is ever exposed to attack with a smallpox virus.
Similarly, Russian researchers in the program are hard at work
developing kits for rapid diagnosis of West Nile, Newcastle, and Avian
flu. I am sure all members of this committee who have poultry producers
in your states understand the importance of reacting quickly to stop
Improved access is another important benefit of our engagement
programs. The economic advantages of participating in them are so great
that with time and persistence we have steadily reduced the number of
institutes closed to us. In recent months members of my staff were the
first Americans to receive a thorough tour of the Berdsk biologics
facility and the Vostok joint stock company facilities at Omutninsk.
They also were the first Americans to be received in any fashion at the
Institute of Toxicology in Saint Petersburg. The Kirov-200 facility you
tried to visit, Senator Lugar, still eludes us despite much effort. We
will not give up, however. We have developed good relations with
members of the local university and are now looking into the
feasibility of working with the EPA to site an environmental monitoring
In the coming year, we will continue our engagement efforts with a
significantly increased focus on chemical scientists, and we will
reform our efforts to better guide scientists to commercial self-
sustainability. This means in the first instance reorganizing the
Moscow and Kiev centers to clarify lines of authority and add staff
specialized in the marketing of scientific research. The $30 million
Congress provided in Defense Emergency Response Funds for FY 2002 for
conversion of former bio-production facilities will also play an
important part in the sustainability effort. We are using it to assist
such institutes to obtain western business development expertise and to
foster the formation of a bio-consortium led by the Moscow Medical
Academy to assist Russian biological researchers in marketing their
research. We will also, of course, help support American firms seeking
to invest in projects at these institutes. We are very grateful, in
particular, for the interest shown by the Eli Lilly company in
producing a drug at one of these institutes. We will assist and
encourage others to follow.
In the year ahead we will press this case with Russian authorities,
and we will insist on more access and bringing more institutes into the
tent. We want to establish a basis for real commercial partnerships
with U.S. industry, but progress has been slow, frustrated by Russian
bureaucracy and suspicion.
Another tool we use to curb supply globally is our Nonproliferation
and Disarmament Fund, for which the President has requested $35 million
in FY 2004, more than double the FY 2003 appropriation. NDF has tackled
tough, urgent, and often unanticipated problems on a worldwide basis.
In the recent past, it has negotiated and executed the removal of
Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) from Serbia, the destruction of missiles
in Bulgaria and the return from Cyprus of nuclear reactor parts en
route to the Middle East. The NDF has also led a successful
international effort to develop a state-of-the-art automated tracking
system referred to as Tracker designed to help governments strengthen
their control over sensitive exports or transshipments. Tracker has
been a key tool for engaging nearly two dozen countries--either as
design partners, current users, or in discussions of future
implementation. Now deployed throughout Central Europe to track
sensitive exports, this system is increasingly of interest to countries
in Western Europe and Asia as a means to track terrorists and to
monitor the movement of dangerous materials. The State Department is
closely coordinating this export control assistance tool with other
U.S. equipment assistance provided to these states. The State
Department is closely coordinating this export control assistance tool
with other U.S. equipment assistance provided to these states.
In the future, we expect the NDF to focus on urgent, unanticipated
opportunities to eliminate missile systems; destroy, secure and remove
biological pathogens; eliminate chemical agents and weapons; rescue
orphaned radiological sources; inventory and track dangerous materials;
assist countries in developing laws and regulations to control the
movement, storage, and security of dangerous materials; and encourage
countries in the Middle East and South Asia to use the Tracker system
and to assist with its development.
The NDF funding increases that we seek anticipate the substantially
accelerated effort we will make to work worldwide to help countries at
risk secure dangerous materials. We want to help countries establish
better accounting and control mechanisms to secure radioactive
materials, pathogens, and sensitive precursors, from the laboratory to
movement in internal and international commerce. This Dangerous
Materials Initiative (DMI) aims for synergies among U.S. Government
agencies and programs, and also with international partners and
At this point, we are not seeking separate funding for the DMI but
expect that the Nonproliferation and Disarmament Fund will be a major
resource, along with other U.S. assistance programs. Although still in
the design stage, we are aiming to encourage international support
under this umbrella at the G-8 Evian Summit in June, and we have
already started several small pilot projects to prove our concept and
to survey worldwide legal authorities for controlling dangerous
Another of our major programs to curb supply is centered in State's
Export Control and Related Border Security (EXES) Program. We provide
policy direction and coordination and draw on the expertise of the
Departments of Commerce and Energy, as well as Customs and Coast Guard
(now incorporated into the Department of Homeland Security). We also
work closely with the Department of Defense to coordinate our efforts.
We currently have active programs in some 30 countries, with 20
EXBS program advisors serving overseas engaging foreign officials on
ways to strengthen controls, directing training activities and
providing much-needed detection and enforcement equipment. In a number
of countries officials trained by EXBS or using EXBS-provided equipment
have seized sensitive goods or weapons components bound for countries
or programs of concern. U.S. export control assistance is largely
responsible for over a dozen European and Eurasian countries adopting
comprehensive export control laws that meet recognized international
Even before September 11, 2001, the EXBS program and its advisors
were active in key Central Asian countries, a factor that doubtless
paid unanticipated dividends when these countries were thrust into the
front line of the war against terrorism. Following September 11,
increased EXBS resources were focused on this strategic region to help
these countries, and key countries in the Caucasus as well, shore up
vulnerable borders and improve capabilities to deter, detect, and
interdict the transit of illicit goods and weapons.
In Europe, we are increasing EXBS assistance to the Baltics and
Southeastern Europe, and Mediterranean transshipment points like Malta
and Cyprus. All states, especially those with large ports, must do
their part to forestall the transit of dangerous materials and
Export controls can only succeed as a multilateral endeavor,
creating a network of controls that is capable not only of detecting
and interdicting illicit shipments but deterring them. In the last
twelve months, we have hosted major conferences and seminars for
European, Central Asian, Caucasus, Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian
countries. Countries have stepped forward to take new leadership roles,
provide training and equipment. Countries with inadequate controls are
committing to adopting new laws to strengthen them and devoting
increased resources to enforcement. Other governments are now talking
to each other about areas for cooperation in export controls and border
security, thereby complementing and reinforcing our efforts.
The State Department also works cooperatively with other, related
agency programs to synergize efforts abroad. For example, we have a
close working relationship with both the Department of Energy's
National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA), which funds and
manages the Second Line of Defense program that provides advanced
radiation detection equipment to foreign governments, and with Customs/
DHS, which has the lead on the Container Security Initiative (CSI)
designed to secure the supply line of cargo shipments destined for U.S.
ports. The State Department's Export Control and Related Border Control
Assistance (EXBS) program has worked with NNSA to support NNSA's
assessments of countries in which NNSA is considering providing
material assistance. NNSA experts perform repairs and maintenance on
radiation detection equipment previously provided under both Defense
and State programs. State is also working closely with U.S. Customs/DHS
officials to ensure that U.S. Government approaches to countries with
``megaports'' to join the Container Security Initiative are integrated
with our broader nonproliferation policy and with export control
outreach and assistance efforts we are carrying out in some of these
Our third goal, making the export control regimes stronger, is also
one on the supply side. As we noted in our response to last year's
examination of the regimes by GAO, the Administration is in process of
reviewing the nonproliferation regimes. Since September 11, anti-
terrorism has been adopted as a formal goal of the Australia Group,
Missile Technology Control Regime, Wassenaar Arrangement, and Nuclear
Suppliers Group. We have won Australia Group agreement to adopt catch-
all provisions and last year the Group issued its first export control
guidelines incorporating catch-all, setting the standard for the other
regimes. The Wassenaar Arrangement amended its dual-use export control
list to begin adding items specifically of concern for terrorists, and
this year is reviewing its controls on man-portable air defense systems
(MANPADS) like SA-7s and SA-18s with a view to further strengthening
In the year ahead we intend to push adoption of catch-all controls
and denial consultation in areas where they haven't yet been
implemented, continue to review control lists to make sure they are
keeping up with technology and the threat and, as always, look for ways
to strengthen implementation and enforcement. We are also working in
the NSG and MTCR on other ways to tighten further these agreements. We
will be sending to Congress soon a strategy report, prepared in
partnership with our colleagues in the Arms Control Bureau.
But while strong regimes are necessary, they are not enough. Most
are voluntary agreements, which aren't legally binding. I talked a
moment ago about the differences we have with Europe. I think we spend
too much time debating what I'd call ``architecture''--treaties,
arrangements etc.--and not enough time discussing how to put in place a
strong commitment to action to back up those fine words on paper. What
we're not doing enough of is taking concrete action to enforce
commitments more strictly and make proliferation more costly--
politically, and financially.
Tightening regimes and improved enforcement are part of the answer.
Many governments tell us about their export controls and laws. But what
counts is their willingness to enforce the laws, to make clear there is
a price for violating the law. Proliferators need to know they face
isolation and consequences if their efforts continue. Ending the threat
posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction will send a powerful signal
to other proliferators that the world will not stand idly by.
And, North Korea must not imagine it can blackmail the
international community. The world community has spoken on this in the
IAEA's report to the Security Council. As Secretary Powell said, ``The
United States stands ready to build a different kind of relationship
with North Korea, once Pyongyang comes into verifiable compliance with
its commitments. The North must be willing to act in a manner that
India and Pakistan and two very different countries with which we
are pursuing boldly different relationships. Each poses special
challenges. We need to take account of the unique situation posed by
their possession of nuclear weapons. From the NP Bureau perspective,
ongoing tensions in South Asia make especially important those
countries' controls on sensitive technology. We are also mindful of the
risk that nuclear weapons could be used, either intentionally or
accidentally in a crisis. We discuss these issues regularly with
officials from both countries. I convey our concerns and help identify
possible solutions whenever I meet with my Indian and Pakistani
counterparts. With India, there are tough questions about how far we
can go. We must continually weigh our mutual interests in cooperation
against our obligations under the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the NPT and
the Atomic Energy Act.
To help deal with determined proliferators not prepared to conform
to international standards, we employ a number of tools. One important
tool I mentioned earlier is the IAEA. The Agency has a vital role in
ensuring that civilian nuclear facilities are not diverted to weapons
purposes, ferreting out covert weapons efforts, and reducing the risk
of nuclear and radiological terrorism.
The IAEA underpins the basic bargain of the NPT--nonnuclear weapon
state access to nuclear technology in exchange for forgoing nuclear
weapons. In the current environment, where some non-nuclear weapon
states are violating the basic tenets of this bargain, the IAEA must
aggressively pursue every hint of questionable activity and frankly and
fully report to the world whenever safeguards are compromised or
The IAEA needs to be strong enough to alert us to tomorrow's
problems, wherever they occur. More than 70 countries have now signed
on to the Additional Safeguards Protocol, which provides the IAEA with
more information and broader access rights. But despite a large
expansion of responsibilities, the IAEA's budget has remained
essentially flat. That is why the United States is supporting the
Agency's efforts to increase its budget to implement its safeguards
responsibilities, working diplomatically with others to get them on
Beyond safeguards, IAEA has an important role in preventing nuclear
terrorism. After September 11, 2001, the IAEA moved quickly to develop
a comprehensive program to help states protect against acts of nuclear
and radiological terrorism. Just last week the Department of Energy,
working with IAEA and Russia, hosted a Conference to validate a new
work program to control radioactive sources. Part of our voluntary
contribution will support this important effort.
While regimes and institutions, such as the IAEA, can make
important contributions to halting the spread of WMD and WMD delivery
systems, they alone are simply not enough. The United States also has a
variety of tools to help us in these instances:
Interdiction: Where controls fail and international bodies are
unable or unwilling to act, interdiction is an option; properly planned
and executed, interception of critical technologies en route to
dangerous end users can make a difference. At a minimum, interdiction
can lengthen the time that proliferators will need to acquire new
weapons capabilities, and demonstrates our commitment to combat the
spread of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems. In
some instances, interdiction can prevent proliferators from acquiring
new capabilities. Procurement efforts are becoming increasingly
sophisticated, and our efforts to halt those procurements must keep
Sanctions: On sanctions, from our vantage point, companies have a
choice: sell to proliferators, or sell in the United States, but not
both. Where national controls fail, and where companies make the wrong
choice, there will be consequences. U.S. law requires it. That said,
U.S. legislation currently offers a crazy-quilt of overlapping
requirements that are difficult for foreign entities to understand
(which is required to deter them from misbehaving) and that are often
difficult to apply in a flexible manner to advance our nonproliferation
policies. We hope to be able to work with you to consolidate and
rationalize these important authorities.
Positive Measures: ``Sticks'' are an inescapable reality in fight
against proliferation. But carrots too can play a useful part.
The G-8 Leaders' agreement at the Kananaskis summit last June to a
new Global Partnership was an important step that reflects the shared
view that nonproliferation work remains under-funded. They embraced an
initiative to widen European and Japanese support to complement and
accelerate this process. G-8 leaders pledged to raise up to $20 billion
over ten years for nonproliferation, disarmament, counter-terrorism,
and nuclear safety projects to prevent WMD from falling into the hands
of terrorists or states who sponsor them.
Since the summit, Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and
International Security, John Bolton, has continued to lead U.S. efforts
to ensure the success of the initiative. The U.S. has so far carried
most of the burden. More cooperation is needed from Europe and Japan.
We want total G-8 commitments, by the Evian summit, to meet the $20
billion target. The Senior Officials Group continues to press Russia to
take concrete actions to meet donors' concerns about exemption from
taxation and adequate liability protections in order to move forward.
We also look to the business community, which has key interests in
stable foreign partners. The same protection of intellectual property,
and controls on illegal exports of technology, that they seek, are
important tools in the fight vs. proliferation. Good corporate
governance, transparency, the rule of law--both government and the
business community have a shared interest in seeing our partners
strengthen the institutions that make the international marketplace
transparent and predictable. Business itself prospers from a secure
But the most vital partnership of all is, of course, between the
Administration and the Congress. You give us the tools we need to take
on our vital mission through spending authorities and appropriations.
Since you have asked, Mr. Chairman, that I come today with ideas
for what Congress can do now to help strengthen our efforts, I would
like to offer some general proposals.
You encouraged us to think broadly and creatively. The President
has requested major funding increases this year to allow
nonproliferation programs to take advantage of new opportunities in the
post September 11 world. We of course seek your authorization of those
amounts, as well as the budget proposal for Science Centers and bio-
engagement, and our voluntary contribution to the IAEA.
The U.S. may very well be confronted with new requirements that go
beyond our existing authorities. So we urge the Congress to support the
President's proposal to broaden the current Cooperative Threat
Reduction spending authorities to permit use of up to $50 million of
CTR funds beyond the Former Soviet Union, allowing the President to use
those resources in the best way he can.
And, of course, I strongly urge Congress to support the President's
request that the authority to waive the requirements for CTR and Title
V of the Freedom Support Act certifications be made permanent. We also
strongly support permanent waiver authority to cover construction of
the Shchuch'ye chemical weapons destruction plant in Russia.
Nonproliferation is a Team Effort:
We are all partners in the worldwide effort to make the world
safer. There are many areas where the interlocking nature of the
challenges confronts us all.
Nonproliferation challenges are multiple and multiplying. We need
to focus on the meat of the issue, and not lose the forest for the
Enhancing nonproliferation dialogue with our worldwide partners is
essential to success. But dialogue is no substitute for concrete
action, and where dialogue fails we will use other means--whether
multilateral, plurilateral, or unilateral. That was at the heart of
President Bush's National Security Strategy.
There are lots of opportunities to make progress; it's up to us to
transform opportunity into reality.
Interagency-Cleared Questions and Answers on the Convention,
March 19, 2003
Question 1. What is the purpose of the Waste Convention?
Answer. The purpose of the Waste Convention on the Safety of Spent
Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management
(Waste Convention) is to achieve a high level of safety worldwide in
spent fuel and radioactive waste management. This is to be accomplished
through the enhancement of national measures and international
cooperation. It is anticipated that there will be a thorough
examination of national programs through an exchange of views, so that
Contracting Parties can learn from each other's solutions to common and
individual safety problems. The process is viewed as a mechanism for
contributing to improving worldwide safety.
Question 2. Is there a relationship between the purpose of the
Waste Convention and the Convention on Nuclear Safety (CNS)?
Answer. Yes. The CNS, which establishes a legal obligation on the
part of the Contracting Parties to apply certain safety principles to
the construction, operation, and regulation of civilian nuclear power
reactors, contains a preambular statement affirming a commitment by
Parties to develop a similar convention on the safe management of
radioactive waste. Together, the Waste Convention and the CNS formulate
a joint mechanism to strengthen the worldwide safety culture.
Both Conventions are consistent with U.S. policy. The United States
became a Contracting Party to the CNS on July 10, 1999 and signed the
Waste Convention on September 29, 1997.
Question 3. What is the scope of the Waste Convention?
Answer. The Waste Convention applies to the safety of spent fuel
and radioactive waste management resulting from civilian nuclear
applications. It also covers such issues as radioactive waste
management resulting from civil applications; disused sealed sources no
longer needed; operational radiation protection; management of nuclear
facilities; decommissioning; emergency preparedness; legislative and
regulatory frameworks; and transboundary movement. It does not include
naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORM), unless a Contracting
Party declares it as radioactive waste for the purposes of the Waste
Question 4. Does the Waste Convention apply to military radioactive
waste or spent nuclear fuel?
Answer. The Waste Convention does not apply to a Contracting
Party's military radioactive waste or spent nuclear fuel unless the
Contracting Party declares it as spent nuclear fuel or radioactive
waste for the purposes of the Convention. The Waste Convention would
apply to military radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel if and when
such material is permanently transferred to and managed within
exclusively civilian programs. The Waste Convention contains provisions
to ensure that national security is not compromised and that States
have absolute discretion as to what information is reported on material
from military sources.
In the United States, all military radioactive waste and spent
nuclear fuel is normally transferred to civilian programs for disposal.
The Waste Convention will not, however, affect ongoing U.S. military
operations in any way, nor will classified information be covered in
the U.S. national report.
Question 5. Does the Waste Convention lay out international
standards Contracting Parties must meet?
Answer. No. The Waste Convention in and of itself does not
delineate standards the Contracting Parties must meet. Contracting
Parties are required to take ``appropriate steps'' to ensure safe
management of spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste and to report on
their activities as described within the articles of the Waste
Question 6. What are the obligations of Waste Convention
Contracting Parties with respect to internationally endorsed standards
Answer. The Waste Convention obligates Contracting Parties to
consider internationally endorsed standards and criteria, however a
Contracting Party is not bound by them in setting national protective
methods and radiation standards which will govern even as to
Question 7. What are the Waste Conventions obligations with respect
to transportation and how do they relate to the International Atomic
Energy Agency (IAEA) Code of Practice on International Movement of
Answer. Waste Convention obligations regarding transboundary
movement are a restatement of relevant provisions of the non-legally-
binding IAEA Code of Practice on International Movement of Radioactive
Question 8. What are the implications of Article 27, Transboundary
``1(v): a Contracting Party which is a State of origin shall
take the appropriate steps to permit re-entry into its
territory, if a transboundary movement is not or cannot be
completed in conformity with this Article, unless an
alternative safe arrangement can be made.''
Answer. A State of origin must take the appropriate steps to permit
re-entry of a shipment that cannot be completed unless other safe
arrangements can be made. This avoids situations of stranded shipments.
The Convention recognizes that any State has the right to ban foreign
radioactive waste and spent fuel import into its territory.
``3(ii):. . . a Contracting Party to which radioactive waste
is exported for processing to return, or provide for the return
of, the radioactive waste and other products after treatment to
the State of origin;''
Answer. The Convention does nothing to prejudice or affect the
rights of the Contracting Party to return wastes to their State of
``3(iii): . . . a Contracting Party to export its spent fuel
Answer. The Waste Convention does nothing to prejudice or affect
this right. For U.S. origin fuel, other countries are required, under
the terms of the applicable Agreement for Peaceful Nuclear Cooperation
with the United States, to seek the consent of the United States prior
to the export for reprocessing of any U.S.-obligated spend fuel. The
Waste Convention has no effect upon these U.S. legal requirements nor
does it affect U.S. consent rights under Agreements for Peaceful
Most international or regional facility proposals focus on the
nuclear program in Taiwan and the Republic of Korea as potential
customers. Switzerland and Japan have also been mentioned. The United
States has retransfer consent rights on all the spent fuel on Taiwan
and much of the spent fuel in the ROK. The United States also has
certain consent rights over much of the fuel in Switzerland and Japan.
Question 9. Does the Waste Convention's obligation to minimize
radioactive waste generation limit a Contracting Party's nuclear fuel
Answer. No. Contracting Party obligations under the Waste
Convention do not limit a Contracting Party's nuclear fuel cycle
options or decisions to opt for higher enrichment or increased fuel
burn up, even if options selected may generate more waste than other
available options. The Convention explicitly states that this
obligation is to keep the generation of wastes to the minimum
practicable, consistent with the type of fuel cycle policy adopted.
Question 10. Does the Waste Convention obligate a Contracting Party
to obtain views, approval, or permission on the safety impacts of other
Contracting Parties in the vicinity of a proposed spent fuel or
radioactive waste facility?
Answer. No. Although Contracting Parties in the vicinity of a
proposed spent nuclear fuel or radioactive waste facility should be
consulted, and thus would have an opportunity to provide their views on
the facility's likely safety impact, there is no requirement to obtain
their views, approval or permission on the likely safety impact of a
nearby proposed facility.
III. IMPLEMENTATION PROCESS
Question 11. What are U.S. obligations under the terms of the Waste
Answer. Structured similarly to the Convention on Nuclear Safety,
the Waste Convention identifies a range of issues with respect to the
safe management of spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste and
Contracting Parties commit to take appropriate steps to address such
issues. The specific steps to be taken are left to each Contracting
Party's discretion. In addition, as a Contracting Party to the
Convention, the United States is obligated to submit a national report
and participate in the review meetings on measures taken to meet Waste
Convention commitments by the United States and other countries.
Question 12. Who represents the United States at the Review
meetings of the Contracting Parties?
Answer. As a Contracting Party to the Convention, the United States
would be represented by one delegate and any other alternates, experts,
advisers, or observers as the United States deems necessary.
The U.S. delegate would be a representative of the
Department of State.
U.S. Alternate delegates would be representatives of the
Department of Energy (DOE), the Nuclear Regulatory Commission
(NRC), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Experts and advisers may possibly be invited to be part of
the U.S. delegation if determined to be needed. It is a
possible, but not likely, that this could include
representatives from Non-Government Organizations (NGO),
industry, or utilities as appropriate. Intergovernmental
organizations may, as appropriate, be invited to attend a
meeting or session as an observer.
Question 13. The Convention entered into force June 18, 2001, 90
days after adherence by 25 signatories, including 15 which have an
operational nuclear power plant. According to Article 29, a preparatory
meeting is to be held not later than 6 months after entry into force.
Has a meeting been held and did the United States attend?
Answer. Yes, a preparatory meeting was held in December 2001. The
United States, not having ratified the Convention, was not in
attendance. An organizational meeting of the Contracting Parties is
scheduled for April 7, 2003. Although the United States cannot become a
Contracting Party by that time, it expects to participate in the
meeting if it has ratified the Waste Convention before that date. The
United States would need to be a Contracting Party to review national
reports of other States and participate in the November 2003 review
Question 14. What happened at the preparatory meeting?
Answer. In December 2001, the Contracting Parties met and agreed
upon the guidelines for the form and structure of national reports; the
guidelines for the review process; Rules of Procedure and Financial
Question 15. What role do U.S. Agencies and Departments play in the
Waste Convention process?
Answer. The Departments of State and Energy, the Nuclear Regulatory
Commission (NRC) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) all have
responsibilities in support of U.S. participation in the Waste
U.S. Department of State
The State Department's foreign policy responsibilities
include representation of the United States to, and conducting
negotiations with, other countries and international
organizations. These responsibilities also include
strengthening Congressional and public understanding of, and
support for, the goals, objectives, and approaches of the
President and the Secretary in the area of foreign policy.
International peaceful nuclear cooperation policy is primarily
a foreign affairs issue. For that reason, the State
Department's function, in implementation of the Waste
Convention, is to lead the U.S. delegation at meetings of the
U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)
Implementation of U.S. obligations under the Waste Convention
will be carried out primarily by the DOE as the U.S. agency
responsible for the safe storage, treatment, and disposition of
the majority of U.S. high-level radioactive waste, as well as
low-level radioactive waste generated by DOE. DOE is
responsible for the cleanup of the legacy waste from the Cold
War era. In this respect, DOE will be responsible for the
preparation of the U.S. national report and the representation
of this information. DOE will also be responsible, for working
with other U.S. agencies, in the proposal and strategy for U.S.
participation in the Waste Convention.
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
The NRC has responsibility for regulating all commercial
spent fuel storage and all spent fuel and high-level
radioactive disposal activities. NRC and/or Agreement States
(i.e., States to which the NRC has relinquished regulatory
authority over certain nuclear activities and facilities) also
have responsibility for regulating waste management for
commercial low-level radioactive waste. NRC's role in
implementation of U.S. obligations under the Waste Convention
is to provide information on the regulatory perspective for
spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste management for the
U.S. national report.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
EPA establishes generally applicable environmental standards
for protection of the general environment from radioactive
material. In addition, EPA has regulatory authority for
storage, management, and disposal of transuranic wastes at
DOE's Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP). EPA also is
responsible for implementation of the London Convention
provisions associated with prohibiting ocean dumping of
radioactive wastes. EPA's role in implementation of U.S.
commitments under the Waste Convention is to provide
information on the regulatory perspective for transuranic waste
management for the U.S. national report.
IV. NATIONAL REPORTS AND THE CONVENTION PROCESS
Question 16. What is the process by which the Contracting Parties
to the Waste Convention will review national reports?
Answer. Contracting Parties are to submit national reports
addressing measures taken to implement the obligations of the
Convention, their relevant national policies and factual information
about their facilities and materials. The Contracting Parties will hold
meetings for the purpose of reviewing national reports. The first
review meeting is to be held beginning November 3, 2003. The interval
between review meetings is not to exceed three years.
Question 17. How will the United States participate in the review
of national reports of other countries at the review meeting?
Answer. As currently proposed, the Contracting Parties are to be
organized into subgroups of five to seven countries with a Chairman,
Vice-Chairman, and a Rapporteur. The United States will be assigned to
a group. Membership of each group will be rotated from review meeting
to review meeting. In subgroup meetings, members will exchange national
reports for the purpose of conducting a detailed review. Each country
will have a reasonable opportunity to ask questions and request
clarification of reports submitted during meetings of the subgroups.
The Rapporteur will prepare a reporting document, which will be used as
the basis for a subgroup report to the Plenary Session.
Question 18. Will the United States have an opportunity to comment
on national reports from countries not in the U.S. assigned country
Answer. Yes. A Contracting Party has additional opportunities to
comment on national reports of all other Contracting Parties, by
sending written comments and questions before the review meeting, by
attending the subgroup meeting in which a particular report is
discussed, and by addressing a Plenary Session.
However, the United States must first become a Contracting Party to
be entitled to participate in the review of any Contracting Party's
national report, unless the IAEA and the Contracting Party voluntarily
permitted such a review.
The guidelines adopted at the preparatory meeting (December 2001)
propose that the Contracting States should review all country reports.
The review process allows formal comment by Contracting States on all
reports, whether inside or outside the reporting group.
Question 19. In the U.S. view, what countries have what problems?
Answer. There is a wide range of problems and differences between
States party to the Waste Convention. Some emerging nations have issues
associated with lack of regulatory systems and requirements. Laws and
regulations need to be structured to increase safety of spent fuel and
radioactive waste management if they do not exist. Not all countries
have operational nuclear power plants and spent fuel, their problems
will focus on waste management issues and disused sealed sources. Most
nations, including the United States, have difficulties siting disposal
Question 20. Will any activity under the Waste Convention,
including U.S. advice or comments on other country national reports
through the review process provide a basis for any U.S. liability?
Answer. It is unlikely that adherence to the Waste Convention could
provide a basis for United States government liability. The Convention
does not purport to affect international nuclear liability. Under the
Waste Convention, the responsibility for safety of spent fuel or
radioactive waste management rests with the Contracting Party which has
jurisdiction over the spent fuel or over the radioactive waste. The
Waste Convention provides for no private right of action and does not
waive the sovereign immunity of Contracting Parties.
Question 21. Under Article 32, Reporting, for 2(u) an inventory of
spent fuel that is subject to this Convention and that is being held in
storage and of that which has been disposed of. This inventory shall
contain a description of the material and, if available, give
information on its mass and its total activity; will the Russian
Federation report include spent fuel inventories?
Answer. Like the United States, the Russian Federation has not yet
become a Contracting Party. Once they complete their ratification
process and become a Contracting Party, the Russian Federation will be
subject to the terms of Article 32, including the requirement to report
its inventory of spent fuel held in storage or disposed of. Article 32
would also apply to any future regional or international repository in
the Russian Federation.
Question 22. Under Article 36, Confidentiality, what are the
implications for Congressional information interests?
Answer. Under the terms of Article 36, information will be
available, but its confidentiality is to be respected. The Convention
does not affect the rights and obligations of the Contracting Parties,
under their laws, to protect information from disclosure. This includes
a range from national security to industrial property protection. The
Contracting Party has exclusive discretion to denote ``information'' as
classified or otherwise controlled. The Administration will make
information available to the fullest extent possible. The Convention on
Nuclear Safety (CNS) will serve to some extent as a paradigm for
implementation of the Waste Convention.
Question 23. Will there be a review meeting summary report? Will it
be available publicly?
Answer. Yes. Under Article 34 of the Waste Convention, Contracting
Parties are obligated to adopt by consensus, and make available to the
public, a summary report addressing the issues discussed and the
conclusions reached during the meeting. However, no specific national
report will be identified, nor will details of debates be available.
The summary report is prepared from the subgroup Rapporteur reports.
V. U.S. NATIONAL REPORT PROCESS
Question 24. What is the process by which the United States will
prepare a national report?
Answer. Each Contracting Party is required to submit a national
report for review on measures taken to meet its commitments under the
articles of the Waste Convention, prior to the review meeting. The
United States will follow the guidelines for the form and structure of
national reports established by the Contracting Parties at the December
2001 preparatory meeting.
DOE will be the lead agency for preparation of the U.S.
national report in coordination with the NRC, EPA, and the
Department of State.
The U.S. national report form and structure will be closely
modeled after the U.S. national report submitted for the
Convention on Nuclear Safety, although the Waste Convention
elaborates on the content of the report in more detail than the
CNS. Appendices to the Report will include detailed data
tables. Generic summary documents, standard DOE, NRC, and EPA
documents, and other appropriate documents and reports will be
cited by reference.
An interagency working group (IWG), The Executive Steering
Committee for the Convention on Spent Fuel and Radioactive
Waste Convention, chaired by the Department of Energy, was
established for the purpose of coordinating U.S. Waste
Convention activities in anticipation of ratification and in
preparation for the review meetings. Other members include NRC,
EPA, and the Department of State.
Question 25. Will Agreement States and Low-Level Radioactive Waste
Compacts (Compacts are States that band together with a plan to have
one disposal facility per compact in a selected host State) (Compacts),
and others have an opportunity to review and comment on the U.S.
national report prior to submittal?
Answer. No formal opportunity for Agreement State or Low-Level
Radioactive Waste Compact review and comment of the U.S. national
report is expected prior to submittal to the IAEA. Likewise, there is
no obligation for review or comment on the part of any or all Agreement
States or Compacts to contribute or review the U.S. national report or
the report of any other Contracting Party.
Question 26. Will the Comptroller General and the General
Accounting Office have access to U.S. analyses and documents prepared
under the Waste Convention Process?
Answer. Yes. In accordance with the law.
Question 27. Once submitted, would the U.S. national report be
Answer. Yes. The U.S. national report will be made available to the
Question 28. Will other Contracting Party national reports be
available to the U.S. public?
Answer. Contracting Parties are entitled to designate certain
information to be protected against public disclosure. The United
States must respect such confidentiality designations. As a Contracting
Party, the United States would be entitled to receive national reports
of all other Contracting Parties. However, because of the enormity in
the quantity of documentation of national reports from all Contracting
Parties, reports for only those States participating in a specific
subgroup will be transmitted to members of the group. Other reports
will be provided by the Secretariat upon request.
Following the first review under the Convention on Nuclear Safety,
many national reports were posted on the IAEA web site and thus are
publicly available. We anticipate a similar practice to be implemented
for national reports under the Waste Convention.
VI. NATIONAL REPORT ELEMENTS
Question 29. What spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste
inventories will be included in the U.S. national report?
Answer. The U.S. national report inventory data, which will be
taken from currently available Federal Government databases, is to
cover spent nuclear fuel stored or disposed of and radioactive waste
stored at certain facilities or which has been disposed of or has
resulted from past practices. Radioactive waste from hospitals, medical
institutions, research facilities and the like would be covered in the
inventory after shipment to a radioactive waste facility. Specific
waste materials included are to be itemized in the report's inventory
Question 30. What specific spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste
databases will be used as the source for inventory data in the U.S.
national report? Who maintains the databases? What is the source of
Answer. In preparing the U.S. national report, three databases will
be used as the source for identifying U.S. inventory:
DOE Spent Nuclear Fuel Inventory (SNF). The National Spent
Nuclear Fuel Database is maintained at the Idaho National
Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (INEEL), National
Spent Fuel Program Office. The DOE Office of Environmental
Management funds the database.
Commercial SNF Inventory. Data on the commercial SNF
inventory will be obtained from the DOE Office of Civilian
Radioactive Waste Management's Environmental Impact Statement
(EIS) entitled, ``Geologic Repository for the Disposal of Spent
Nuclear Fuel and High-Level Radioactive Waste at Yucca
Mountain, Nye County, Nevada.'' The DOE Office of Civilian and
Radioactive Waste Management (OCRWM) funded the collection of
inventory data for this EIS. OCRWM funds the collection of
commercial SNF inventory information on a periodic basis.
Commercial Low-Level Waste Disposal Volumes. Commercial low-
level waste disposal volumes are collected by DOE through the
Manifest Information Management System. The DOE Office of
Environmental Management funds this program and collection of
DOE Low-Level Inventory. The DOE low-level inventory is
collected in DOE's Environmental Management Corporate Database.
This system is maintained and funded by the DOE Office of
Environmental Management. The Office updates DOE's low-level
radioactive waste inventory every two years. Waste information
is collected annually.
Question 31. What facilities will be included in the national
Answer. The U.S. national report will cover existing and proposed
facilities, whether Federal, State, or private. The report's list of
sites identifies which types of sites are included.
Question 32. How many spent fuel and waste management facilities in
the United States come under the Convention?
Answer. Numerous facilities in both commercial and government
sectors in the United States will be included in the report under the
Convention. In terms of sites where the facilities are or will be
located, there are:
Three existing low-level waste disposal sites (Barnwell,
Hanford, and Clive) and four closed low-level waste disposal
sites (Beatty, Sheffield, Maxey Flats, and West Valley) in the
commercial sector. Any future Low-Level Radioactive Waste
Compact site would be included in the report under the Waste
Currently, there are 26 operating independent spent fuel
storage installations (ISFSI) in the United States However,
facilities within the controlled area at operating reactors
will not be included in the report.
Interim Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage facilities are located at
21 commercial reactor sites, however facilities within the
perimeter at operating reactors will not be included in the
DOE facilities located at 30 different sites across the
nation for government waste, including operating and planned
disposal facilities for transuranic (WIPP) and low-level waste,
treatment facilities, and storage facilities.
Mill tailings sites include 39 under NRC jurisdiction and 9
under Agreement States. There are 5-10 Uranium/Thorium sites.
The planned Yucca Mountain high-level waste site and any
other site for commercial spent nuclear fuel.
Twenty-eight contaminated materials facility sites.
Question 33. Is a nuclear power reactor in decommissioning to be
included in the inventory of facilities?
Answer. Yes, the Joint Convention's Article 32.2(v) specifies that
the National Report is required to provide a list of nuclear facilities
(which include nuclear power reactors) in the process of being
decommissioned, as well as the status of decommissioning activities at
Question 34. Does the Convention include disused sealed sources no
Answer. Disused sealed sources no longer needed are covered to the
extent that they are disposed in a radioactive waste facility and that
a Contracting Party should permit reentry if such a source is being
returned to a manufacturer licensed to receive and possess it. The
Contracting Party should also have a framework for safe management of
disused sources. There is no requirement that a source be registered or
tracked throughout its life cycle.
Question 35. Will the national reports include inventories of
disused sealed sources?
Answer. There is no specific requirement in the Waste Convention to
report inventories of disused sources. In some countries, disused
sealed sources may be included in their waste inventories as waste.
Those sources returned for re-manufacturing would not be subject to the
reporting requirements, unless the Contracting Party voluntarily
reported such inventories. However, those disused sealed sources which
are to be disposed of would be considered radioactive waste and should
be reported under the radioactive waste inventory.
The IAEA has ongoing programs (Net-Enabled Waste Management Data
Base) in place for reporting disused sealed sources. Also, the IAEA is
in the process of revising the non-legally-binding Code of Conduct on
the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources to address security
concerns raised in the wake of September 11. The Code identifies
activities important for strengthening national controls on cradle-to-
grave management of radioactive sources. National registries of
radioactive sources is being considered as a possible addition to the
Question 36. How does ratification of the Waste Convention support
U.S. efforts to minimize the threat of malicious use of radioactive
waste, such as disused sealed sources?
Answer. Article 28 of the Waste Convention, entitled ``Disused
Sealed Sources'', commits Contracting Parties to the Convention to take
the appropriate steps to ensure that the possession, re-manufacturing
or disposal of disused sealed sources, in the framework of national
law, takes place in a safe and secure manner. The Waste Convention
offers an opportunity for the United States, as a Contracting Party, to
review other nations' progress through national report reviews and
reviews. U.S. concerns about control and intentional misuse of
radioactive waste or disused sealed sources can be raised in the
context of the national report review meeting. In this way, the United
States can influence globally the safe management of spent fuel and
radioactive waste and urge nations to enact new laws and controls on
disused sealed sources, where they now do not exist.
VII. U.S. PROGRAM EFFECTS
Question 37. Will the Waste Convention improve or strengthen DOE's
spent nuclear fuel and waste program? How or Why not?
Answer. Yes. Review of the national reports and the prospect of
bilateral cooperation will strengthen DOE's spent fuel and radioactive
waste program. Lessons learned from other countries both from how they
manage their spent nuclear fuel and their experiences in resolving
common and individual safety problems could be used to improve DOE's
Question 38. Does DOE anticipate any changes in its spent nuclear
fuel or waste program in the near-term, long-term? What is the
anticipated nature of the changes?
Answer. No changes are expected in the policy and strategy of DOE's
spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste programs. Any changes would be
related to developing technological alternatives to current
stabilization, storage, treatment, and disposal missions at DOE.
Alternative technical solutions are often needed to meet environmental
compliance requirements and to reduce the cost of operations.
Question 39. Will the Convention improve or strengthen NRC's
regulatory and licensing program? How or Why not?
Answer. The Waste Convention is not expected to result in major
changes to the NRC's regulatory program. Nonetheless, by providing a
mechanism for receiving information on other national programs through
the constructive exchange of national reports and reviews, the Waste
Convention will support the NRC's own continuing efforts to improve its
regulatory program through self-assessment.
Question 40. Does NRC anticipate any changes in its regulatory
program for radioactive waste management and/or spent nuclear fuel
management in the near-term, long-term? What is the anticipated nature
of the changes?
Answer. The NRC does not anticipate the need to make any
significant changes to its regulations as a result of the Waste
Convention. Changes, if any, will be publicly vetted as part of the
NRC's rulemaking process.
Question 41. Will the Waste Convention improve or strengthen EPA's
regulatory program? How or Why not?
Answer. The Waste Convention is not expected to have an effect on
EPA's regulatory program.
Question 42. Does EPA anticipate any changes in its regulatory
program in the near-term, long-term? What is the anticipated nature of
Answer. EPA does not anticipate any changes to its regulatory
program either in the near-term or the long-term.
VIII. POST 9-11 ISSUES
Question 43. Does the Waste Convention address security and
diversion from terrorist attacks?
Answer. No, the Waste Convention does not directly address security
and diversion from terrorist attacks. However, the Convention, along
with the CNS, does foster a constructive multi-lateral framework to
increase safety and security at facilities throughout the world. It is
an incentive convention that addresses safety issues primarily
associated with spent nuclear fuel management and radioactive waste
management. Promoting a stable technical environment and regulatory
systems in developing countries through the Convention will assist
contracting States to increase security and diversion from terrorist
Question 44. What costs are associated with participating in the
Answer. The costs to the United States as a Contracting Party to
the Waste Convention include:
Preparation of the U.S. national report every three years
Reviewing national reports of other countries
U.S. delegation participation in the preparatory,
organizational, and review meetings.
Question 45. What are the anticipated costs for preparing the U.S.
national report? Will there be any additional costs to licensees?
For DOE, anticipated costs for preparing the U.S. national
report is estimated at $200,000 for FY-2003 and an estimated
$200,000 incurred annually thereafter. Costs will be absorbed
within the existing DOE budget.
For NRC, costs to prepare information on the commercial
regulatory perspective for the national report are not expected
to be substantial and can be absorbed within the existing
budget. There are no expected additional costs to licensees.
For EPA, costs are expected to be minimal and can be
absorbed within the existing budget. No additional costs to
licensees are anticipated.
Question 46. Under the NRC's regulatory regime Agreement States
subsume certain of the NRC's regulatory authority subject to oversight.
Will there be any additional costs to Agreement States?
Answer. In countries having a federal system of government such as
the United States, States may carry out convention provisions. For the
United States there are no significant new burdens or unfunded mandates
for the Agreement States that are anticipated to result from the Waste
Question 47. Under U.S. law, States are responsible for the
disposal of low-level radioactive waste and permitted to formulate
compacts for this purpose. Will there be any additional costs to Low-
Level Waste Compacts?
Answer. No additional costs are expected to States or Low Level
Waste Compacts, because the regulatory program to which such entities
are subject is not expected to change as a result of the Convention.
Question 48. Will the DOE National Laboratories be involved in
preparing the U.S. national report? What are the anticipated costs?
Answer. No. National Laboratories will not be involved in
preparation of the U.S. national report. There are no anticipated
Question 49. What is the total number of national reports the
United States anticipates it will review from the assigned country
subgroup process? What are the anticipated costs for the United States
to review and comment on national reports within this group?
Answer. The United States as part of the country subgroup will
review five to seven reports within its group and others of interest.
Costs will be absorbed within existing agency budgets.
Question 50. In addition to the national reports received as part
of the assigned country subgroup process; does the United States
anticipate requesting other national reports for the purpose of review
and comment? If yes, for what countries? What is the anticipated
Answer. Similar to its practice with respect to the CNS, the United
States will review national reports for all countries which receive
nuclear and radiation safety assistance from the United States or for
which it has special safety concerns. The costs will be absorbed within
existing agency budgets.
Question 51. What are the anticipated costs for U.S.
representatives to participate in the meetings?
Answer. Representatives from the Department of State, DOE, NRC, and
EPA are attending all associated Waste Convention meetings to be held
at the IAEA headquarters office in Vienna. The delegation will include
up to 12 delegates, with associated full-time equivalent (FTE), per
diem and travel costs.
Question 52. Are representatives from DOE National Laboratories,
Agreement States, Low-Level Waste Compacts, or the private sector
anticipated to attend meetings of the Contracting Parties as experts,
advisors or observers? If part of the U.S. delegation, how would such
participation be funded?
Answer. No. Representatives from National Laboratories, Agreement
States, Low-Level Waste Compacts, and the private sector are not
expected to attend any meetings of the Contracting Parties.
Question 53. Are there any costs for the United States if it is not
a Contracting Party?
Answer. Yes. The IAEA is the Secretariat for the Contracting
Parties, including preparing and servicing of the meetings and
transmitting information associated with the Waste Convention. Cost for
these Secretariat services are included in the annual IAEA budget. The
United States is obligated to pay its annual IAEA membership assessment
of 25% of the total IAEA regular budget. Therefore whether or not the
United States is a Contracting Party to the Waste Convention, a portion
of the U.S. membership assessment will be used to fund Secretariat
services in support of the Convention.
Question 54. How does the United States benefit from participation
as a Contracting Party to the Convention?
Answer. As a Contracting Party to the Convention, the national
report review process benefits the United States by providing inter
An opportunity to review the national spent nuclear fuel and
radioactive waste management programs of other Contracting
Parties and to benefit from their experience;
A vehicle, through the drafting of the U.S. national report,
to help harmonize management and assessment techniques used by
DOE, NRC, and EPA's programs associated with the safe
management of spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste
An opportunity to promote a stable technical environment and
safe regulatory system in developing countries, thereby
supporting trade services and products of U.S. companies;
A means to identify possible areas for bilateral and
multilateral technical and regulatory cooperation;
An opportunity to influence the development of nuclear
safety programs in other countries, through international
cooperation on the life cycle management of spent nuclear fuel
and radioactive waste; and
A means to help harmonize, in a nurturing forum,
international approaches to assessing and managing risks and
raising the target level of safety associated with spent fuel
and radioactive waste, thus strengthening the worldwide safety
Question 55. What are the benefits or value (direct/indirect) of
the Waste Convention to Agreement States and Low-Level Radioactive
Answer. Improvements to the national regulatory program from U.S.
participation in the Convention will carry over to benefit the
individual U.S. States' and Low-Level Radioactive Waste Compacts'
regional regulatory programs.
Question 56. What are the benefits or value (direct/indirect) to
licensees, industry and utilities?
Answer. Through U.S. review of other Contracting Parties' national
reports, the United States benefits from lessons learned and in the
opportunities which it provides to identify areas for trade in services
and products, as well as bilateral cooperation in technology
Question 57. The United States participated in the Convention on
Nuclear Safety (CNS) second review process.
What benefits did the United States receive from
participation in the CNS review process?
Answer. As a result of participating in the second CNS review
meeting held in Vienna, Austria, April 15-26, 2002, U.S.
participants concluded that it was a very important and
effective venue for promoting nuclear safety worldwide.
Participation in reviews provided wide-ranging benefits to the
United States, for example based on interactions with other CNS
Parties, the NRC will more closely examine the potential
benefits of performing periodic safety reviews of licensed
activities as part of its regulatory program.
Has the CNS process been influential on other nations'
nuclear safety programs? How?
Answer. Most significantly and as noted during the conduct of
the second review meeting, the CNS process has clearly
influenced the safety and regulatory programs in States of the
former Soviet Union, such as Russia and Ukraine, in positive
ways. Assistance programs in these countries are taking into
consideration key goals and objectives identified as part of
the CNS process. In addition, based on its participation in the
2nd review meeting, the NRC has also determined that additional
progress can be made in nuclear regulatory oversight programs
of the Russian Federation and Ukraine, and identified the
programs of China, Armenia, and Pakistan, as warranting further
In preparing the national report, each country must
demonstrate how it complies with the Articles of the
Convention. This exercise alone, documenting how the Articles
of the Convention are met, and submitting the report for
scrutiny by other Contracting Parties in an international
forum, exerts pressure on a Contracting Party To improve its
safety practices. But perhaps more importantly is the review
process itself where countries must respond to the questions of
other Contracting Parties. Two examples will demonstrate how
the CNS review process influences signatory countries. One of
the major concerns addressed by the Articles of the Convention
is the independence of the regulatory body. Many of the former
Soviet Union and Eastern European countries reported in their
initial 1998 CNS reports that their regulatory bodies were not
independent from organizations that promoted nuclear power.
However, because of the many questions that were raised during
the review process, most of these countries reported
significant progress in making their regulatory bodies more
independent in the 2001 reports, with hopes to report further
achievements on regulatory independence in the 2004 reports. A
second example concerns the Russian Federation's schedule for
completing safety enhancements at many of its aging nuclear
power plants. The 1998 Russian Federation report stated that
many safety enhancements would be performed but was vague on
the enhancements to be performed at specific plants and
schedules for when these enhancements would be completed. The
2001 report provided very little detail as well. However,
because of the many written questions received from other
Contracting Parties during the review process, the Russians
provided a complete list of the enhancements for each plant and
the schedule for their completion during its presentation at
the 2002 CNS national report review meeting.
XI. FOREIGN POLICY CONSIDERATIONS
Question 58. Why is the Waste Convention important to U.S. foreign
Answer. The Waste Convention is consistent with U.S. policy to
support safety as a top priority in the use of nuclear energy
worldwide; to promote safe operation of spent nuclear fuel management
and civilian nuclear waste management facilities and radiation
protection principles. Pursuing common strategies for the handling of
spent nuclear fuel and radioactive wastes are also harmonious with U.S.
policy on climate change and promoting a sustainable global
environment. The Waste Convention is a particularly important
complement to bilateral and multilateral safety assistance programs,
because it provides a crucial political mechanism to encourage
governments to support emerging regulatory organizations and other
entities responsible for nuclear safety culture.
Question 59. What consideration does the Waste Convention give to
the needs of developing countries and countries in transition,
particularly to the Newly Independent States (NIS) and Central and
Eastern European countries (CEE), to assist in fulfillment of their
rights and obligations?
Answer. The Waste Convention is a particularly important complement
to these bilateral and multilateral safety assistance programs, because
similar to the CNS it is an incentive convention. This means that the
Convention was carefully drafted to encourage early participation by
countries such as the Newly Independent States and Central and Eastern
European countries, so that they can adhere without potentially being
in a state of non-compliance while they further develop their domestic
infrastructure. As such it provides a crucial political mechanism to
encourage such governments to become Contracting Parties at an early
date. It also provides a nexus for technology transfer to assist
developing countries to better facilitate the transition to more
effective regulatory infrastructures and waste safety management
Question 60. What goals and objectives does the United States hope
to achieve as a Contracting Party?
Answer. The Waste Convention reflects all of the U.S. goals and
objectives in the negotiations. The United States will continue to work
with other countries to promote objectives, consistent with U.S.
policies and legislative and regulatory framework to:
Ensure commitment to the principles of a worldwide safety
culture, through the enhancement of national measures and
Increase international understanding and develop common
philosophies on the storage, treatment, and disposal of
Take appropriate steps to ensure that during the lifetime of
a spent nuclear fuel or radioactive waste management facility,
radiation exposure is kept as low as reasonably achievable.
Take appropriate steps to ensure no individual or population
is exposed to radiation which exceed national standards.
Take appropriate measures to prevent unplanned or
uncontrolled releases of radioactive material into the
Assure appropriate corrective measures are implemented to
control unplanned or uncontrolled releases and mitigate effects
in the event of a release.
Pursue common strategies for the handling of spent nuclear
fuel and radioactive wastes harmonious with U.S. climate change
policies and the promotion of a sustainable global environment.
Maintain minimal cost to the United States for carrying out
Contracting Party obligations under the Waste Convention.
Question 61. Has other international recognition been given to the
Answer. Yes. The Waste Convention is of high-level importance to
other foreign States many of which have signed and/or ratified the
Convention. The Convention also received support at several of the G-7
Economic Summit meetings, including mention in the 1997 Denver Summit
Communique, in addition to reaffirmation at the 1996 Moscow Nuclear
Safety and Security Summit. An International IAEA Waste Conference was
held in Cordoba, Spain in 2000, and a second in Vienna in 2002.
Question 62. What considerations does the Waste Convention give to
other international instruments, international law, and other
Answer. The Waste Convention recalls the desirability of
strengthening the international control system and recognizes
principles laid out in international instruments, international law,
and multilateral mechanisms applying to radioactive waste and spent
fuel, including inter alia:
Basel Convention (1989) on the Control of Transboundary
Movements of Hazardous Waste and their Disposal;
Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping
of Wastes and Other Matter (1972, as amended) (London
Convention on Ocean Dumping);
Convention on Nuclear Safety (1994);
Convention on Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident
Convention on Assistance in the Case of a Nuclear Accident
or Radiological Emergency (1986);
Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material
IAEA Code of Practice on Transboundary Movement of
Radioactive Waste (1989);
IAEA Safety Fundamentals, The Principles of Radioactive
Waste Management (1995);
International Standards relating to the Safety of the
Transport of Radioactive Materials;
International Basic Safety Standards for Protection Against
Ionizing Radiation and for the Safety of Radiation Sources
Rio de ,Janeiro (1992) UN Conference on Environment and
Development (Agenda Chapter 21, Chapter 22, Sound Management of
Question 63. Does the Convention overlap or duplicate any other
international Convention or Agreement?
Answer. No. The Waste Convention is complimentary to:
The Basel Convention (1989) on the Control of Transboundary
Movements of Hazardous Waste and their Disposal. Article 1 (3))
specifically excludes radioactive wastes. This Article states:
``Wastes which, as a result of being radioactive, are subject
to other international control systems, including international
instruments, applying specifically to radioactive materials,
are excluded from the scope of the Convention.''
The Convention on Nuclear Safety (1996). The CNS contains a
preambular statement affirming the need for a Waste Convention.
Subsection (ix) states: ``Affirming the need to begin promptly
the development of an international convention on the safety of
radioactive waste management as soon as the ongoing process to
develop waste management safety fundamentals has resulted in
broad international agreement.''
The London Convention on Ocean Dumping (1972, as amended)
prohibits the dumping of radioactive wastes. Radioactive waste
does not apply to wastes or other materials containing de
minimus (exempt) levels of radioactive waste as defined by the
IAEA and adopted by the Contracting Parties.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Stratford follows:]
Prepared Statement of Richard J.K. Stratford, Director, Nuclear Energy
Affairs, Bureau of Nonproliferation, Department of State
Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee I appreciate this
opportunity to discuss with you the importance of timely Senate action
on the ``Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on
the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management.'' We greatly appreciate
your scheduling a hearing on this important Convention. On September
13, 2000, the prior Administration sent the Joint Convention to the
Senate for advice and consent. This Administration fully supports the
Joint Convention and also desires your advice and consent to the
ratification of the Convention, so that the United States can
participate in worldwide efforts to ensure the safety of spent fuel and
radioactive waste management for the benefit of current and future
generations. A favorable action at this time is necessary, so that the
United States can join the Parties as they gather this year to
implement the Joint Convention. Otherwise we will be excluded from the
The Joint Convention is a companion convention to the ``Convention
on Nuclear Safety'' to which the Senate gave its advice and consent on
March 25, 1999, and which entered into force for the United States on
July 10, 1999. With the United States' participation, the ``Convention
on Nuclear Safety'' is successfully raising the level of nuclear safety
at civilian nuclear power plants throughout the world. It is the goal
of the Joint Convention to extend similar efforts to spent nuclear fuel
and waste management facilitities.
The objectives of the Joint Convention are to achieve and maintain
a high level of nuclear safety worldwide in spent nuclear fuel and
radioactive waste management through the enhancement of national
measures and international cooperation, to ensure that at all stages of
spent fuel and radioactive waste management there are effective safety
measures against potential radiological hazards so that current and
future generations are protected, to prevent accidents with
radiological consequences and to mitigate effects should such accidents
The United States played a key role in developing the Joint
Convention, and ratification will ensure our continued leadership in
its worldwide implementation. The Joint Convention was adopted by a
Diplomatic Conference convened by the International Atomic Energy
Agency in September 1997. The United States was the first nation to
sign the Joint Convention, when the U.S. Secretary of Energy signed it
at the International Atomic Energy Agency's General Conference on
September 29, 1997. To date, 42 nations have signed the Joint
Convention, of which 30 nations have become Parties to it. The Joint
Convention entered into force on June 18, 2001, after the requisite 25
nations became Parties, including at least 15 nations that had an
operational nuclear power plant. The following nations are currently
Parties to the Joint Convention: Argentina, Austria, Belarus, Belgium,
Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France,
Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Republic of Korea, Latvia,
Luxembourg, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovakia,
Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, and United Kingdom. In
addition to the United States, the following nations have signed the
treaty, but have yet to ratift, accept, or approve it: Australia,
Brazil, Estonia, Indonesia, Italy, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Lithuania,
Peru, Philippines, and the Russian Federation.
The Joint Convention is important to U.S. foreign policy. It
supports safety as the top priority in use of nuclear power worldwide.
It promotes the safe operation of spent nuclear fuel and radioactive
waste management facilities and the application of radiation protection
principles. It is an incentive convention that was carefully drafted to
encourage participation by countries, such as the Newly Independent
States and Central and Eastern European countries, so that they can
adhere to the Joint Convention even as they develop their domestic
infrastructure. The Joint Convention provides a mechanism for the
United States to continue to work with other countries to promote
objectives, consistent with U.S. policies and the U.S. legislative and
regulatory framework, that ensure the safety of spent fuel and
radioactive waste management for the benefit of current and future
generations. By becoming a Party to the Joint Convention, the United
States will have an opportunity to: review and benefit from the
experience of other nations, promote and help influence a stable
tecimical environment, safety programs, and regulatory system in
developing countries; identify possible areas for bilateral and
multilateral technical and regulatory cooperation; and strengthen the
worldwide safety culture, including the management of radioactive
waste, to minimize the threat of the malicious use of radioactive
waste, as may occur with disused sealed sources.
Based on the successful format of the ``Convention on Nuclear
Safety,'' the Joint Convention establishes a series of broad
commitments with respect to the safe management of spent nuclear fuel
and radioactive waste without prescribing specific or mandatory
standards for its Parties. Parties to the Joint Convention are required
to take appropriate steps to bring their activities into compliance
with the Convention's general obligations related to the safety of
spent fuel and radioactive waste management. However, the specific
steps that Parties should take are not prescribed but are left to each
Party's discretion. In addition, the Joint Convention adopts a review
process similar to that established in the ``Convention on Nuclear
Safety'' to apply to spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste
management activities. Each Party is obligated to prepare a national
report covering the scope of the Joint Convention and subject it to
review by other Parties. Such review has proven very successful for
implementation of the ``Convention on Nuclear Safety.''
The Joint Convention applies to spent nuclear fuel resulting from
operation of civilian nuclear reactors, radioactive waste from civilian
applications, and disused radioactive sealed sources. For such
material, the Joint Convention seeks to ensure safety is a
consideration in virtually all aspects, including the legislative and
regulatory framework, operational radiation protection, management of
nuclear facilities, decommissioning, emergency preparedness, and
transport between nations. The Joint Convention does not apply to
naturally occurring radioactive materials, unless the Party declares
this material as waste for purposes of the Joint Convention.
The Joint Convention does not apply to military radioactive waste
or military spent nuclear fuel unless the Contracting Party declares it
as waste for purposes of the Convention. The Joint Convention does
apply to military radioactive waste or military spent nuclear fuel that
is permanently transferred to and managed within exclusively civilian
programs. In this way, the Joint Convention ensures that national
security is not compromised and Parties have absolute discretion as to
what information is reported from military sources. In the United
States, military radioactive waste is disposed of at U.S. Department of
Energy facilities, and military spent nuclear fuel will eventually be
disposed of in a Department of Energy geologic repository along with
civilian spent fuel and defense high-level waste. The U.S. national
report will cover the military radioactive waste that has been
transferred to an exclusively civilian program, and will not cover
military spent nuclear fuel that has not been transferred to and
managed within exclusively civilian programs. The Joint Convention will
not affect U.S. military operations in any way, nor will classified
information be included in the U.S. national report.
The Joint Convention is non-controversial and has broad support
from U.S. industry groups and U.S. states. It has the full support of
the Department of State, the Department of Energy, the Environmental
Protection Agency, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. There is no
overlap or duplication of efforts with any other international
convention or agreement. In addition to the ``Convention on Nuclear
Safety,'' the Joint Convention is complementary to the ``Basel
Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Waste
and their Disposal'' and the ``London Convention on the Prevention of
Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter.''
As a Party to the Joint Convention, the United States would be
represented by a delegate, a representative of the Department of State,
with alternate delegates from the Department of Energy, the
Environmental Protection Agency, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Consistent with its foreign policy responsibilities, the State
Department will lead U.S. representation at meetings of the Parties and
coordinate activities with Congress. The Department of Energy is the
lead agency responsible for collection of information and preparation
of the U.S. national report and technical coordination with the other
agencies, including review of other Parties' national reports. The
Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency
will provide information on the regulatory perspectives in the U.S.
national report and will participate in reviews of other Parties'
national reports. An interagency working group has been established to
coordinate Joint Convention activities.
The United States has taken the initial steps to prepare a national
report in anticipation of becoming a Contracting Party. We do not
envision any changes in our regulatory programs resulting from the
Joint Convention. However, it is likely that information received
through the constructive review and information exchange with other
nations will help with our continuous improvement process.
During the national report preparation process, the Department of
Energy will use existing information so that there is no burden on
governmental or commercial spent-fuel and waste management activities.
The report will follow a format arrived at by consensus of the Parties.
The Department of Energy will utilize information from existing
sources, e.g., Spent Nuclear Fuel Database, Central Internet Database,
Manifest Information Management System, and commercial spent fuel
information available from the Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste
From December 10-14, 2001, the Joint Convention Parties convened a
meeting in Vienna, Austria, to take the first steps in the reporting
process. The United States was not in attendance because we had not
ratified the Convention. During this meeting the Contracting Parties
reached consensus on the procedures, report preparation schedule,
report format, and review process details.
An organizational meeting of the Parties is scheduled for April 7,
2003. This meeting is significant because it will determine the makeup
of the review groups and the selection of a meeting Chairman and review
group Chairmen. The first Review Meeting is scheduled to take place
November 3, 2003. We anticipate that the Parties will be organized into
sub-groups of five to seven nations. Members of the sub-groups will
exchange reports for review and have an opportunity to ask questions
and request clarification during the sub-group meetings. The process
will allow written questions and comments to be made on all national
reports, whether in the assigned sub-group or not, prior to the review
meetings. Results of the sub-group meetings will be reported to a
plenary review meeting, at which time all Parties will have an
opportunity to further discuss the national reports. The plenary
meeting will develop a summary review report for public release,
addressing the issues discussed and conclusions reached without
providing details from national reports or review debates. Following
completion of this process, the next review meeting will be held within
Let me next address the amount of resources required and
availability of reports. Costs incurred once every three years maybe
considered to fall into three categories: (1) preparation of the U.S.
national report, (2) preparation and participation by the four agencies
in organizational and review meetings, and (3) review and analysis of
other national reports. We expect to absorb these costs within each
agency's budget and that expenditure will occur on a 3-year cycle.
With regard to availability of information, the United States will
receive national reports from members of the review subgroup and any
other reports it requests. We will request a copy of all national
reports be provided to the United States. Reports provided by Parties
will be available to the Committee and General Accounting Office
subject to any confidentiality conditions expressed by the Parties.
Once submitted, the U.S. national report will be publicly available.
The Parties to the Joint Convention are proceeding with the process
of preparing national reports for the first review meeting. The
Administration seeks advice and consent to the Joint Convention so that
the United States can participate fully with the other Contracting
Parties to accomplish the goals of this Convention. An organizational
meeting of the Parties is scheduled for April 7, 2003. Although the
United States cannot become a Party by that time, it expects to
participate in the meeting if it has ratified the Joint Convention by
that date. We are eager to continue the important U.S. role in
promoting safety in worldwide spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste
management activities by fully participating in this process.
Thank you for the opportunity to discuss the Joint Convention, and
let me introduce my colleagues from the Department of Energy,
Environmental Protection Agency, and Nuclear Regulatory Commission, who
are here with me to answer any questions that you may have.
The Chairman. Thank you very much, Assistant Secretary
We will have a first round of questions with 7 minutes for
Senators, and please start the clock on my questioning with
this first query of the Secretary.
You have addressed the issue of extending the authority of
the Department of Defense--but, likewise, the Department of
State--for using NDF funds or the CTR program, Cooperative
Threat Reduction, outside of the former Soviet Union. Let me
just ask right now, is the NDF program bound or limited by
statute from pursuing projects outside the former Soviet Union
now? What is your reading on that authority, presently?
Mr. Wolf. Sir, our view is that, based on the Foreign
Assistance Act, we have a great deal of authority to act around
the world. There is some overlap, as I said, because the
authorities have evolved over time. There were the original
Nunn-Lugar authorities. They were complemented at about the
same time by the Freedom Support Act and then revisions to the
Foreign Assistance Act. I kind of remember sitting behind the
Deputy Secretary of State when he appeared before you a couple
of weeks ago and he said something about KISS, ``Keep it
simple, sailor.'' Our authorities are not necessarily simple,
and straightening them out and making them clear is something
that is always possible.
We have the authority. We are acting around the world with
NDF everywhere from the Caribbean to the former Soviet Union to
other parts of the world, as well--South Africa and other parts
of the world, as well.
The Chairman. Well, I appreciate that point. There have
been numerous programs, as you say, initiated at various times
with various degrees of enthusiasm in different Congresses. The
attempt on the part of the administration, State and Defense,
Energy--all involved in attempting to rationalize this, but
even more important, to give the President, finally, as
Commander in Chief, the ability to deal with these
proliferation problems wherever they are. It is very, very
important. It would seem to me to be a no-brainer, but
nevertheless, there has been difficulty. I trace it, in part,
to some of the controversy that attended the original Nunn-
Lugar debate. There were, in those days, Senators who were
almost afraid this would spread like a plague, this whole idea
of dealing with nonproliferation. They wanted to limit it to
the former Soviet Union and not let it get out of hand and put
in place a number of controls. Now, fortunately, other programs
have been initiated, as you pointed out, either prior to that,
with the Freedom Support Act, or subsequently with other
situations, that are not so constrained.
But we are hopeful, really, to have legislation this time,
and I appreciate your support, which you have explicitly
stated, to rationalize this and to work specifically with those
programs in which the Department of State, really, has control
Mr. Wolf. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would make two points.
One, on the Cooperative Threat Reduction programs
themselves, we think that authority, if it is to be extended,
for instance, beyond the former Soviet Union, needs best be
vested in the President to decide which programs, which
agencies, he would use.
The Chairman. Good point.
Mr. Wolf. In terms of our own programs, and especially the
NDF and our export control money, as you could see from the--on
export controls, as you could see from the chart, we are
working, we are extending it, we are moving export controls to
a very active dialog and training in India and Pakistan, we're
working in the Baltic and in the Mediterranean, and we're
moving to Southeast Asia. So we need to be clear as can be that
that is the right thing to be doing.
The Chairman. Yes.
Mr. Wolf. And frankly, the problems are not limited to the
former Soviet Union anymore, and we are going where the
problems are. And the work that my Bureau--and working with
Customs and Homeland Security and a variety of others, we are
going out to meet the problems head on. That is our first line.
The Chairman. That is a very important point, and that is
why I wanted to underline it.
Mr. Wolf. Thank you.
The Chairman. And second, the State Department, as you have
pointed out, has requested a provision in 2004 allowing for
permanent annual waiver authority for Cooperative Threat
Reduction funding restrictions. Obviously, we support that, but
I would just ask you, from your own administrative experience,
what is your estimate of the amount of time your staff must
dedicate to the completion of these waivers or to the
examination of all the provisions that you must weigh to begin
I am just simply curious, because during this past year, as
you will recall, moving through the Shchuch'ye chemical weapons
business, this seems to have required an abnormal amount of
time in the administration at all points. And I do not fault
anyone who was attempting to do all those things that were
legally correct. In the meanwhile, not much destruction of
chemical weapons or removal of dangers occurs, even while our
own bureaucracy rumbles on. To the extent that we can minimize
this, obviously we must. Can you give, anecdotally, some feel
of why you have asked for permanent authority and, even if you
get that, how much time is going to be required to fulfill the
requirements that you still have?
Mr. Wolf. Well, sir, that is a good question. I think the
reason why last year was complicated was, in part, because we
decided, for the first time, that we could not actually certify
and that we needed to have authority to waive that we did not
have. And that whole process of deciding where we were and
where we were going to go and then coming to the Congress
created a kind of a logjam, and that came back to us as we need
this permanent authority.
We think that there is a utility in the certification
process that focuses our attention and the attention of
policymakers in the United States, but it also rivets the
Russians and those in the former Soviet Union with whom we must
work. So the certification process is actually kind of like an
annual audit process, and it is useful. But these programs are
in our national interest. We do not do them just as a kind of
charity, and we need to be able to move on. But we use this
process as part of our diplomatic leverage.
That said, you asked, How long does it take, and it takes a
long time. We start, I think, with Russia in the late summer,
in August, and we stretch that out until nearly Christmas, and
then we start with the other countries and we take another 4
months to do them. First we do the statements of fact, and then
we do the interagency clearance, and then if there is a
problem, it gets fought out at the various policy levels, and
finally it gets to the Secretary and the President. But it is
labor-intensive. I am not sure--we look for ways to re-engineer
the process, but we haven't--the interagency process has been
looking to be re-engineered for the last 227 years or
The Chairman. I have expressed to the National Security
Advisor, Dr. Rice, some concern about the national interest in
all the certification process. I appreciate that it is good to
have an audit trail and for everybody to be observant of what
Russian friends are doing or not doing, but the dangers of all
this seem to me to be very substantial. Having witnessed what
occurred, whatever the reasons last year, I think this was a
very, very severe problem. Now, I took it up directly with the
President of the United States. He thought it was a severe
problem--it occurred in July. He directed Dr. Rice to get on
with it. And finally, in January, after all the toils of
bureaucracy plus congressional scrutiny and all the rest of it,
something finally happened.
Now, this leads me to think that at least maybe our
legislative procedures should be just to simply eliminate the
certification to save you all the trouble of the waivers. If
they cannot get done in days, as opposed to weeks or months,
this really debilitates whatever abilities we have. I mean, we
can talk a good game about destruction of weapons of mass
destruction, surveillance and what-have-you. In fact, we
ourselves are the enemy simply because of fastidiousness in
many departments that are experiencing arguing, hassling, all
sorts of ideological views floating in from the past and the
future. That is bad news.
So I have not made up my mind yet which way to proceed
legislatively, but I just simply want to take the opportunity
of this hearing--see, I think this is really an open issue. I
think it is a very serious issue.
Now, last year, when the administration decided not to
certify, that was a surprise. That kind of surprise we really
do not want to have too many of. Moving through this, through
my own determination, I think is something that you will
appreciate. We went to the President and we are talking to the
President, and this President believes in this program. I am
hopeful that there is not ambiguity down the line as we proceed
Mr. Wolf. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I respect your
views. And I know there would be a number of people in the
Nonproliferation Bureau who would applaud not having to write
But let me just make a counterpoint. The issues that we
deal with in the certification process are not trivial. They
have to do with whether or not there is responsible behavior,
both on the nonproliferation side, in terms of compliance with
international obligations, the Chemical Weapons Convention, the
Biological Weapons Convention; and these are problem areas, as
you well know. And then there are a variety of other issues,
including human rights, which, in several states of the former
Soviet Union, are not trivial issues.
We try to weigh all these, and I guess I take your point
that, it is obvious, you were surprised by our decision not to
certify. But the facts of the case were pretty clear to this
administration that, at some point, you just cannot--we are
building a bridge too far. And better to be candid in our
assessment, but then to turn to the Congress and say, But we
need legislative relief. We need help. We need, in our own
interests, to be able to continue these programs. That is why
we came to the Congress. We appreciate the authority that we
got last year and we hope to have it extended, because, to be
honest, I do not think we have seen enough progress on some of
these key issues of compliance with international obligations
for us to simply say, Well, we are past those hurdles.
But yours is a fair point; we do not want these programs on
a start-stop basis. We want to get the plants built. We want to
get the chemical weapons destroyed. We want to be sure, when we
destroy chemical weapons, that we are actually destroying all
of them, and not only the old stuff, but anything that might be
new, as well.
The Chairman. Well, I appreciate that. And I want to let my
colleagues have their 7 minutes, but let me just, while this
point is fresh, see. Let us take the worst-case scenario.
Namely, we find human rights violations somewhere in Russia.
And I suspect many of us who I have visited, as you have all
the time, find a lot of them, so you have got a list.
And then are we finding accessibility to all the biological
laboratories? No. You know, I have talked in this committee
about having a real time getting my plane to land out there in
Kirov. So this, as I personally experienced, is not only a
Likewise, we have not received the anthrax report from
Obolinsk. We paid for it. It is ours. We protested to the
Defense Minister of Russia--you cannot go much higher--and he
is still looking at it.
Now, having said that, does this mean, then, that we stop
destroying weapons at Shchuch'ye, which is effectively what
happened? In fact, we did not start. We do not have the thing
up and ready yet. Who are we showing what? Do we stop worrying
about biological weapons? Do we gum up the works at Svrotykha
so that, ad seriatim, four missiles a month are not destroyed
because back here we are still pondering over these things?
They are not mysteries.
Now, the question is seriousness about arms destruction and
security. Now, all of us are very concerted on that issue.
Unanimous. But to the extent that we decide, because of
intramural arguments, to frustrate all of this, I think that is
very serious. It is a national security problem, and I pose it
that way. And I think it is important to each of the bureaus to
have their say and interject their views, and we want to hear
all of them, but we want action. The American people want the
weapons destroyed, as opposed to an intramural argument going
on here within the State Department or NSC or Defense.
So, having said that, I pass along the baton to my
colleague, Senator Feingold.
Senator Feingold. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for holding this
hearing. And of course, it is an honor to be at such a hearing
with a chairman who has played such an historic role on these
nonproliferation issues. Thank you.
Assistant Secretary Wolf, I would like to just ask a few
questions. I am very concerned about the prospect of a U.S.
foreign policy driven by this doctrine of preemptive military
action, or I think it is more accurately described as
preventative military action. And I am also concerned about
depending on such a dangerous doctrine to pursue our
As I have watched the United States policy develop with
regard to Iraq and North Korea recently, I am concerned that
the rest of the world is starting to learn the following lesson
about U.S. policy, and I think you might have heard me mention
this at the previous hearing: If you acquire nuclear weapons,
you can be free from the threat of military action; but, if
not, you may be subject to a preemptive invasion.
This scenario, with its emphasis on preemption, sets out
real incentives for proliferation and pursuit of weapons of
mass destruction as quickly as possible.
How can sending that signal possibly make the United States
more secure? And I guess I would also like, from your own
personal perspective, how does this focus on preemption in
these matters affect your particular Bureau?
Mr. Wolf. Thank you, Senator.
I think that that tends to oversimplify the array of
policies, programs, practices that we actually use in the
nonproliferation area. In my oral statement and in my written
statement, I have talked about a variety of things that we are
doing nationally, bilaterally with countries, pluralaterally in
groups like the Missile Technology Control Regime, or the
Australia Group, multilaterally in agencies like the
International Atomic Energy Agency.
We can have a long discussion about where Iraq is today. I
tend to measure my time on Iraq from August 1, 1990, when I was
the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for
International Organizations, and I was called back to the State
Department to begin the diplomatic effort that led to Desert
Shield/Desert Storm. I helped to draft Resolution 687 and a
whole successor set of resolutions. So my perspective on Iraq
and where that is, is different.
On North Korea, the administration policy is not that if
you have nuclear weapons, you can keep them. The administration
policy is for a denuclearized Korean Peninsula, and we are
pursuing that by patient, but very persistent diplomacy,
multilateral diplomacy, and we are working on it.
But the policy of preemption or counterproliferation is one
of the tools. As I mentioned, we use a variety of tools. We try
to use diplomacy. We try demarches. We use sanctions. We make
clear to countries and to entities abroad that if you sell to a
proliferator, that is your choice; but if you sell to the
proliferator, you will not sell to the United States. We use a
variety of things.
But interdiction does have a place in our policy. We will
try to do it multilaterally, and we will try to do it with
various kinds of authority. But in some cases, to protect
Americans, to protect the vital national security interests of
this country, the President believes that he has a
responsibility, his obligation as, you know, part of the oath
of office, to take the actions that are necessary.
So counterproliferation is an important part of the tools
that we use. If the other tools work, if other countries join
with us, in terms of concerted diplomacy--if the European
Union, for instance, raises the bar in their dialog with Iran
and--they have a political and economic dialog with Iran, but
here we now have Iran with a visible program that, to us, can
only seem to lead to fissile material and nuclear weapons--we
want the Europeans, we want Asians, we want all of our
partners, Russia and China, to join with us in exercising
rigorous diplomacy to stop that before it gets to the nuclear
Senator Feingold. Well, let me ask you--I recognize that
obviously the doctrine of preemption is not all your doing and
that there are these efforts. What I am trying to get at is,
are you not experiencing some problems with the administration
having enunciated this preemption doctrine with some push back
from some of the entities you are working with, some of the
countries you are working with, and when, in particular, it
appears, at least, that we have a different approach vis-a-vis
Iraq, versus North Korea--is there not some problem with the
signal that the preemption doctrine sends?
Mr. Wolf. Well, I think those are several different
questions. We are working with our partners, like-minded
countries. For instance, in the Australia Group, in 2002, we
reached agreement to include terrorism as one of the organizing
definitions of the Australia Group so that chemical and
biological weapons, technologies, precursors, and whatnot that
would go to terrorists are as much of concern to Australia
Group countries as those which would go to states that are
seeking to proliferate.
We got agreement on controls on intangible technologies. We
got a catch-all provision. In the MTCR, we focused on unmanned
aerial vehicles. We have a joint action program that is
designed to keep terrorists from getting these dangerous
technologies. We are working in the Zangger Committee related
to the NPT and in the Nuclear Suppliers Group.
Senator Feingold. My time is running out.
Mr. Wolf. So all I am saying, sir, is that your focus on
preemption is only one of the things that we are doing. Iraq is
the end of 12 years, 17 resolutions, defiance of international
obligations, human rights violations, possession of weapons of
mass destruction. That is just--that is where we are.
Senator Feingold. Mr. Secretary, it is actually not my
focus on preemption. It is the administration's focus on
preemption that has muddied the waters and, I think, caused
some serious perception problems around the world for our
country. And to simply list the things that you are doing,
which I think are constructive, and not acknowledge the fact
that this has caused significant confusion around the world
with regard to international law, our own law, and our past
practices, I think, ignores a reality, which is that there is a
signal that has been sent that I think may well undercut what
you are trying to do. I hope that is not the case.
Mr. Wolf. Well, thank you, Senator. I take the criticism. I
accept it as valid criticism. We may need to do a better job,
we obviously need to do a better job, of explaining the variety
of different things that we are doing. But we are trying to
develop a well-rounded set of tools, a variety of tools,
tailored to individual circumstances. North Korea is not like
Iraq. Iraq is not like Iran. Iran is not like the next one. And
we are trying to deal with each one of these. We have to deal
in different ways. The coalitions we can put together for each
circumstance are very different. And what we can do with our
friends and what we can do with people who are not so friendly
differs according to the situation.
Senator Feingold. Well, I take your point on that and I
thank you for your testimony.
The Chairman. Thank you very much, Senator Feingold.
Senator Nelson? Very well. Senator Corzine.
Senator Corzine. I have got a series of queries. Thank you,
Mr. Chairman. I would reiterate what Mr. Feingold said. It is
an honor to be here with you when you are dealing with a
subject that you have committed so much of your career to so
effectively. We are pleased that we are now considering it in a
very troubled time. I welcome the Assistant Secretary, as well.
Continuing on with this policy, concern about policy of
preemption, and acknowledging that there are a variety of other
methods which we are using to deal with proliferation, one of
those is to work with the Atomic Energy Agency. And I think I
heard in your testimony, as well as last week, the
administration asked for more rigorous inspection processes,
particularly as it relates to Iran, where I think the concerns
that you have verbalized here this morning and otherwise are on
the table. We have heard consistently from the IAEA and from
Mr. ElBaradei that funding is an issue. I think last summer, he
stated clearly, to operate effectively, he would need an
additional $30 million in funding resources. They certainly
have been pressed since that time in the inspection process in
Iraq. I am curious why we are maintaining level funding as our
request in 2004, if I am reading the budgetary request
properly. It is a flat voluntary $50 million in membership
dues. You would think that this is one of those instruments in
that variety, besides the policy of preventative action or
preemption, as we are talking about. I would love to hear how
you are responding to that and why that is not more.
Mr. Wolf. Thank you, Senator.
That number is only one of the many numbers on the table,
and I would like to say that we--in fact, it was when I was
confirmed, in 2001, one of the issues that was raised then to
me was the whole question of funding for the IAEA. We did a
fairly exhaustive study last year--exhausting, too, Senator--
but looking at the whole safeguards question, and the United
States has been leading an initiative now for the next biennium
for the budget for 2004/2005, which will be considered later
this fall, to increase the safeguards amount. The Director
General's number of--well, there is $30 million, but I think it
is a little less than that--but, in any event, the Director
General's number is a direct reflection of the fact that we put
the number, $30 million, out on the table to hire more
inspectors, to buy more equipment. When you hire people, it
needs to be done in the regular assessed budget; it cannot be
done with voluntary contributions that come and go each year.
The assessed contributions are a budget obligation. But----
Senator Corzine. Well, I would, sort of, take the line of
questioning, though, that the chairman talked about with regard
to the issue that he meant. This is an issue that is clear and
present, and waiting around to make sure that we have a
Mr. Wolf. We are not. We have given, in the last year,
nearly $8.2 million for the $12 million that the Director
General wants for nuclear safety. Secretary Abraham announced
$3 million more last week at the conference in Vienna for
better protection of radioactive sources. And we are looking at
a variety of ways in which we might use, for instance, our
money in the Nonproliferation and Disarmament Fund to work with
IAEA. We are not necessarily restricted to the $50 million that
is in the request before this committee. We have a variety of
other sources at the Department of Energy that they are doing
either in the trilateral program with Russia and the IAEA that
we can use. And so we are plussing-up this amount. And at the
same time, we are being pretty active in terms of pressing our
friends and colleagues around the world to pony up more money.
As you can imagine, if, of $12 million requested by the
Director General, we have provided $8 million, then that says
that the rest of the world has not quite stepped up to the bar.
We are going to use a variety of sources. We see IAEA as a
partner, but not necessarily the sole implementor. If we are
going to move fast, we are actually going to do a lot of things
earlier, and we will use the Nonproliferation and Disarmament
Fund because the IAEA cannot get there fast enough.
Senator Corzine. Just an observer and listening, the
comments you made in your opening remarks, the request to
enforce more rigorously, and the patent need that I think is
obvious or at least a concern to the American people with
regard to Iran and some of the other countries that you talked
about, having this inspection process be full and thorough and
efficient and effective is something that I think is one of
those tools that hopefully preempts preemptive policies.
Let me ask, in another light, one of the initiatives that I
think people were pleased about. I think we passed, a 100 to 0
in the Senate last week, the Moscow Treaty. What kinds of
concerns do you have? And is this, with actions this week where
the Duma, unfortunately, decided to hold off its vote, is that
at all related to the kinds of concerns that Senator Feingold
talked about, do you believe, in response to a policy of
preemption? And does it give indication that others may take
other policy prescriptions when they feel that they are
incented to protect themselves against that kind of
Mr. Wolf. I do not know, Senator. I guess I do not presume
to speak with a great deal of knowledge either about this part
of Russian politics or about Duma politics. And I believe that
Russia--if one draws a trend line, I am confident that Russia
will find that the Moscow Treaty is in its national interest,
as we felt it was in ours, and we welcome the vote by the
Senate, to ratify. And so we are very hopeful that the
consideration that was scheduled for this week will come back
To the question of the impact of what may or may not happen
on Iraq in the coming hours, days, whatever, the President, I
think, has laid out a case. Others have laid out a case. This
is not a spur-of-the-moment decision. As I was suggesting a few
minutes ago, this is part, or hopefully the end, of a 12-year
line of defiance and the end of a threat to the people of Iraq,
to Iraq's neighbors, and to each one of us, as well.
Senator Corzine. Thank you.
The Chairman. Senator Nelson.
Senator Nelson. Mr. Chairman, thank you, again, for your
personal example that you have set for all of us on this issue
of nonproliferation. It is a pleasure to be a member of your
I think there is broad agreement that the interests of the
United States are considerably threatened by North Korea, and I
think there is broad consensus that the United States simply
cannot allow North Korea to continue to build nuclear weapons
and potentially become a nuclear proliferator and a nuclear
peddler. So, for the committee, would you lay out basically
what we need to do in the very near future to defang North
Korea as a nuclear power?
Mr. Wolf. Thank you, Senator.
We are doing several things. Some we have done, others are
part of diplomacy that I think has been explained last week by
Jim Kelly. I think it was before this committee.
One of the things that we did several months ago was to go
to the Nuclear Suppliers Group to find agreement on lists of
items that would support--lists of items that we thought North
Korea would seek to procure outside North Korea, and to raise
heightened alert among members of the Nuclear Suppliers Group
and also others who could provide these kind of vital
technologies. And the effort will be to cutoff the flow of the
goods that they need to move their program forward.
Obviously, the big play, we went to the International
Atomic Energy Agency in January, and the Board of Governors
found failure to comply with safeguards and referred it to the
Security Council and we are in active discussions in the
Security Council on what the Security Council may say and do in
the coming weeks.
We are also working--the Secretary has worked on his trip
to Asia 2 weeks ago, he worked when he was in New York last
week, in consultations with key Foreign Ministers on trying to
put together this multilateral framework among the concerned
countries that can help us to find the peaceful diplomatic
solution that we are looking for.
The variety of other measures that the United States has
taken, I am not the best expert to talk about the contingencies
for which we prepare.
But I think it needs to be real clear that the President's
determination, the United States' determination, but the
determination of North Korea's neighbors, as well, is that the
end state needs to be a Korean Peninsula that is denuclearized.
And we are trying to keep that coalition together. This is one
where we are not jumping out on some policy of preemption, and
we are working very hard with groups of countries and with the
international organizations and the international system.
You know, one question gets us for trying to preempt, and
the next question gets us for not trying to preempt. We are
trying to balance. This is a difficult situation. We have a set
of policies. We are pursuing them patiently and persistently,
and we are determined to see a denuclearized Korean Peninsula.
Senator Nelson. All right, Mr. Chairman, I just want to
critique this. The Assistant Secretary has listed five reasons,
and I think that it would be this Senator's position that,
first of all, you have to make up your own mind, that, at the
end of the day, that North Korea is not going to have nukes.
And that has to be stated. That is going to be the policy. And
at the end of the day, that is going to happen.
Mr. Wolf. Agreed.
Senator Nelson. But that needs to be very clearly
communicated. You have mentioned five areas. You are working
with nuclear suppliers, you are working with the International
Atomic Energy Agency, you want to work with the U.N. Security
Council, you are working in your diplomatic efforts through the
multinational contacts, and that you are working with Korea's
neighbors. All of those five are very important. But if you
make up your mind that, at the end of the day, they are going
to be de-nuked, you have got to keep the military option on the
table and you have got to engage them in every possible way,
diplomatically. And if they say, We want to talk one on one,
then there is no reason of pride or past history that you
should not engage them at that level, as well, if, at the end
of the day, where you want to be is a non-nuked North Korea.
You do not want to hear that, because you have been given
instructions that you are not to engage one on one. That is why
I think it is not serious that, at the end of the day, you all
have made up your minds that you are going to defang North
Korea. And the potential devastation to the interests of the
United States seems to me to be so apparent, for them to remain
a nuclear power and then to become a nuclear peddler, that it
just--I do not know why we are going through these kind of
semantic games and diplomatic dances.
Share with me, help clarify, some why.
Mr. Wolf. Thank you, Senator, and thank you for reminding
me of something that I should have said.
I think it is very clear that I was saying no nuclear
weapons on the Korean Peninsula, but let me be very clear, No
nuclear weapons. That is the end state we want.
And thank you also for reminding me, because it is part of
the stated policy and it is also in my written testimony, all
options are on the table. But the course that we are on is a
diplomatic course. And the administration has had intense
discussions about how we might proceed forward. And it is our
view this is not the U.S.' problem, and as much as Pyongyang
might like to bilateralize the issue, we are going to work with
South Korea and Japan, and we are going to work with the other
members of the P-5, that everybody has to share in creating a
course through this, and everybody has to have a vested
interest in the outcome of it.
We have tried alternatives before. We tried the bilateral
before. We tried in 1994. The Agreed Framework. North Korea
violated their agreement with us. It did not matter--you know,
to the rest of the world, Well, gee, that is too bad. This
time, wherever we go, we want to be sure that there is buy-in
by the neighbors, buy-in by the other major countries that have
an interest in the peace and security of the Korean Peninsula,
have the same interest that you have expressed in ensuring that
North Korea not be a nuclear peddler. And this is the course we
are on. We are trying to create this multilateral path toward
You know, you do not see progress until there is progress.
And we are trying very hard, and sometimes we see some
favorable augurs and sometimes we do not, but we are going to
be patient, we are going to be persistent. The end state is a
denuclearized Korean Peninsula. All options are on the table,
but that is not the path we are going down now.
Senator Nelson. Well, you have my good wishes and my hopes
and my prayers for you. I think that there is nothing more
important at this point, besides us going after the terrorist
networks, to get the situation straightened out with North
Korea. Otherwise, we are going to rue the day.
We know they are peddlers. Look at what they are trying to
do with their rockets. Why we did not, when we intercepted the
rockets going to Yemen, keep those is beyond me, because it
just fosters this image that they can do what they want, and
now the next step is to start peddling nuclear material. And
this is just so devastatingly important to the interests of the
United States, and I just do not know why you all would not be
engaging one on one.
But I am a Senator; I am not President. If I were, I would
be doing something about it, but, Mr. Chairman, I am not
running for President.
Mr. Wolf. Thank you, Senator.
The Chairman. Well, thank you very much for that line of
I will not prolong, but we did have a good hearing with
Assistant Secretary Kelly, and he was in the audience two
nights ago when I was privileged to address the Heritage
Foundation in Asian Studies' 20th Anniversary and review once
again the North Korean negotiations. And I suppose, just simply
for sake of argument, there may be a difference between
bilateral talks and direct talks, but within the context of
other people sitting around the table or in the room, however
we can arrange it. I would hope that that has not been ruled
out, and I appreciate the Senator, once again, pursuing that.
I want to pursue one more thing while you are here,
Secretary Wolf. I would like to get your views on the Jjoint
Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel and Radioactive Waste
Management currently being considered by our committee. We have
been working closely with the State Department and come to an
agreement on a resolution of ratification that protects Senate
prerogatives while providing our advice and consent to
ratification. It is my hope the treaty can be ratified before
an April 6 organizational meeting of the parties. Ratification
prior to this date will permit the administration to influence
the organization of the peer-review process and fully
participate in the November 2003 meeting. And I have expressed
my thanks to Senator Biden and his staff for working closely
with staff on our side to meet this goal.
Let me just ask, What is the purpose of the Joint
Convention? And why is the convention important to United
States foreign policy interests?
Mr. Wolf. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I will make a brief
comment. And if I might ask Dick Stratford, who actually was
our chief negotiator and the architect, to join me at the
table, I think he will be able to do a lot better with the
details than I.
The Chairman. I would ask him to come forward.
Mr. Wolf. But as you say, it is designed to achieve a high
level of safety for spent fuel and radioactive waste, and it
matches and is part of the--you know, it matches the Convention
on Nuclear Safety. This is the back end of the front end that
we have been talking about. It is consistent with our policy to
support safety as a top priority. It is one of the five goals
that I have in the Nonproliferation Bureau, is to ensure that
nuclear power can be used safely. But if it is to be used
safely and if the public is to have confidence, we need to have
some processes and some practices that show that the operators
are, in fact, operating in a safe way.
But if I might defer to Mr. Stratford, he might make
The Chairman. Yes. Mr. Stratford.
Mr. Stratford. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chairman, just for the record, my name is Dick
Stratford, and I am the Director of Nuclear Energy Affairs in
the Nonproliferation Bureau. I was the U.S. head of delegation
for negotiation of both the Waste Convention and its
predecessor, the Nuclear Safety Convention.
In brief, what we tried to do was to establish an
international obligation to create a regulatory regime for
waste management around the world and then create an obligation
for countries to prepare national reports, which, in essence,
say, ``This is how we are going about meeting those
obligations,'' and then to establish a peer-review system for
the review of those reports.
It turns out that the Convention on Nuclear Safety, to
which we are a party, has done that very well, and I think my
colleagues at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, in particular,
would say that they were impressed with the peer-review process
and it gave them an opportunity to have a very strong input on
programs of other countries. If we are a party to the Waste
Convention,, we will have the opportunity to do the same thing
this fall at the November meeting of the parties.
So, in short, what it does is gives us a shot at taking a
good, hard look at what the other parties are doing in terms of
dealing with radioactive waste and spent fuel.
The Chairman. Well, I thank you for that answer. I
congratulate you on your work as our chief negotiator. And I
think it is a constructive and positive development. And, as I
have admitted, I wanted to take advantage of the presence of
both of you today to have this testimony for the record,
because--I will consult with the distinguished ranking member,
Senator Biden, but I suspect it would be our hope to progress
with this at a business session of the committee in the near
future to meet the deadlines that you have stipulated.
Mr. Wolf. Thank you very much, and we thank you for your
support and Senator Biden's in the variety of things that we
are doing. I know the passion that you have for
nonproliferation. I often go around in other countries saying
one of the problems we find is that there is not enough emotion
and enough passion in the discussion that we have with other
nations. They deal with it almost pro forma, but I do not think
I find that, Mr. Chairman, in your committee.
The Chairman. No.
Mr. Wolf. So I thank you for keeping us on our toes, and I
thank you for the support that you give to us in our efforts.
The Chairman. Oh, thank you. Never pro forma here. Very
genuine passion not only on the part of the chairman, but, as
you can tell from our members who participated today. And we
appreciate your coming, Mr. Secretary, Mr. Stratford.
Mr. Wolf. Yes, sir.
The Chairman. And we will now call upon our second panel.
Senator Nelson. Mr. Chairman, is it possible that I could
ask one further quick question?
The Chairman. Of course. Let me just inject, because I
should have already, Senator Biden would like to submit
questions for the record on the treaty that we were just
discussing, and, obviously, we will support his doing that, and
we also will support your responding to them promptly so that
we can progress.
Mr. Wolf. We will, thank you, sir.
The Chairman. Senator Nelson.
Senator Nelson. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I wanted to bring up the issue of Iran, us trying to keep
them from becoming a nuclear power, and particularly with their
association with Hezbollah and how that could complicate things
for us. Would you share with us your thoughts about Iran?
Mr. Wolf. Thank you, Senator.
This is one of the situation-bad-and-getting-worse problems
that I was talking about at the start of my discussion. We have
not been taken by surprise. We have been watching the evolution
of the Iranian program over some period of time. We have
consulted with our counterparts in the Nuclear Suppliers Group.
We have briefed the Nuclear Suppliers Group. We have briefed
the IAEA. We have talked to the EU, we have actually had Iran
in our so-called 721 Report on Nonproliferation put out by the
Central Intelligence Agency, so we have worked with the
Russians and the Chinese and others, and we are. But what we
saw, starting last summer when opposition group NCRI published
their photographs of several facilities, this has raised the
public awareness. The Director General ElBaradei's trip to Iran
a couple of weeks ago only peeled back further the clandestine
cover that Iran has been keeping over bold, almost aggressive
development of a nuclear fuel cycle that can make no sense at
all in terms of where Iran is and what makes sense for a
country. It only fits, in our view, with a nuclear weapons
So we have had active consultations with the IAEA and with
the Board of Governors, which has met in Vienna. The IAEA Board
of Governors met this week. There was an initial report. There
is an IAEA team that was following up Dr. ElBaradei's visit,
and they will be reporting back shortly. We will be very active
in our discussions with our partners and others about the steps
that we can take both to limit the access that Iran has to
foreign technology, although one of the sobering points from
Dr. ElBaradei's trip report is that the Iranians seem to be
able to do a lot themselves now.
Senator Nelson. And what are those steps?
Mr. Wolf. Well, we are working in the Nuclear Suppliers
Group to cutoff--we are trying to convince countries to cutoff,
monitor, and not to sell the kinds of technologies which might
facilitate Iran's development. We want people to understand
that it is possible to operate a nuclear program under
safeguards, as Iran does, even while they are developing a
clandestine nuclear capability, which they have also been
We are working with the IAEA and others on the kinds of
safeguard procedures that could be applied to the kinds of
facilities that Iran has so far identified, although I suspect
that what they have identified to the IAEA is only a portion of
what they have. But we are working on new safeguards
We have a very active discussion with the Russians, who
have been supporting the development of the Bushehr reactor. We
think that is a mistake, all the more so because of the
revelations that have come out.
Our policies are still evolving, because, in part, there
was not an adequate international acceptance. There was an
awareness, because we have been talking, but not an
international acceptance. And I think, as you said about North
Korea, so we would say also about Iran, that it is really not,
it is just not on, to see Iran develop a nuclear weapons
capability. That would be a profound danger in that part of the
world, a profound danger to our friends in that part of the
world. And I think, for the reasons that you say, among others,
it would be a profound danger to us, as well.
Senator Nelson. Mr. Chairman, perhaps you will consider a
hearing on this at some future time. The steps, as outlined by
the Secretary--cut off the technology and other supplies to
Iran, spread the word, publicize it, third, work through the
IAEA, and, fourth, work with the Russians--those are all
positive steps, but----
Mr. Wolf. And the Chinese.
Senator Nelson [continuing]. But I am not sure, at the end
of the day, that that is going to do it. So perhaps we need to
keep focusing on this and encourage the administration to keep
moving in that direction.
The Chairman. Well, the Senator's point is well taken, and
the committee, as the Senator knows, is a very active member in
all these hearings trying to keep the focus of the
administration on a number of things, and I think we are in
agreement, the administration is, that it can handle a number
of things simultaneously. We will need to, because these are
dangerous predicaments in the world and, for better or for
worse, fall into your shop, Assistant Secretary Wolf, at this
moment in history.
Mr. Wolf. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. We welcome your support
and the support of your committee, and we welcome when you
rivet our attention on these things, because these are not
trivial issues. These are important to the safety and security
of the United States, but they are important to the safety and
security of friends and allies all around the world. And so the
Secretary told me a long time ago, I think, when he offered me
the job, this is an area where we cannot afford to get it
wrong. But getting it right is hard work, and we just have to
keep working at it, and we have to get it right.
The Chairman. Well, as your partners, with our oversight
function, we have these hearings.
Mr. Wolf. Thank you.
The Chairman. They are well attended by people who have
come today to hear your testimony, hear our other witnesses, by
the press, who magnify, at least, whatever occurs here,
largely, to the American people. And so it is important that
all of us remain focused.
Mr. Wolf. Thank you. It is helpful to us. I mean, it helps
us to focus, too, and just to step back for a moment and
present our report card of what we have been doing, where we
are going, where we have problems, where can ask you both for
advice and where we can ask you for tangible help. And I know
when we come here that we will get both.
The Chairman. Thank you very much.
The Chair would like now to call on our second panel of
witnesses. They will include the Honorable Rose E.
Gottemoeller, senior associate, Carnegie Endowment for
International Peace in Washington, DC, the Honorable Charles B.
Curtis, president and chief operating officer of the Nuclear
Threat Initiative in Washington, DC, and Dr. Amy E. Smithson,
senior associate, The Henry L. Stimson Center in Washington,
It is a real privilege to welcome each of you before the
committee today. I would admit that I am not a disinterested
observer. All of you are friends, and you have been working in
this field for many, many years in various responsibilities and
perspectives. So we appreciate your giving this time and your
As with the previous panel, I would indicate that all of
your statements will be published in the record in full. I will
ask each of you to proceed to summarize or to present your
views in whatever form you find most satisfying. And I will ask
you to testify in the order that I introduced you, and that
would be, first of all, Dr. Gottemoeller, then Secretary
Curtis, and then Dr. Smithson.
STATEMENT OF HON. ROSE E. GOTTEMOELLER, SENIOR ASSOCIATE,
CARNEGIE ENDOWMENT FOR INTERNATIONAL PEACE, WASHINGTON, DC
Ms. Gottemoeller. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. And
indeed, it is a great honor and a pleasure to appear before you
today. I appreciate very much your offer for me to place my
full statement in the record. I would really like to
concentrate my remarks on three points today and then conclude
by underscoring, as I see it, the importance of
internationalization of these programs.
First of all, I very much agree with the assessment
Assistant Secretary Wolf made an hour ago that this is a dire
situation. And indeed, I open my testimony by recalling the
Baker-Cutler report from January 2001 that weapons of mass
destruction proliferation represents the most urgent unmet
national security threat. That is still true today and, in my
view, is becoming worse. We have accomplished much in our
threat reduction programs and nonproliferation cooperation,
particularly with Russia and the countries of the former Soviet
Union, but there is still much to be done.
As I said, I would like to summarize my testimony by
emphasizing three points--one on the budget, one on management
of the programs, and one on resolving barriers and impediments.
On the budget, first of all, we should concentrate on
making these programs an incontrovertible priority in our
Federal budget. I applaud the Bush administration for
increasing the budgets overall and, furthermore, for expanding
the time line for the programs out in their commitment to the
so-called 10 plus 10 over 10 initiative. They have committed to
spend a billion dollars per year over the next 10 years as long
as the funds are matched by our G-8 partners. I think, indeed,
that this kind of stable and long-term commitment is very
important and will not, I believe, be money ill spent.
We do not need to have an enormous budget in this arena,
but we need to have a stable and long-term commitment, and I
believe we are well on our way in that direction, but I would
note that it is an area that we still need to do some work on.
I also stated in my testimony, and I believe it is very
important, that we need to continue to develop other sources,
as well. The new commitments of the G-8 at Kananaskis were
important. And furthermore, I think private-sector funding, as
well as the Russian Federal budget should be considered
increasingly as sources for funding these kinds of programs,
particularly, in this case, in the Russian Federation. As the
Russian Federal budget improves, I believe Moscow can take on
increasing commitments in this area.
Second point, Mr. Chairman, on management. I am stressing
in my testimony that I believe no one-size-fits-all approach
will resolve all of our management problems in this arena. And
I noted, with some amusement, Secretary Wolf's comments in the
previous session about trying to get the interagency process
right over the last 200-plus years. Indeed, that has been a
Nevertheless, I am not, myself, a great fan of a single
kind of solution to our problems in this area when we have
extraordinarily urgent projects already that need to be worked
on, such as returning reactor fuel from Soviet-built research
reactors around the world. That is the reason why I say we
should not be stuck on one fix, such as the so-called czar
approach, but should be thinking of a number of flexible
approaches for resolving problems. And in my testimony, I take
note of the way we used a so-called tiger team during the
Sapphire Operation in 1994 with a number of experts working
against very tough deadlines to get work done within a short
period of time. And that is the kind of flexible approach I
think we should be looking at across the board.
Third point, on resolving barriers and impediments. Here,
too, I believe we should not be stuck on a one-size-fits-all
solution to our problems in this area. Personally, as Deputy
Under Secretary of Energy responsible for nonproliferation
programs, I felt stymied often by the kinds of barriers and
impediments thrown in our way by both the Russian Federation
and sometimes by my own colleagues here in Washington. I think
it is important that we think about a number of ways to work
these problems and not be overly dependent on any one
mechanism. I note in my testimony that I think over-dependence
on the CTR umbrella agreement might be a difficulty. We need to
be looking at a number of legal mechanisms that will help us to
resolve issues in the area of barriers and impediments, areas
such as access, liability, intellectual property rights, and so
forth. I think the proof has been in the way we have had
success across very large projects that the Federal Government
has undertaken over the years. There have been a number of
legal approaches that have worked, so we need to be able to
cast the net quite wide.
And furthermore, Mr. Chairman--and here I am segueing into
my concluding point--as we expand to new regions to carry
forward our nonproliferation cooperation, I think that we have
extraordinarily important and useful precedents in the work we
have done over the years under the Cooperative Threat Reduction
umbrella agreement and under our extant threat reduction
programs. However, I do think it will be very important to
think about how we might develop further our mechanisms for
working in different regions of the world where legal
arrangements might be very different. And so I would urge all
of us to be considering broader ways to address some of these
barriers and impediments, because I think it will help us to
move into internationalization of these programs.
Mr. Chairman, I would like to end with a bit of good news.
Over the past year, both you, sir, as well as I--you, at a very
high level, of course--but you have been very interested in
taking these programs and expanding them out into other areas
of the world where there are proliferation problems. I make
note in my testimony of the Lugar Doctrine, which you launched
in December over a year ago. Consonant with your efforts, I
have been working on looking at how we might take the
experience of working in the former Soviet Union and expand it
to other areas of the world. This work I have now briefed in
Moscow, in Beijing, among other G-8 countries and other
partners, in addition to countries in South Asia, and I wanted
to convey to you, sir, that, in my view, there is a wide range
of interest among potential international partners in working
with us on proliferation cooperation. And so I think we can, in
the coming year, think very seriously about specific agenda
items in this arena, and I would certainly urge your committee,
as well as the Federal Government, to continue to look to ways
to expand this work into other regions of the world.
Thank you, sir.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Gottemoeller follows:]
Prepared Statement of Hon. Rose Gottemoeller, Senior Associate,
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Mr. Chairman and Distinguished Members of the Committee, thank you
for the honor of testifying before you today on this most critical
topic, the range of proliferation threats the United States is likely
to face in the future, as well as the current set of proliferation
problems. They do indeed present an opportunity for evaluating current
U.S. nonproliferation programs, to design their future structure and
substance for maximum effectiveness in confronting these dangerous,
unpredictable threats to the United States.
I would like to begin by recalling that, in 2000, Senator Howard
Baker and the Honorable Lloyd Cutler co-chaired a bipartisan task force
that produced a study, ``A Report Card on the Department of Energy's
Nonproliferation Programs with Russia,'' in January 2001. I have a
particularly strong knowledge of this study, because it was undertaken
to review programs that were under my responsibility when I was the
Deputy Undersecretary of Energy for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation.
The task force produced three main conclusions:
1. The most urgent unmet national security threat to the
United States today is the danger that weapons of mass
destruction or weapons-usable material in Russia could be
stolen and sold to terrorists or hostile nation states and used
against American troops abroad or citizens at home.
2. Current nonproliferation programs in the Department of
Energy, the Department of Defense, and related agencies have
achieved impressive results thus far, but their limited mandate
and funding fall short of what is required to address
adequately the threat.
3. The new President and leaders of the 107th Congress face
the urgent national security challenge of devising an enhanced
response proportionate to the threat. That enhanced response
should include: a net assessment of threat; a clear achievable
mission statement; the development of a strategy with specific
goals and measurable objectives; a more centralized command of
the financial and human resources required to do the job; and
an identification of criteria for measuring the benefits for
Russia, the United States, and the entire world.\1\
\1\ ``A Report Card on the Department of Energy's Nonproliferation
Programs with Russia,'' January 10, 2001; Howard Baker and Lloyd
Cutler, Co-Chairs of the Russia Task Force, The Secretary of Energy
Advisory Board, United States Department of Energy.
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee, these conclusions were
published on January 10, 2001, almost nine months to the day before the
terrible attacks of September 11, 2001. They were sadly prescient, and
remain extraordinarily valid today. Likewise, the enhanced response
that the Task Force proposed is largely achievable, with the proper
leadership and focus in the Bush Administration and in this Congress.
Indeed, the greatest concern that I have today is not that the
agenda is uncertain, but that its leadership is unfocused. The
impending conflict in Iraq and the potential for attacks on U.S.
homeland targets are real, and therefore preparations for fighting a
war and for defending the U.S. homeland are vigorous. However, the
possibility that weapons of mass destruction might get into the wrong
hands and endanger our troops in Iraq or our public at home is also
very real, and must be tackled with equal vigor. The threat to U.S.
troops abroad and U.S. homeland targets is in fact sharply exacerbated
by proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
Mr. Chairman, you have been prominent in calling our
nonproliferation cooperation programs ``the first line of defense'' of
the United States. I strongly agree with this assessment, and would
further state that the nonproliferation cooperation programs should
have the same degree of attention in the policy process as do our
troops in the field and our homeland defenders. Quite simply, our
soldiers and defenders will have an easier time in achieving the
military and national security goals that we have placed on their
shoulders if we succeed in reducing the proliferation threat through
our cooperative programs.
To focus leadership in this arena, I would propose a basic step:
Establish an effective interagency that can respond quickly
and flexibly, in several forms, to new challenges and urgent
A ``one-size-fits-all'' approach to interagency cooperation is not
the answer to the leadership problems in this arena. In my view, the
classic interagency working group, which meets regularly and is chaired
by the National Security Council, is the basic mechanism that is
effective in achieving results. However, when crises and the need for
quick action arise, other mechanisms should be readily available to top
decision-makers. A case in point is the 1994 Sapphire operation, when
the United States cooperated with Kazakhstan to remove 600 kilograms of
highly enriched uranium (HEU) out of harm's way in that country, to
safe storage in the United States.
To achieve quick results, a ``tiger team'' mechanism was used to
break through bureaucratic barriers and coordinate the very complex
operation. This team operated under the aegis of the interagency
working group at the NSC. However, unlike a classic interagency working
group, the members met on a daily basis, sometimes for many hours at a
time, performing against a highly demanding deadline--removing the HEU
before snow started to fall in central Kazakhstan in the autumn of
1994. With guidance and help from senior levels in the interagency
working group, the tiger team succeeded admirably. The HEU was removed
from Kazakhstan within a very short time period before the end of
Flexible approaches of this type should be in constant use, making
use of talented experts under high-level guidance. The proliferation
problems that we face are urgent, and need more full-time, priority
attention than the interagency leadership, saddled with many
simultaneous demands and responsibilities, can give them.
More flexibility in management arrangements will also be important
as public-private partnerships take hold in the nonproliferation policy
arena. The 2002 cooperation between the U.S. government and the Nuclear
Threat Initiative (NTI) to remove nuclear material from the Vinca
reactor site in Belgrade was a signal success, which I hope will be
repeated in future cooperative ventures. A high-ranking team from the
USG, NTI and the International Atomic Energy Agency undertook the
management of this project. While they achieved admirable results on
this occasion, they probably would benefit in future from having a
mechanism such as a public-private tiger team. An expert team, with
proper guidance, authority and deadlines, could work through the
details of nuclear material transfers and save higher level decision-
makers much time and effort.
Mr. Chairman and Distinguished Members, I am often asked whether I
think that the budget for our nonproliferation cooperation programs is
adequate. Consistent with the point I made at the outset, I believe
that these programs should receive the highest priority in the national
budget process, as do other defense and homeland security programs. The
cooperative programs are, once again, the first line of defense of the
United States, and therefore should receive significant additional
resources. I welcomed the ten-year commitment that the Bush
Administration made to these programs in the so-called ``ten plus ten
over ten'' initiative--ten billion dollars to be spent over ten years,
matched by an additional ten billion from other members of the Group of
Eight (G-8) industrialized countries. However, I would note that a
billion dollars annually is a small fraction of the annual U.S. defense
budget, which for FY 03 was at $355 billion.
I am not arguing that nonproliferation programs should be funded at
the same level as the overall defense budget, but that they should be
considered a priority as incontrovertible in the budget process as
defense spending. As to amount of increase, my view is that the
programs could easily absorb a doubling of the billion dollars to two
billion dollars per year, matched by the billion dollars per year from
the rest of the G-8. The total, $3 billion per year over the next ten
years, is consistent with the amount suggested by the Baker-Cutler Task
Force. The Task Force believed that this level of funding would allow
for an acceleration of the programs and their completion within the
At the same time, I would like to stress that the U.S. federal
budget should not be the only source used to support these programs. I
have already noted the positive nature of the new G-8 initiative, which
is formally known as the Global Partnership Against the Spread of
Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction. Agreed during the G-8 summit
at Kananaskis, Canada in June 2002, the initiative for the first time
is drawing the G-8 together as a coherent group committed to funding
such nonproliferation cooperation, in the first instance in the Russian
Federation, but also potentially extending to other regions of the
The new Global Partnership is also serving as an additional focal
point for countries such as Norway, which have long been committed to
tackling problems related to the break-up of the Soviet nuclear arsenal
in their own regions. Norway has been enormously effective, for
example, in developing cooperative programs to handle radioactive waste
disposal in the Northern Fleet/Arctic region, and is examining large-
scale future projects such as dismantlement of general-purpose nuclear
submarines no longer operational in the Russian Navy. Cooperation and
coordination among G-8 and other countries committed to these programs
should be encouraged and advanced.
General-purpose submarine dismantlement can be used to highlight
another potential funding approach for these cooperative projects--the
private sector. Reactor fuel withdrawn from Russian general-purpose
submarines is currently processed at Russian facilities and fabricated
into fuel for nuclear power plants in Russia. It is possible, in
future, that such submarine reactor fuel could be processed and
fabricated into fuel for foreign customers, thus generating a revenue
stream via the private sector that could be used to partially fund
further dismantlement of general-purpose submarines.
A partial self-financing approach has been successful, although not
completely so, in the implementation of the highly enriched uranium
purchase agreement (the HEU agreement). It is high time that the
concept be further developed and applied to other projects, recognizing
that due care need be taken not to perturb ongoing efforts such as the
The concept of self-financing highlights an additional point about
future funding for the programs: If the Russian economy continues to
improve, the Russians should be asked to contribute more resources to
these programs from their own national budget. Take the example cited
above: currently, foreign partners make no demands on the Russian
Federation with regard to nuclear fuel withdrawn from either strategic
or general purpose submarines. It remains an asset for Russia to
dispose of as it wishes, in part by processing and fabricating it into
fuel for Russian civilian nuclear power plants.
Although not all fuel removed from Russian submarines would be
appropriate for processing and commercial re-sale, some of it is likely
to be. This could be a partial funding stream for Russian general-
purpose submarine dismantlement, a Russian contribution to the effort.
Before I leave the budget topic, I would like to reiterate my
conviction that this money is well spent in preserving and
strengthening U.S. national security. To back up the point, I was
impressed to read the recent testimony of GAO Director Joseph Christoff
before the House Committee on Armed Services. Mr. Christoff asserted
that within two years of beginning a program to help the Russian Navy
secure its nuclear warheads, the Department of Energy had begun
installing security systems at 41 of 42 Navy sites in Russia.\2\ When
we are getting fast results of this kind, we are bolstering our
security on a real-time basis. Both the Department of Energy and the
Russian Navy can be proud to be making such a strong contribution to
the security of the United States and the Russian Federation. When we
are encountering delays and difficulties, as I know has been a concern
to many members of Congress, we must stay the course and work through
the issues. I am convinced that when both partners believe the
cooperation is equally in their interests, they can perform rapidly and
efficiently to get the job done. Furthermore, barriers and impediments
to cooperation can be overcome.
\2\ Statement of Joseph A. Christoff, Director, International
Affairs and Trade, General Accounting Office: ``Weapons of Mass
Destruction: Observations on U.S. Threat Reduction and Nonproliferation
Programs in Russia,'' GAO-03-526T, March 5, 2003.
BARRIERS AND IMPEDIMENTS
Mr. Chairman and Distinguished Members, the G-8 global partnership
calls on all participating countries to measure up to certain
guidelines, which among others include effective monitoring of funds
expended, adequate access for donors to work sites, open and
transparent procurement practices, adequate liability protection, and
effective protection of intellectual property.\3\ These guidelines are
important, because in the past, issues related to access, intellectual
property, liability, etc. have essentially stymied progress in our
nonproliferation cooperation with the Russian Federation.
\3\ Statement by G-8 Leaders, ``The G-8 Global Partnership Against
the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction,'' Kananaskis,
Canada, June 2002.
I have personally experienced many of these barriers and
impediments over the years that I worked with the Russian Federation as
an official of the U.S. government. It is frustrating to be stymied
from accomplishing important nonproliferation work that both sides
agree is vital to the national security of both Russia and the United
States. In fairness, I must stress that barriers and impediments to
cooperation also occur on the U.S. side. My comments, therefore, apply
to both parties.
Impediments to the implementation of joint nonproliferation and
threat reduction programs are both problematic and counterproductive.
These impediments to cooperation, and the political, bureaucratic, and
structural problems that are behind them, are so complex and interwoven
that no one solution will solve all the problems. As in the case of
interagency leadership, there can be no ``one-size-fits-all'' approach.
Instead, decision-makers need a variety of options upon which they can
draw to address specific problems.
One of the reasons why such a flexible approach is necessary is
that the Russian legal and regulatory system is under development. If
one were to wait until Russian liability or intellectual property law
``settled down'' into a uniform code, then one would likely be waiting
for many years to carry forward nonproliferation project work. We
should be looking for legal but imaginative ways to move forward. At
the same time, we can embrace the opportunities that this state of
development provides to inform Russian counterparts about various legal
approaches that have worked equally well in different realms such as
liability law. There are also opportunities to influence Russian legal
development, such as suggesting a certain legislative approach to a
My conviction that there can be no ``one-size-fits-all'' approach
to resolving barriers and impediments extends to overuse of the
Cooperative Threat Reduction umbrella agreement. The CTR agreement has
been an invaluable foundation for nonproliferation projects in the
Russian Federation, serving as the basic legal document underpinning a
number of implementing agreements for both Department of Defense and
Department of Energy programs.
But while the CTR agreement has played a tremendous role and will
continue to do so, it is not the only possible approach to resolving
differences in a way that makes legal sense in both U.S. and Russian
contexts. Even today, for example, liability for certain Department of
Energy projects is successfully handled through arrangements that do
not involve the CTR agreement. By considering how different legal
approaches might be used, we open up new opportunities for partnership,
not only with Russia, but also with other partners in Europe and around
the world. A flexible and more global perspective, in the legal as in
other contexts, will be increasingly important as we consider ways to
extend the experience of our nonproliferation cooperation with Russia
to other countries and regions of the world.
``INTERNATIONALIZATION'' OF NONPROLIFERATION COOPERATION
Mr. Chairman, over one year ago you began to articulate the ``Lugar
Doctrine'', calling on countries to cooperate to improve the protection
of weapons of mass destruction and their constituent materials and
components. You and Senator Sam Nunn have since proposed a ``Global
Coalition Against Catastrophic Terrorism,'' which has done an enormous
amount to raise international awareness of the need to protect
potentially vulnerable weapons of mass destruction assets.
Consonant with your efforts, I have spent much of the past year
examining how the experience of U.S.-Russian threat reduction and
nonproliferation cooperation might be extended to other regions of the
world. This work resulted in a Carnegie Endowment study, ``Enhancing
Nuclear Security in the Counter-terrorism Struggle,'' \4\ which I have
briefed in whole or in part in Washington, Moscow, Beijing, with other
G-8 partners and in South Asia. I am pleased to report to you that, in
my view, there is a significant amount of international interest in how
we might mine our ten-year experience in Russia and other states of the
former Soviet Union to inform and structure nonproliferation
cooperation in other parts of the world.
\4\ Rose Gottemoeller with Rebecca Longsworth, ``Enhancing Nuclear
Security in the Counter-Terrorism Struggle: India and Pakistan as a New
Region for Cooperation,'' Working Paper No. 29, August 2002, Carnegie
Endowment for International Peace, Global Policy Program, Non-
Proliferation Project. The author gratefully acknowledges that this
work was funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
I would like to use the opportunity of this testimony to highlight
a number of themes and issues that I believe are particularly relevant
to the internationalization goal. To begin with, I would like to note
that I have often found it important to emphasize how long it has taken
to establish nonproliferation cooperation with Russia. It took nearly
five years to engage key interest groups, for example in the Ministry
of Atomic Energy, and even longer to gain access to critical facilities
storing weapons-usable nuclear materials and warheads. Indeed, even
today, access to such facilities is still being developed. I conclude
from this experience that in many new regions and countries where we
would like to establish such cooperation, we will have to be patient.
Unless there is an unfolding crisis--for example, an acceleration of
thefts by facility insiders due to economic crisis in the country as a
whole--it will take time to establish the trust and mutual confidence
that is necessary to carry these programs forward.
Following this initial comment, I would like to offer a few
streamlined rules that I believe will be important for engaging
countries beyond the former Soviet Union in nonproliferation
1. We are likely to have to start with civilian nuclear
facilities, rather than with ``more critical'' military
facilities, because that is what the political traffic will
bear in the target countries. We should not shy away from this
reality, for two reasons. First, work carried out at civilian
facilities will have a demonstration effect that will be
``taken home'' to military facilities whether or not we are
present there; second, confidence-building will ensue among key
political elites, which is likely to result in more critical
facilities being offered up for cooperation.
2. We should take proactive steps to accelerate this
confidence-building among key political elites, in order to
accelerate the potential for cooperation. Some useful steps in
this regard are: exchanging best practices in the nuclear
security arena; using indigenous companies to provide goods and
services to cooperative projects; establishing cooperative
projects that are beneficial to the political system as a
whole, e.g. situation and crisis centers that are useful in
national emergency response; and establishing pilot projects on
a trial basis, with no long-term commitment. In the U.S.-
Russian context, we found that the pilot project approach was
especially effective in developing confidence in the
cooperation. Almost invariably, pilot projects positively
influenced decisions about further cooperation.
3. We should ``keep our eye on the prize,'' constantly asking
ourselves what we need to achieve to solve the most urgent
nuclear security problems. Thus, we should be willing to work
with a country to improve physical protection even of
unsafeguarded nuclear facilities, if they are subject to urgent
Some of these points are controversial, but they are realistic. The
experience of cooperating with Russia and the states of the former
Soviet Union to reduce nuclear threats has produced important
precedents, but they are not perfect models for working in other
regions of the world. For one thing, the Russian Federation is a
nuclear weapons state under the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and therefore
U.S.-Russia cooperation on nuclear security projects is a rather
straightforward affair. For other countries and in other regions, we
will have to consider carefully how to develop the cooperation in a way
that does not undermine the NPT regime. Nevertheless, I am confident
that the legal and policy space exists for joint projects to go forward
on the physical protection of nuclear assets in any country and at any
facility where the cooperation can be established.
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee, we are embarked on a
difficult period, when the established UN system and its accompanying
regimes such as the Non-Proliferation Treaty are being seriously
shaken. We have much work to do to ensure that they retain their
authority and influence in international affairs.
In this troubled period, I would like to draw your attention to a
hopeful possibility: might it not be possible to use the experience
that we have gained in the past ten years of U.S.-Russian cooperation
to fashion new methods for the nonproliferation regime? In future,
might it not be possible to give special credit to countries that
facilitate nonproliferation cooperation inside their nuclear
facilities? For example, if a country is cooperating with an
international team to enhance protection of nuclear fuel at its power
plants, and that team has regular access to those facilities, might we
not consider those facilities to be in good standing in the
nonproliferation regime? Naturally, this standing would only remain in
place for as long as the cooperation remained intact. Again, these are
new ideas, but I believe that they are worth exploring.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for the opportunity to give this
testimony. I look forward to your questions and comments.
The Chairman. Well, thank you very much, Dr. Gottemoeller.
Let me say, in introduction further of Secretary Curtis,
that the work of the Nuclear Threat Initiative in the Vinca
situation that has already been mentioned by Assistant
Secretary Wolf was really exemplary. And the facts are that $5
million of NTI money and about $2 million of money from the
Federal Government was involved in that affair. And in part,
that division came because of restrictions in our programs of
what money can be used for. Very specifically, there have
always been prohibitions against environmental work. Obviously,
people who have laboratories and have difficulties have
environmental problems in the quid pro quo. Secretary Curtis
can go into this further. Part of our mission in getting a hold
of the spent fuel is to clean up the problem.
So this flexibility that you have talked about, Dr.
Gottemoeller, really comes home in spades. In a very specific
instance, it has been widely applauded. Nevertheless, as a case
in point, perhaps we need to have some chance in our own
legislation and in our work at bureaus.
Now, with all of that, Secretary Curtis, let me recognize
you. And we appreciate, again, your coming today.
STATEMENT OF HON. CHARLES B. CURTIS, PRESIDENT AND CHIEF
OPERATING OFFICER, NUCLEAR THREAT INITIATIVE, WASHINGTON, DC
Mr. Curtis. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate the kind
words about Vinca. Let me reflectively offer kind words to the
Departments of Energy and State, whose operational expertise
and partnership helped pull that off. We had an important, but
a relatively minor, contributive role to what was a very
important nonproliferation action.
You know, Secretary Wolf spoke earlier about a partnership,
that those who know these dangers, who know the urgency of
these problems, must really be engaged in an effective
partnership to reduce the threats from weapons of mass
destruction. We at NTI view our role as just that, as
partnering, where possible, with our government and with other
actors to meaningfully address the threats that we face and
help close the gap that we see between dangers that we face and
the response that we have marshalled, both domestically and
internationally, to those dangers.
As my remarks will make clear, though, NTI sees its role
not only as a partner, but as an assistant conscience on these
matters, and I will have some comments toward that end.
Mr. Chairman, I would like to begin my testimony by
recalling, for emphasis, the words President Bush used in
introducing the latest version of the U.S. national security
strategy, words which, in part, you quoted in your opening
remarks, ``The gravest danger our Nation faces lies at the
crossroads of radicalism and in technology. Our enemies have
openly declared they are seeking weapons of mass destruction,
and evidence indicates they are doing so with determination.
The United States will not allow these efforts to succeed. We
will cooperate with other nations to deny, contain, and curtail
our enemies' efforts to acquire these dangerous technologies.''
I have been encouraged to hear these and other Presidential
statements confirmed as correct assessment of the dangers we
face, but our actions, as yet, are falling far short of our
words. That is not to say that we do not have competent
individuals who approach their jobs in this field with enormous
determination and creativity. As your opening remarks
indicated, Secretary Abraham, in particular, and Litton Brooks,
the team at the Department of Energy, have made significant
progress in their tenure on the job. The people who selflessly
devote themselves to this noble cause deserve our praise and
support, but they also deserve our objectivity. And in the
spirit of objectivity, it is fair to say that they must quicken
the pace and expand the scope of what they strive every day to
The President's strategy to combat weapons of mass
destruction must be translated into a concrete prioritized plan
with carefully defined elements for nuclear, chemical, and
biological weapons, with clearly defined milestones, and
clearly defined accountability. For this to happen, the
President must make crystal-clear that what he has called his
number-one security priority, keeping the world's most
destructive weapons out of the hands of the world's most
dangerous people, is, in words and in practice, the No. 1
priority of this administration. And the President, himself,
must exercise direct and sustained leadership on these matters
and put someone specifically in charge of this essential
mission, someone who has and is seen to have the President's
and his national security advisors' full confidence.
Mr. Chairman, as you and your colleagues well know, much
remains to be done in meeting this priority. Russia's nuclear
weapons and weapons materials are still dangerously insecure.
By the Energy Department's own account, security upgrades work
has not even begun on more than 120 metric tons of plutonium
and highly enriched uranium. Not even yet begun. Moreover, we
have no accounting for Russia's nonstrategic weapons and still
have factors of uncertainty over how many they have or how
secure they are. Hundreds of thousands of weapons, chemical
weapons, await destruction at Shchuch'ye and other venues. And
thousands of Russia's, former Soviet Union, bio-weapons
scientists, which our own intelligence community classifies as
security risks, are yet to find sustained, peaceful work.
Mr. Chairman, I wanted to congratulate the efforts that you
have made to grant the executive branch permanent waiver
authority so that the Nunn-Lugar program, which performs vital
work in cooperation with Russia and other former Soviet states,
can continue without interruption. If the President concludes
our national security interest is served by such a waiver, he
must be able to exercise that judgment in a manner that ensures
Nunn-Lugar's programmatic integrity. Should we ever suffer
attack by terrorists with weapons obtained from unsecure stores
of weapons and materials from the former Soviet Union, the
American people will be unforgiving to learn that programs
designed to prevent this occurrence were interrupted or
weakened because the President was constrained in his ability
to act in the best security interest of the United States. I
encourage the Congress to act decisively on this issue this
At the same time, we would do well to remember that
unsecured nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons and
materials reside outside the territory of the former Soviet
Union. Twenty metric tons of highly enriched uranium were
distributed to over 130 civilian reactors and other facilities
in 40 countries around the world in the last 50 years. We have
to get our hands around this problem and clean out the material
at risk. We know of at least two dozen circumstances requiring
our immediate attention, yet three-quarters of a year after the
removal of two bombs worth of highly enriched uranium from
Belgrade, Yugoslavia, we have yet to remove a single additional
kilogram from any other of these 24 high-risk circumstances.
Unsecured nuclear bomb material anywhere is a threat to
everyone everywhere, and the approach and the pace of these
programs is simply inadequate to the threat.
The point comes across clearly in a report published last
week by a team at Harvard University entitled ``Controlling
Nuclear Warheads and Materials,'' a report that you are very
familiar with, sir. While the focus of this report is on
nuclear weapons and materials, the same can be said about
chemical and biological weapons. We need a prioritized plan to
keep the world's most dangerous weapons out of the hands of the
world's most dangerous people, and we have to act on it with
high purpose and direct Presidential attention.
For us to succeed in meeting the proliferation challenges
facing our Nation, we will need an unprecedented level of
international security cooperation. With all of our might, the
United States cannot carry this mission out alone. It requires
all nations, all nations, to make sure that every nation with
nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons materials or know-how
accounts for what it has, secures what it has, and pledges that
no other nation or group will be allowed access. Mr. Chairman,
you will recognize those words. They are yours. This
straightforwardly stated objective, an objective which you set
forth in an article in the Washington Post over a year ago,
must be our No. 1 diplomatic priority. It should lead the
talking points of every interaction by our State Department,
with other nations, and by every interaction our President has
with other leaders. It needs to be the central organizing
principle of security in the 21st century.
As such, it is imperative that we expand the scope of
successful programs, such as Nunn-Lugar, the Department of
Energy's Material Protection Control and Accounting Program,
and the Department of State's Science center, export control
and border security activities. The lessons we have learned
during the last decade in working with the Russians and other
former Soviet states in a cooperative effort to reduce threats
can be applied in other regions of the world that face
instability and the prospect of open conflict. Making the Nunn-
Lugar concept global and extending its programmatic reach to
other nations and to the world's regional ``hot-spots'' is the
most important step Congress can take to deny terrorists access
to weapons of mass destruction and to reduce the potential that
these weapons may ever be used by states or non-state actors. I
strongly endorse the efforts to extend Nunn-Lugar globally,
beyond the borders of the former Soviet Union.
Mr. Chairman, in closing, I want to mention the G-8 Global
Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass
Destruction which the G-8 launched last summer in Canada. The
establishment of the G-8 Global Partnership and the leadership
commitments by member states to spend $20 billion on these
matters over the next 10 years, as you have noted, is a great
achievement. However, the G-8 makes many commitments at its
annual meetings. We must continue to invest the diplomatic
energy to make the G-8 Global Partnership real and to turn
shared principles into a clear set of priorities, to establish
a time line to guide the work, and make sure they devote
adequate resources to the work needed. And we need to press the
G-8 governments to make the Global Partnership truly global, to
include every nation with something to safeguard or that can
make a contribution to safeguarding it. Your persistent
oversight of these efforts through this committee will do much
to make the G-8 partnership real and to make the Global
Partnership truly a global coalition of nations.
Mr. Chairman, we often ask, at NTI and sometimes in the
hearing rooms of our Congress, if, pray to God, a terrorist
attack on the United States is launched with a weapon of mass
destruction, we would ask what should we have done to prevent
it and why are we not doing that now. Similarly, I think I
should ask what would I wish I had said when I had the
opportunity to say it. This is an opportunity, and what I must
say is we are not doing as much as we can or as much as we
must. And I say that with full respect and admiration for the
people who have come to this table today and who are working in
the trenches in the Departments of Energy, State, and Defense.
We are simply not addressing this problem with the urgency it
requires, the resources they require, or the planning attention
of our government and the international community it requires.
As I conclude these remarks, let me acknowledge, of course,
that there are other issues of weapons of mass destruction
policy that involve the vital security interest of our country
and the world, particularly the related matters of North
Korean, Iran, and Iraq, and I would be happy to address those
matters in questions which are to follow.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Curtis follows:]
Prepared Statement of Hon. Charles B. Curtis, President, Nuclear Threat
PROLIFERATION THREATS FACING THE UNITED STATES
Mr. Chairman, members of the Committee, I want to thank you for the
opportunity to share my thoughts and concerns about the gravest danger
facing our world today. I appear before you as the President and Chief
Operating Officer of the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI)--a charitable
organization committed to helping make the world safer from the threats
of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. Former Senator Sam Nunn
and Ted Turner co-chair NTI and we are proud to say that our foundation
benefits regularly from your guidance, Mr. Chairman, in your capacity
as a member of our Board of Directors. We are also thankful for Senator
Domenici's leadership on these issues as another member of our Board. I
should make clear, however, that my testimony is my own and has not
been reviewed or approved by NTI's Board of Directors.
Mr. Chairman, I would like to begin my testimony by recalling the
words President Bush used to introduce the latest version of the U.S.
National Security Strategy:
The gravest danger our Nation faces lies at the crossroads of
radicalism and technology. Our enemies have openly declared
that they are seeking weapons of mass destruction, and evidence
indicates that they are doing so with determination. The United
States will not allow these efforts to succeed . . . We will
cooperate with other nations to deny, contain, and curtail our
enemies' efforts to acquire dangerous technologies.
I have been encouraged to hear these and other Presidential
statements confirm this correct assessment of the dangers we face and
the need for international cooperation to mount an effective defense.
The U.S. government has now enshrined those words in a six-page
document entitled, ``National Security Strategy to Combat Weapons of
Mass Destruction.'' But our actions, as yet, are falling far short of
our words. If keeping weapons of mass destruction out of the hands of
our enemies is our number one security threat--who is in charge of this
important mission? Who's accountable? What is our plan? What, in fact,
``new'' is being done to deny those who intend us harm access to these
weapons, weapons materials and know-how? Information is scant, but, I
regret to say, I am increasingly concerned that the President's
``bureaucratic troops'' do not yet display the planning, coordination,
and degree of urgency this mission requires.
This is not to say that we do not have competent individuals who
approach their jobs in this field with enormous determination and
creativity. I know and respect many of them. They deserve your praise
and the praise of the American people. But they also deserve our
objectivity. Every day these individuals make a positive difference in
reducing the threats that face all nations. But we must do much more.
We must quicken the pace and expand the scope of what we seek to
accomplish. For, in spite of the President's words, keeping the world's
most dangerous weapons out of the hands of the world's most dangerous
people is not yet a budget priority. There is still a dangerous lag
between the President's words and our expenditures. Programs at the
Department of Defense, the Department of Energy and the Department of
State focused on securing vulnerable weapons and materials in Russia
and states of the former Soviet Union where much of the risk resides
are proceeding, at best, on a ``status quo plus'' basis.\1\
\1\ Running at $1 billion per year or roughly 1/3 of one percent of
the 2003 Department of Defense appropriation.
Russia's nuclear weapons and weapons materials are still
dangerously insecure. By the Energy Department's own account, security
upgrades work has not even begun on more than 120 metric tons of
plutonium and highly enriched uranium. As is widely known, it takes
mere pounds to make a nuclear device with the devastating effect of the
bomb exploded over Hiroshima. Moreover, we have no accounting for
Russia's non-strategic weapons and still have factors of uncertainty
over how many they have, and how secure they are. And for reasons
having to do more with political science than political foresight, we
stalled out the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction program for
almost a full fiscal year, while Congress considered different versions
of a waiver authority for the executive branch.
Mr. Chairman, I want to congratulate the efforts you have made to
grant the executive branch permanent waiver authority so that this
vital work can continue without interruption. If the President
concludes our national security interest is served by such a waiver, he
must be able to exercise that judgment in a manner that ensures the
programmatic integrity of Nunn-Lugar. A gap in program administration
opens an opportunity for terrorists and creates a gap in our own
security. To again recall the President's words, ``Our enemies have
openly declared they are seeking weapons of mass destruction and
evidence indicates they are doing so with determination.'' I encourage
this Congress to speak and act decisively on this issue--this session.
Should we ever suffer attack by terrorists with weapons obtained from
unsecured stores of weapons and materials from the former Soviet Union,
the American people will be unforgiving to learn that programs designed
to prevent this occurrence were interrupted or weakened because the
President was constrained in this ability to act in the best security
interest of the United States.
At a fundamental level, we must ask ourselves whether conditions on
security assistance to Russia and other former Soviet states--some of
which were put in place almost a decade ago--remain relevant in light
of the changed nature of the threats we face after September 11th. I
don't believe so. But at the very least, I believe the President must
have unqualified authority to waive those conditions in the interest of
national security as circumstances demand. The Nunn-Lugar program and
its counterparts at the Departments of Energy and State served the
security interest of this country well in the post-Cold War period. In
the post 9-11 era, Nunn-Lugar and its counterparts are needed ``now
more than ever.''
At the same time, we do well to remember that unsecured nuclear,
biological and chemical weapons and materials reside outside the
territory of the former Soviet Union. Our near-term security focus
should look beyond these borders. Twenty metric tons of highly enriched
uranium were distributed to over 130 civilian reactors and other
facilities in 40 countries around the world in the last 50 years, under
the ``Atoms for Peace'' program. Much of the material remains broadly
distributed throughout the globe at inadequately guarded sites. We have
to get our hands around this problem and clean out the material at
risk. We know of at least two dozen circumstances requiring our
immediate attention. We at NTI are pleased to have had a role in
addressing the most serious of these circumstances in Belgrade,
Yugoslavia, last year. The U.S. State Department, the Department of
Energy and Russia's Minatom deserve high marks for this operation,
which removed two and a half bombs worth of highly enriched uranium
from a research reactor near Belgrade to a secure location where it
will be blended down so it cannot be used in nuclear weapons. Yet we
have only just begun to do what needs to be done.
Unsecured nuclear bomb material anywhere is a threat to everyone,
everywhere and the approach and pace of these programs is inadequate to
the threat. This point comes across clearly in a report published last
week by a team at Harvard University entitled ``Controlling Nuclear
Warheads and Materials.'' \2\ This report, which was commissioned by
NTI, focuses attention on the requirements for sustained Presidential
leadership on these issues and on the need for an integrated,
prioritized plan for blocking the terrorist pathway to the bomb. While
the focus of this report is on nuclear weapons and materials, the same
can be said about biological and chemical weapons.
\2\ Matthew Bunn, Anthony Wier, John P. Holdren, ``Controlling
Nuclear Warheads and Materials--A Report Card and Action Plan,'' March
2003, Harvard University. Available at www.nti.org/cnwmj
We must fix our priorities so the greatest dangers draw our
greatest investments. Admittedly, designing an effective defense
against the full range of risks is a formidable challenge. To succeed,
we must begin with an objective, comprehensive national security
estimate that assesses each risk, ranks each threat, computes every
cost, and confronts the full range of dangers. From this analysis can
be constructed a broad-based, common ground strategy and measured
defense--one that would allow us to direct the most resources to
prevent threats that are the most immediate, the most likely, and the
most potentially devastating. In the absence of an infinite budget,
relative risk analysis must be the beginning point in shaping our
strategy and allocating our resources--to defend our citizens at home
and abroad. If such an assessment exists, we have not seen it. Without
it, I suggest it will be extremely difficult for the President or the
Congress to get our spending and program priorities right.
President Bush has an historic opportunity to dramatically reduce
the threat from weapons of mass destruction within the next two years
of his Administration. The good news is that he is served by a number
of highly dedicated and competent appointed and career officials. They
are taking important steps in reducing the dangers from weapons of mass
destruction. But we need giant strides and, as I noted earlier, a much
greater high-level focus and coordination of this urgent mission. The
President's strategy to combat weapons of mass destruction must be
translated into a concrete plan with clearly differentiated elements
for nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, with clearly defined
milestones and clearly defined accountability. For this to happen, the
President must make crystal clear that what he has called his number
one security priority--``keeping the world's most destructive weapons
out of the hands of the world's most dangerous people''--is, in words
and practice, the number one priority of his Administration. If this is
done, programmatic priorities will become Presidential priorities, and
the money will follow.
And getting our programmatic and spending priorities right is but
one piece of a larger mosaic. To counter the threat from catastrophic
terrorism, we will need an unprecedented level of international
security cooperation. This will require getting our diplomatic
priorities right. And here, too, I am concerned that we are trying to
do too many things simultaneously without sufficient focus on the
Mr. Chairman, I would like to associate myself with the words you
wrote not long ago in The Washington Post: We have to make sure that
every nation with nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons, materials
or know-how accounts for what it has, secures what it has, and pledges
that no other nation or group will be allowed access. That
straightforwardly stated objective must be our number one diplomatic
priority. As such, it is imperative that we expand the scope of
successful programs such as Nunn-Lugar, the Department of Energy's
Material Protection, Control and Accounting Program, and the Department
of State's science center, export control and border security
activities. I am confident that the lessons we have learned during the
last decade in working with the Russians and other states in a
cooperative effort to reduce threats can be applied in other regions of
the world that face instability and the prospect of open conflict.
Making the Nunn-Lugar concept global and extending its programmatic
reach to other nations and to the world's regional ``hot spots'' is the
most singularly important step the Congress can take to deny terrorists
access to weapons of mass destruction and to reduce the potential that
these weapons may ever be used by states or non-state actors. I
strongly endorse the efforts to extend Nunn-Lugar globally beyond the
Russian Federation and other states of the former Soviet Union.
As we talk with our allies and with all nations--we must underscore
the importance of working closely together to meet the threat posed by
catastrophic terrorism--the kind of terrorism that has the capacity to
stagger societies and destroy lives oceans away from ground zero. It is
the brand of terrorism that truly threatens everyone, and so it is the
brand of terrorism with the best chance to arouse a cohesive global
opposition. And here again, we are taking important steps, but not yet
the giant strides required.
Last summer, G-8 leaders met in Canada and took a particularly
important step. At that meeting, the leaders declared (and I quote):
``we commit ourselves to prevent terrorists, or those that harbor them,
from acquiring or developing nuclear, chemical, radiological and
biological weapons; missiles; and related materials, equipment and
technology.'' To implement these principles, they established the ``G-8
Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass
Destruction,'' committed $20 billion over ten years, and established a
six-element program to guide their work.
The establishment of the G-8 Global Partnership and the leadership
pledges achieved in Kananaskis are welcome and important developments.
One should recognize, however, that the G-8 makes many commitments at
its annual meetings. We now have to invest the diplomatic energy to
make the Global Partnership real. NTI is working with the Center for
Strategic and International Studies and 15 non-governmental
organizations in North America, Russia, Europe and Japan to build the
intellectual and political support required to strengthen the
We need to press the G-8 governments to turn those principles into
a clear set of priorities, to establish a timeline to guide their work,
and make sure they devote adequate resources to the work.
And we need to press the G-8 governments to make the Global
Partnership truly global--to include every nation with something to
safeguard or that can make a contribution to safeguarding it. Today,
this G-8 agreement is all but invisible--to the press, to Congress and
to nations around the world. For this coalition to extend itself from
eight nations to all nations, the President of the United States is
going to have to promote it with the full authority of his office.
To achieve a global coalition, we will have to make this a
diplomatic priority--something that leads the set of talking points
whenever the President or an American diplomat of any rank up to the
Secretary of State sits down to talk with officials of other nations.
And why should it not be? The final section of the National Security
Strategy released by the White House in September says: ``The United
States must and will maintain the capability to defeat any attempt by
an enemy--whether a state or non-state actor--to impose its will on the
United States, our allies, or our friends.'' That promise cannot be
fulfilled without denying terrorists weapons of mass destruction, and
that cannot be achieved without the very kind of international
cooperation envisioned in a full scope global partnership.
Mr. Chairman, in these remarks I have tried to outline briefly a
set of domestic and international initiatives for how we should go
about dealing with the threats from weapons of mass destruction. There
are, of course, other issues of weapons of mass destruction policy that
involve the vital security interests of our country and the world--
particularly the related matters of North Korea, Iran and Iraq. I would
be happy to address these matters in the question and answer period
which follows these formal remarks. Thank you.
The Chairman. Thank you very much, Secretary Curtis.
STATEMENT OF AMY E. SMITHSON, PH.D., SENIOR ASSOCIATE, THE
HENRY L. STIMSON CENTER, DIRECTOR, CHEMICAL AND BIOLOGICAL
WEAPONS NONPROLIFERATION PROJECT, WASHINGTON, DC
Dr. Smithson. Mr. Chairman, it is, indeed, a pleasure to be
here with you today, as well as with my colleagues on this
panel. However, we cannot ignore that we are on the eve of a
war with Iraq, a country stigmatized by its use of poison gas,
a country that for over a decade has been anything but truthful
and cooperative with international inspectors about its bio-
weapons program. Even if this war unfolds without the use of
unconventional weapons and concludes swiftly, the struggle to
thwart the proliferation of chemical, biological, and nuclear
arms will endure indefinitely.
You are so knowledgeable about the proliferation threat
that I think I will let my written remarks speak, to the most
part, about the nature of that threat, but I would point out
that we have had some discussion here today about the nuclear
threat emanating from North Korea. If you will look in tables 1
and 2 \2\ of my statement, you will also see that there are a
number of countries, including North Korea, that are known to
have chemical and biological weapons capabilities.
\2\ Tables 1 and 2 can be found in Dr. Smithson's prepared
statement on pages 67-68.
When it comes to the terrorist-level threat, they can
obtain many of the ingredients and equipment on the open
marketplace, which can then be put toward a chemical or
biological weapons capability. What will frustrate terrorists
most are the technical hurdles associated with large-scale
production of chemical agents and with post-production and
dispersal of biological agents.
A terrorist seeking to overcome those technical hurdles,
would probably turn, first and foremost, to the former Soviet
Union, to the more than 60 facilities that were involved in the
research development, testing, production, and storage of the
Soviet Union's chemical and biological weapons. You know the
tale there all too well. Russia has declared 40,000 metric tons
of chemical agent and we also know, from the whistle-blower,
Dr. Vil Mirzayanov, that the Soviets tested and produced a
small quantity of a new generation of nerve agents far more
deadly than anything that is in the U.S. arsenal which is now
being destroyed. The Soviets had a prodigious bio-weapons
program involving over 65,000 weapons scientists and
technicians. They weaponized contagious diseases, hardened
others against antibiotic treatment, and had robust
capabilities in anti-crop and anti-livestock agents.
Without a doubt, this reservoir of talent is the deepest in
the world, and I fear that terrorists may, indeed, go there for
help. We know that Aum Shinrikyo knocked on those doors.
So, Iraq is clearly not the only chemical and biological
threat in the world. Therefore, and I think you have heard this
panel say loudly, nonproliferation should be a priority, not an
afterthought. What remains to be seen is whether Washington
will press forward vigorously with a panoply of
nonproliferation tools. I will turn first to those that apply
to the former Soviet Union.
Mr. Chairman, I cannot help but salute you and former
Senator Nunn for having the foresight and the courage to
inaugurate the Cooperative Threat Reduction program. With your
permission, since these efforts sometimes do not receive the
attention that the nuclear efforts do, I would like to
highlight a few of the impressive accomplishments of the CTR
programs, the Freedom Support Act effort, as well as the
Initiatives for Proliferation Prevention, with regard to the
chemical and biological weapons institutes.
For example, these funds have helped to dismantle the
mammoth chemical and biological weapons production facilities
in the former Soviet Union, such as Volgograd and
Novocheboksarsk, which made the USSR's nerve agents, and
Stepnogorsk, which was built to churn out anthrax by the ton.
Also completed are the demilitarization and cleanup of chemical
and biological weapons testing facilities at Nukus and on
Vorozhdeniye Island in the Aral Sea region of Uzbekistan.
I would point to the improvement of security at Russia's
chemical weapons storage sites and also at several biological
institutes, so that these dangerous seed-culture collections
can be consolidated under higher protection. I would also
highlight the construction of an analytical laboratory to
support Russia's chemical weapons destruction program and the
conduct of collaborative research with bio-weaponeers,
particularly the work being done on dangerous pathogens. This
work is doubly important because it will enable a better
understanding of the Soviet germ-weapons program, which is
necessary to improve U.S. military and civilian defenses.
I could go on, but I think you get the picture. I also
think you know that much work remains to be done in what I have
called the ``toxic archipelago.''
To further reduce proliferation threats, I would recommend
additional investments to tighten security at Russia's chemical
weapons storage sites, to enhance safety and security at the
biological institutes, and to enable the dismantlement of
specialized infrastructure at both chemical and biological
institutes. Full funding, once and for all, of the Shchuch'ye
destruction facility is in order so that the elimination of
Russia's 32,000 metric tons of nerve agent can begin as soon as
possible. I would echo your sentiment, sir, that perfection
should not be the enemy of the good when it comes to the
certification process interfering with these important threat-
I would ask for increased funding for collaborative
research with chemical weaponeers until the 3,500 critical
proliferation-risk scientists that the U.S. Government believes
would be threatening if they cooperated with other governments
or terrorists can be supported at least at the poverty level.
And finally, some believe that cooperative activities
should be curtailed until Russia grants access to the military
biological institutes. Mr. Chairman, you have had trouble
getting into Kirov. The three other closed institutes would be
located at Yekaterinburg, Sergiev Posad, and St. Petersburg.
I would strongly argue against cutting back Freedom Support
Act or CTR funds for work with bioweaponeers because these
facilities remain closed. Rather, such funds should continue to
rise until U.S. officials can confidently tell Congress that
all proliferation risk bioweaponeers have been reached. This
work slowly builds the trust that will enable ever-more
cooperative defensive efforts in the years ahead, including the
opening of these military facilities.
Less than half a year from the first anniversary of the G-8
Global Partnership, more concrete plans need to be announced,
funding priorities need to be agreed, and Russia needs to
clarify how it will facilitate accelerated CTR programming. In
addition, we have already had discussion of the importance of
expanded CTR programming beyond the borders of the former
Soviet Union. Certainly I would agree that there are a number
of healthy candidates for this type of assistance, and I can
point to efforts like enhanced disease surveillance as examples
where such funds might make a positive nonproliferation
contribution. This type of aid can be administered bilaterally
or on a more widespread basis.
In November 2002, the Bush administration asked other
nations to take whatever steps they deemed appropriate to
stiffen bio-safety, bio-security, and oversight of genetic
engineering research, an approach that does little to compel
governments to take worthwhile action. Moreover, largely at
Washington's behest, the international community now convenes
only once a year to consider important biological weapons
Rather than this anemic approach, U.S. security interests
would be better served by advocating tougher mandatory
standards with noncompliance penalties for bio-safety, bio-
security, and oversight of genetic engineering research. The
models for these types of standards can be found in the
regulations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
and the National Institutes of Health.
In addition to promoting revised proposals along these
lines, I would also ask the committee to direct the executive
branch to intensify the pace of these negotiations. Otherwise,
the nonproliferation benefits from these tools, which are aimed
mainly at the terrorist-level threat, will certainly not be
realized for years to come.
Mr. Chairman, Senators, my written statement contains
recommendations to sharpen additional nonproliferation tools.
This to-do list for chemical and biological weapons
nonproliferation is lengthy. But unlike any of the chores that
perpetually await many of us on the weekend, the consequences
of ignoring these to-do tasks or for doing them in a half-
hearted manner could be grave, indeed, for U.S. soldiers and
citizens. So, it is vital that Washington and the international
community spare no effort to reduce the chemical and biological
weapons threat at the nation-state level. Hindering terrorist
acquisition of these weapons will require even more ingenuity,
collaboration, and determination.
I look forward to your questions. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Dr. Smithson follows:]
Prepared Statement of Amy E. Smithson, Ph.D., Director, Chemical and
Biological Weapons Nonproliferation Project, Henry L. Stimson Center
With America on the precipice of war with Iraq, a country known to
have used chemical weapons in its war with Iran and believed to be in
possession of considerable biological and chemical weapons
capabilities, this committee's inquiry into the status of efforts to
retard the proliferation of unconventional weapons could not be more
timely. Even if a war with Iraq unfolds without the use of
unconventional weapons and comes to a swift conclusion, the struggle to
thwart the proliferation of chemical, biological, and nuclear arms will
endure indefinitely. Unlike nuclear weapons, which can be developed
from scratch only at considerable cost and technical skill, chemical
and biological weaponry can be acquired at significantly lesser cost,
using equipment and materials commonly employed in commercial
industries. While there are appreciable technical hurdles involved in
the manufacture and dispersion of biological and chemical agents,
poison gas remains the lowest on the weapons of mass destruction food
chain, with germ weapons coming next and nuclear weapons at the top.
Nations seeking unconventional weapons have traditionally scaled the
ladder, starting with chemical weapons. Moreover, when unconventional
weapons have been employed, mankind has turned most frequently to
poison gas, as World Wars I and II and more recently the 1980s Iran-
Iraq War, have demonstrated. Therefore, it is vital that the US
government and the international community spare no effort to reduce
the chemical and biological weapons threat at the nation state level.
Hindering terrorist acquisition of these weapons will require even more
ingenuity, collaboration, and determination.
In my testimony, I will provide an overview of chemical and
biological weapons proliferations concerns, followed by an accounting
of the tools that can be employed to stem the proliferation tide. The
good news is that such tools are relatively plentiful; the bad news is
that none of them will do the job in its entirety and several of them
enjoy lackluster support, including from various decisionmakers in this
AN OVERVIEW OF CHEMICAL AND BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS PROLIFERATION CONCERNS
A review of the status of chemical weapons programs worldwide would
begin with the stipulation that four nations, namely Russia, the United
States, India, and South Korea, have declared possessing chemical
arsenals and are in the process of destroying those munitions under the
supervision of international inspectors who monitor compliance with the
treaty that bans poison gas, the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention
(CWC). According to the US government, an additional sixteen countries
are involved in some level of offensive chemical weapons activity.
Besides Iraq, North Korea and Syria have reportedly stockpiled chemical
weapons, as Israel may have done. While Egypt is described as having
chemical agent production capabilities, Taiwan and Myanmar may not have
progressed past research, development, and testing. Several additional
countries that the US government cites as being of proliferation
concern are members of the CWC, namely China, Ethiopia, Iran, South
Africa, Sudan, Pakistan, Vietnam, and Yugoslavia. Another country with
a checkered past regarding chemical weapons is Libya, which reportedly
is on the verge of acceding to the CWC. Upon joining the CWC, as Table
1 below shows, six of these nations declared having former chemical
weapons production facilities. Since mid- 1997, CWC inspectors have
systematically padlocked and begun certifying the destruction of these
facilities or their conversion to peaceful purposes.
When the USSR collapsed, Russia inherited the world's largest and
most sophisticated chemical weapons capability. Moscow is a member of
the CWC and has declared a 40,000 metric ton arsenal. Slightly over
eighty percent of that stockpile consists of nerve agents, which are
stored at five different facilities. Two other storage sites house
mustard and lewisite. In December 2002, Russia began destroying mustard
gas at its Gorny storage site. Russia also declared 24 production
facilities to the CWC's international inspectorate, of which six have
been destroyed and another seven converted to peaceful uses under the
watchful eye of inspectors. US- and European-funded programs, which
will be discussed later, have propelled these destruction and
Actual weapons materials aside, another proliferation problem
concerns human expertise. ``Brain drain'' is linguistic short hand for
the possibility that governments or terrorists attempting to acquire
nuclear, biological, chemical, or missile capabilities might siphon off
the human expertise behind the USSR's weapons of mass destruction. A
26-year veteran of the Soviet chemical weapons program, Dr. Vil
Mirzayanov, estimates that at its height the USSR employed roughly
6,000 scientists and technicians to conduct research, development, and
testing of chemical weapons. Of that number, the US government
conservatively estimates that 3,500 would pose a serious proliferation
risk if they were to collaborate with proliferating governments or
terrorists. That proliferation dilemma is underscored by the
unparalleled amount of chemical weapons expertise that resides in
Russia. In 1991, Dr. Mirzayanov blew the whistle on an ultra-secret
Soviet program that successfully developed, tested, and produced in
small quantities an entirely new generation of nerve agents, known as
the novichok agents.
In my view, the US government and the international community have
yet to reward Dr. Mirzayanov's valor by bringing Moscow to full account
for the novichok program. The reasons for this sad state of affairs are
complicated and perhaps better discussed another day, but when
considering chemical weapons proliferation concerns, one must be
mindful that a proven design exists for a turn-key chemical weapons
production capacity that could be buried in the agro-chemical industry
and within a relatively short period of time begin churning out
chemical agents five to eight times as deadly as VX and ten times as
lethal as soman.
Given the fact that the formulas of chemical weapons have been in
public literature for over half a century and the necessary equipment
and ingredients are the backbone of a global chemical industry,
terrorists could obtain several essential components of a chemical
weapons capability without too much trouble. However, should they
attempt to produce the large quantities of chemical agent necessary to
cause massive casualties, they could be tripped up by the same
technical complexities that apparently foiled the efforts of the
Japanese cult Aum Shinrikyo to inaugurate sarin production at its $10
million, state-of-the-art production facility near Mount Fuji. Briefly,
Aum Shinrikyo was the group that released the nerve agent sarin on
Tokyo's subway in mid-March 1995, killing a dozen commuters, seriously
injuring several dozen more, and frightening thousands who rode the
subway that day. After this attack, which garnered headlines around the
world, predictions of mass casualty chemical terrorist attacks
abounded. Many of the initial assessments of Aum Shinrikyo's activities
failed to appreciate that while the cult's corps of scientists
successfully produced several chemical agents in beaker quantities, as
one might expect, they subsequently experienced serious mishaps when
they attempted to ramp their sarin production facility up to full
speed. The technical difficulties associated with full-scale production
and aerosolization and delivery of agents may explain why only
governments have overcome those technical hurdles.
When it comes to biological weapons, the proliferation picture is
also grim. For quite some time, the number of nations suspected of
harboring biological weapons programs has hovered at a dozen. As with
chemical weapons, much of the equipment, ingredients, and know-how
needed to make biological weapons is integral to the pharmaceutical and
biotechnology industries. Therefore, governments can mask a biological
weapons program in an industrial setting, as did the USSR and Iraq.
These two cases aside, public statements from US officials about the
individual countries on its proliferation watch list tend to be light
on specifics. Of the countries named in Table 2 below, however, the US
government has asserted that Iran may have crossed the line from
offensive research and development to production and stockpiling of
germ weapons. Depending on which report one consults, Libya and North
Korea may also have crossed that line.
Other than Iraq, the country listed below that generates especially
pressing proliferation concerns is Russia. In blatant violation of the
international treaty outlawing biological weapons, the Biological and
Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC) for over two decades, the USSR redefined
the horizons of germ warfare with a massive bioweapons effort that
involved approximately 65,000 scientists and technicians at over fifty
research, development, testing, and production sites. The Soviets
harnessed over fifty diseases for military purposes. Not only did the
USSR harden some anti-human agents against medical treatment, it
weaponized contagious diseases such as plague, smallpox, and Marburg, a
hemorrhagic fever. The Soviets also put some 10,000 scientists to work
on anti-crop and anti-livestock bioweapons. Nonproliferation programs
need to reach into this vast bioweapons complex to secure key assets
and to ensure that the bioweaponeers have viable peaceful alternatives
to continued weapons work, perhaps at the behest of other governments
or terrorist groups proliferating germ weapons.
Table 2: Possible Government Sources of Biological Seed Cultures and
Status as a
Country State Sponsor of Overview of Biowarfare
China No Suspected offensive
weapons program involving
production, stockpiling of
................ Possesses infrastructure
necessary for biological warfare
Egypt No Military-applied research
................ National research center
investigating agent production and
................ Research centers engaged
in cooperative biological research
with US civilian and military
................ No evidence of significant
or widespread research or activity
India No Five military centers
thought to be involved in
................ Research and development
efforts geared mainly to defense
................ Possesses biotechnology
Iran Yes Military-applied research
program, including possible
possession of small stocks of
................ Documented attempts to
acquire dual-use equipment and
................ Mycotoxins received
initial research attention;
research subsequently expanded to
other biological agents
................ Program anchored in
biotechnology and pharmaceutical
industries, an infrastructure
sufficient to mask and support a
significant program; medical,
education and scientific research
organizations also used for agent
procurement, research, and
Iraq Yes Five key sites affiliated
with research, development, and
................ United Nations Special
Commission monitored five vaccine
or pharmaceutical facilities;
thirty-five research or university
sites with relevant equipment;
thirteen breweries, distilleries
or dairies; eight diagnostic labs;
five acquisition and distribution
sites for biological supplies;
four facilities associated with
biological equipment development;
and four product development
................ Worked with anthrax,
botulinum toxin, aflatoxin, ricin,
trichothecene mycotoxin, wheat
................ Declared production of
19,000 liters of botulinum toxin;
8,500 liters of anthrax; and 2,200
liters of aflatoxin; all
quantities declared destroyed but
................ Filled bombs and missile
warheads with anthrax, botulinum
toxin, and aflatoxin; spray tanks
also developed as delivery
Israel No Conducting biological
................ Robust civilian
................ Program likely to mimic
former US and Soviet programs
Libya Yes Engaged in initial testing
and research; trying to develop
agent weaponization capacity
................ Possible production of
laboratory quantities of agent
................ Interested in funding
joint biological ventures with
................ Program slowed by
................ Has capacity to produce
small quantities of biological
North Korea Yes Conducting military-
applied research at universities,
medical and specialized institutes
................ Research involves anthrax,
cholera, bubonic plague
................ Possible testing on island
................ Likely able to produce
limited quantities of biological
................ Wide means of delivery
Pakistan No Infrastructure might be
able to support a limited
................ Conducting research and
development with potential
application for a biological
................ Research at scientific
centers includes work in
Russia No Over fifty research,
testing, and production facilities
................ Roughly 65,000 weapons
scientists and technicians; at
least 7,000 deemed critical
................ Weaponization of smallpox,
Marburg, anthrax, plague, and many
................ Genetic engineering of
diseases to strengthen them
against medical treatments,
................ Crossing of diseases to
create new, more deadly weapons
................ Advanced dissemination and
weapons delivery capabilities
Syria Yes Sufficient biotechnology
infrastructure to support small
................ Robust program would
require foreign assistance
Taiwan No Significant biotechnology
capabilities and sophisticated
equipment from abroad
................ Possible military-applied
research in biology
As 1992 began, tens of thousands of former Soviet bioweaponeers
also found themselves without a source of income. Like their chemical
counterparts, these skilled scientists and technicians are the living
legacy of the prodigious Soviet biological weapons programs and
constitute no less a proliferation threat than the actual weapons that
they developed and produced. Many are under the impression that
terrorists could easily cause massive casualties with disease. Should
terrorists persuade former Soviet bioweaponeers to accept lucrative
payoffs in exchange for their knowledge or bioweapons seed cultures,
such deals could jumpstart terrorists' biological weapons programs.
While fermenting biological agents is not that difficult, major
technical hurdles arise in the post-production and dispersal processes,
where the technical intricacies are such that the USSR mustered a
virtual army of scientists and technicians to master biological
weaponry. According to the conservative estimates of US government
officials, some 7,000 of those scientists would pose a grave
proliferation risk were they to cooperate with other governments or
The challenges facing potential bioterrorists are further
illustrated by Aum Shinrikyo's biological weapons failures. This cult
is erroneously credited with having successfully dispersed anthrax and
botulinum toxin, when in fact the cult's scientists came nowhere near
that feat. Aum Shinrikyo's bioweapons program was not nearly as large
as its chemical weapons program, but it was nonetheless very well
funded and involved roughly a dozen scientists who worked for several
years to conquer the technical obstacles of bioweaponeering.
From this overview, it should be clear that a successful
prosecution of a war with Iraq would not bring to an end the chemical
and biological threats facing the United States. Seen in this light,
nonproliferation efforts should be a priority, not an afterthought.
According to one adage, recognition of a problem is half of the
solution to it. Surely, with all of the words uttered by US
policymakers about the chemical and biological weapons threat since 11
September 2001, the problems have been recognized. What remains to be
seen is whether the Washington will press forward with a panoply of
nonproliferation tools. The safety of US soldiers and citizens will
depend on the determination with which Washington approaches this task.
A MENU OF NONPROLIFERATION OPTIONS
Aside from international legal mechanisms, such as the CWC and the
BWC, a number of tools can be applied to reduce the chemical and
biological weapons threat. An array of proliferation problems reside in
the former USSR, so this discussion will turn first to the tools that
apply principally to that area of the globe, followed by a review of
nonproliferation tools that have a wider geographic applicability, such
as enhanced disease surveillance, strengthened regulations overseeing
biological safety, security, and oversight of genetic engineering
research, and export controls like those administered by the Australia
Cooperative Threat Reduction Efforts Related to the Safety, Security,
and Dismantlement of the former Soviet Chemical and Biological
A decade ago, when policy makers around the world were scrambling
to comprehend the security implications of the USSR's collapse,
Senators Richard Lugar (R-Indiana) and Sam Nunn (D-Georgia, ret.) moved
boldly forward to inaugurate the Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR)
Program. The purpose of CTR was to help the fledgling governments that
materialized out of the former Soviet empire to secure and dismantle
their nuclear, biological, chemical, and missile capabilities. CTR's
accomplishments related to former Soviet nuclear weaponry have garnered
a fair amount of attention. However, CTR's achievements related to the
string of chemical and biological weapons facilities scattered across
some eight former Soviet states--a veritable toxic archipelago--are
similarly impressive. The following discussion will first address CTR
efforts devoted to the elimination of segments of Russia's chemical
weapons capability before moving on to the work done to secure and
dismantle the former Soviet bioweapons complex.
As was previously indicated, the USSR built an enormous weapons
complex and left Russia with the world's biggest chemical arsenal. CTR
funds have been instrumental in beginning to dismantle that
infrastructure. Plants at Volgograd and Novocheboksarsk produced the
USSR's nerve agents, while blister agents were made at Dzershinsk. With
CTR monies, some 15 buildings at Volgograd have been destroyed. At
Novocheboksarsk, a munitions preparation building has been
demilitarized and preparations are underway to do the same with a jumbo
production and filling building at that site. CTR funds have also
driven the safe dismantlement and destruction of a chemical weapons
production plant and testing facility located at Nukus, Uzbekistan.
Another important facet of CTR programming is directed at enhancing
the security at Russia's chemical weapons storage facilities. The lack
of security around these seven facilities was a problem that I aired in
1995 Stimson Center report. Given the low sums paid to the guards at
the storage sites and their inferior physical security safeguards, I
was concerned then, and, quite frankly, I continue to worry that bribes
and crowbars could spring loose some of the man-portable munitions at
these sites. With CTR funding, efforts are underway to strengthen the
physical security at Shchuch'ye and Kizner. Given the delayed
initiation of Russia's chemical weapons destruction program, it is
reasonable to assume that more than a decade could pass before Russia's
declared chemical arsenal is eliminated. Additional investments in
security to lower the risks of insider theft and to harden these
storage sites against outside attack would be wise.
Next, on 30 July 1992, the US government pledged to help Russia get
its chemical weapons destruction program off the ground, later opting
to build a destruction facility at Shchuch'ye. CTR funds were first
used to build an analytical laboratory in Moscow that would permit
stringent performance and environmental monitoring of chemical weapons
destruction. Years slipped by as US governmental officials worked with
their Russian counterparts to iron out the engineering plans and myriad
logistical details for Shchuch'ye. Certainly, blame can be cast on both
sides of the Atlantic for the delays that have handicapped the
Shchuch'ye project. For their part, US officials noted that Russia was
not doing its share to build the socio-economic infrastructure that
would enable the project to move forward, but since 2000, Moscow has
allotted much higher sums for that purpose. Bulldozers cleared the
property, but again over $132 million in construction funds were held
up over Executive Branch certifications related to Russian treaty
At long last, Washington has put to rest its internal political
squabbles related to certification and CTR. Just under $900 million
will be needed to construct the Shchuch'ye destruction facility, which,
once built, will begin destroying 32,000 metric tons of nerve agent.
The Russian government wants to proceed with this project, and it is in
US security interests that Russia's stockpile be eliminated. The 2004
budget request for Shchuch'ye is $200 million. Once and for all,
Congress and the Executive Branch should throw their full fiscal and
political support behind the Shchuch'ye project so that the destruction
of Russia's stocks of nerve agent can begin as soon as possible.
Giving credit where it is due, European nations have singly and in
combination provided significant funding to the Russian chemical
weapons destruction program, enabling the opening of the Gorny
destruction facility, the demilitarization of the Dzershinsk production
plant, the initial steps to construct another lewisite destruction
facility at Kambarka, and the provision of monies for socio-economic
infrastructure projects at Shchuch'ye. Heading the list of major
contributors is Germany, which put $50 million into the destruction
plant at Gorny. The United Kingdom has given over $11 million, the
Netherlands $10 million, the Italians just under $7 million, Norway $2
million, and the European Union over $16 million.
With regard to the former Soviet bioweapons complex, CTR funds have
made headway destroying infrastructure and enhancing security at some
of biological institutes. For example, significant components of the
gargantuan anthrax production facility at Stepnogorsk, Kazakhstan, have
been dismantled. At the biowarfare agent testing site on Vorozhdeniya
Island in the Aral Sea Region of Uzbekistan, CTR funding allowed
specialists to engage in additional decontamination of the pits where
materials had been buried, ensuring that no residual pathogenic
materials remained. In addition, projects are underway to eliminate
infrastructure (e.g., air-handling capacity) and specialized equipment
at the State Research Center for Virology and Biotechnology at
Koltsovo, known by its VECTOR acronym. Similar projects are on the
drawing boards for the State Research Center for Applied Microbiology
at Obolensk, the All-Russian Institute of Phytopathology at Golitsino,
and the Pokrov Plant of Biopreparations.
A principal objective of another facet of CTR programming is to
enhance biosafety practices and physical security at select biological
institutes so that the pathogenic culture collections can be
consolidated at fewer locations, under higher protection. Work to that
effect is already underway at VECTOR, Obolensk, Golitsino, and Pokrov
in Russia; the Institute of Virology at Tashkent and the Institute of
Veterinary Sciences at Samarkand in Uzbekistan; and the State Research
Agricultural Institute and the Kazakh Institute for Research Plague
Control in Kazakhstan. Additional biological threat reduction projects
are slated for facilities in Georgia and Ukraine.
Given the sheer number of facilities in the toxic archipelago, many
of which have yet to see much, if anything, in the way of physical
infrastructure improvements, a clear argument can be made for
increasing US funds for projects that will strengthen security at
chemical weapons storage sites, enhance safety and security at
biological institutes, and enable dismantlement of more specialized
infrastructure at both chemical and biological institutes. Should
Congress decide to increase such funds, it should likewise up the
number of government staffers responsible for managing the
implementation of these programs. In uncertain and dangerous times,
most Americans would characterize this as dollars well spent.
Brain Drain Prevention Efforts
Efforts to prevent the leakage of weapons expertise are another
important aspect of nonproliferation programming. Brain drain
prevention programs began in 1994 with the International Science and
Technology Center's (ISTC's) first collaborative research grants to
former weapons scientists. Fairly soon, the ISTC, which is funded
through the Freedom Support Act, was joined by sister organizations,
namely the Science and Technology Center in Ukraine (STCU), the
Civilian Research and Development Foundation (CRDF), and the Department
of Energy's Initiatives for Proliferation Prevention (IPP) program. The
ISTC and other grant programs were charged with convincing thousands of
skilled weapons scientists, most with barely a ruble in their pockets,
that the possibility of receiving collaborative research grants was
preferable to the certainty of a lucrative job in a proliferating
country, several of which could be expected to seek their services.
Through February 2003, the ISTC alone has funded 1,704 projects valued
at $498 million, providing grant payments to over 58,000 nuclear,
missile, biological, and chemical weapons experts.
From the outset, grant assistance to biological and chemical
weapons scientists was meager in comparison to the grants to nuclear
and missile weapons specialists. At first, it was easier to reach into
the nuclear and missile weapons communities given their previous
interactions with their counterparts in the United States and
elsewhere. In comparison, the US intelligence community knew less about
the former Soviet biological and chemical weapons complexes. Moreover,
the dual-use nature of chemical and biological facilities made it more
difficult to discern where military-related activities left off and
purely commercial work began. Since issuing a Stimson Center study
about the status of brain drain prevention efforts in 1999, I have
advocated increased funding for chemical and biological brain drain
US funding for collaborative research with bioweapons scientists
began a gradual rise in 1997 that has become more pronounced in
subsequent years. Not only are monies flowing through the Freedom
Support Act for collaborative research with the former bioweaponeers,
CTR funds are supporting collaborative, closely monitored, dangerous
pathogens research at Obolensk, VECTOR, the Research Center for
Molecular Diagnostics and Therapy in Moscow, the Research Center of
Toxicology and Hygienic Reglementation of Biopreparations at Serpukhov,
and the State Research Institute of Highly Pure Biopreparations in St.
Petersburg. In the not too distant future, CTR funds could be devoted
to similar work at several additional Russian biological institutes, as
well as institutes in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.
Of particular concern to advocates of transparency, Russia has yet
to allow access to four key military biological institutes: the Center
of Military-Technical Problems of Biological Defense at Yekaterinburg;
the Center for Virology at Sergiev Posad; the Scientific Research
Institute of Military Medicine at St. Petersburg; and the Scientific
Research Institute at Kirov. In late 1999, US officials overseeing
brain drain prevention programming were hopeful that limited access
would soon begin to occur. Since that has not come to pass, Washington
must now consider whether some cooperative activities should be
curtailed until limited or full access is granted.
For my part, I would strongly argue against cutting back on any
Freedom Support Act or CTR biological brain drain prevention funds.
Rather, such funds should continue to rise until US officials can
confidently tell Congress that these programs have reached all of the
bioweaponeers of proliferation concern. The US government needs to
understand what transpired in the former Soviet bioweapons program to
be able to enhance US military and civilian defenses. Continued
collaborative research activities with the bioweaponeers therefore hits
two birds with one stone, keeping these scientists engaged in peaceful
research and slowly building the bonds of trust that will enable ever
more cooperative defense efforts in the years ahead, including the
opening of the closed military institutes.
Like their biological counterparts, former Soviet chemical
weaponeers could accelerate the rudimentary chemical warfare programs
of other countries or terrorist groups to lethal maturity. While more
brain drain prevention funds have begun flowing to biological grants in
the past several years, the amounts going into chemical grants have
remained relatively static. From 1994 to mid-1999, the US government
was averaging $1.37 million in annual funds for chemical grants through
the ISTC, the STCU, the CRDF, and the IPP. In 2001, the most recent
year for which complete ISTC statistics are available, the ISTC alone
was administering $3 million in grants to chemical weapons scientists.
While the IPP, STCU, and CRDF programs have some collaborative research
efforts directed at chemical weapons scientists, their level of effort
is generally less substantial than the ISTC's work. The ISTC grants
alone would be inadequate to allow the 3,500 scientists that the US
government deems to be of critical proliferation risk to support a
family of four at the poverty line, which stood at $41 per month.
Consequently, a dedicated increase in grant aid to chemical weaponeers
Several other steps could be taken to improve the administration of
brain drain prevention programs. For instance, Russia should continue
to clean house of the hardline Soviet holdovers who are primarily
concerned with perpetuating a weapons capability and their own personal
influence to the detriment of efforts to transform the weapons
institutes to peaceful, commercial research and manufacturing centers.
Since the launch of new research grants can take over two years, the
ISTC should enact reforms to lessen the time needed to kickoff new
projects, including shorter deadlines for proposal review by the host
and funding governments, the formation of expert advisory committees to
pre-screen grant proposals prior to ISTC processing, and the
modification of the policy regarding work plan approval. Finally,
Washington still needs to improve the overall architecture for brain
drain programming, at the least identifying benchmarks that will enable
progress to be measured.
Cooperative Threat Reduction Programs Beyond the 10-Year Anniversary
While there is much to celebrate about the first ten years of CTR
programs, the preceding discussion underscores that significant tasks
remain. In July 2002, the leaders of the G-8 countries announced a
Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Material of Mass
Destruction that over the current decade would increase the $10 billion
the US government has pledged toward CTR programming by another $10
billion from the remaining G-8 nations. The funds will apply to threat
reduction across nuclear, missile, biological, and chemical weapons
programs. Most of the pertinent US programming has been touched upon in
the previous pages. Continuing its track record in chemical or
biological threat reduction activities, Germany has promised $33
million for the chemical weapons destruction facility at Kambarka.
The sooner that individual G-8 nations specify their intentions,
the easier it will be to identify possible gaps in threat reduction
programming. Less than half a year from the first anniversary of this
global partnership's debut, the time has come for more concrete plans
to be announced, for agreement on funding priorities, and for Russia to
clarify how it will provide the support necessary to facilitate
accelerated CTR programming.
In addition to this G-8 partnership, Senators Lugar and Nunn have
proposed expansion of CTR-like programming beyond the borders of the
former Soviet Union. As the preceding review of the proliferation
threat revealed, there are several other nations that could be
considered healthy candidates for assistance to help secure, convert,
and dismantle chemical and biological weapons facilities and
capabilities. CTR-like assistance could be particularly helpful in
enhancing disease surveillance, biosecurity, biosafety, and research
oversight. Such aid could be administered bilaterally for specialized
projects or on a more widespread basis.
Enhanced Disease Surveillance
Another constructive biological threat reduction approach involves
the enhancement of disease surveillance around the world. The
attractiveness of this particular tool is that it can be applied on a
globally or in a more targeted fashion with select countries. Providing
technical and financial assistance that helps nations improve their
disease surveillance capabilities is also a dual-purpose threat
reduction tool. First, such aid would enable foreign countries to
detect disease outbreaks as rapidly as possible, increasing the ability
of the public health and medical communities to take life-saving
intervention. The short time frames involved in international travel
make it all the more critical that US public health authorities have as
much notice as possible of disease outbreaks overseas. Depending on the
disease in question, public health officials may trigger any number of
measures intended to prevent the disease from migrating to US shores or
to limit its spread should infected individuals already have arrived in
America. The current outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome
illustrates the importance of having well-equipped, well-trained
professionals in the public health service worldwide.
The second threat reduction dimension of disease surveillance
assistance relates to the links that would be established and the
possible access that such US aid could enable. Many public health
laboratories in developing countries are barely equipped with basic
equipment. Installing more advanced diagnostic and communications
equipment would certainly improve the capabilities of such
laboratories, benefiting the health and well-being of the recipient
nation's citizenry. Moreover, if foreign microbiologists and
epidemiologists receive advanced training at US institutions, their
instruction can include inculcation of the responsibilities associated
with dangerous pathogens work, as well as proper safety and security
techniques. Such programs may facilitate subsequent US access to
overseas facilities where US-trained personnel are working. While one
does not want to overplay this second dimension of US disease
surveillance aid, it could foster a better understanding of what is
happening in overseas laboratories.
Last year, with these benefits in mind, the Senate passed the
Global Pathogen Surveillance Act of 2002, legislation originating with
Senators Joseph Biden (D-Delaware) and Jesse Helms (R-North Carolina,
ret.). The House of Representatives has yet to schedule action on this
bill. Also, the current request for CTR funding includes $23 million
for expanded cooperation with the ministries of health in Kazakhstan,
Uzbekistan, Georgia, and Ukraine that would strengthen disease
surveillance capabilities and consolidate dangerous pathogen
collections in secure facilities that US personnel would be able to
More Purposeful Steps to Strengthen Biosafety, Biosecurity, and
In November 2002, the Bush administration debuted initiatives that
were supposed to move the international community toward stiffer
security surrounding dangerous pathogens, better biosafety practices,
and oversight of genetic engineering research. These proposals warrant
separate consideration because, if properly formulated and given
sufficient political backing, they could hinder the ability of
terrorists and government-level proliferators to acquire dangerous
pathogens, reduce the potential for accidents at high-level biosafety
facilities, and help police research activities. The current US
proposals call for individual nations to take whatever steps they deem
appropriate in these respective areas.
My counsel to the committee on these issues draws on a braintrust
of US industry professionals who collectively have over 280 years of
experience, with specialties ranging from drug research and development
to process scale-up and manufacture of medicines. Their views on all
eight US biological weapons nonproliferation proposals are conveyed in
the Stimson Center's 2002 report, ``Compliance Through Science: US
Pharmaceutical Industry Experts on a Strengthened Bioweapons
Nonproliferation Regime.'' The US proposals related to biosafety,
biosecurity, and research oversight suffer from the same handicap,
namely the failure to articulate an international standard that
governments would be expected to meet. Absent identification of and
agreement on such standards, governments will have little to compel
them to take action. Many governments will enact measures that fall
short of worthwhile standards either unintentionally, because they
cannot decipher the existing discrepant regulatory concepts, or
intentionally, because they seek to perpetuate illicit activities. The
let-each-government-do-as-it-pleases approach would further foster an
uneven patchwork of domestic laws and practices that might have little
near-term value and could prove difficult to harmonize in the future.
All of these outcomes are unsatisfactory.
The industry experts did not consider allowing governments to set
their own arbitrary standards to be a constructive step forward.
Therefore, they recommended that states adopt mandatory practices in
each of these areas. The industry group cited as models for uniform
standards the pertinent regulations issued by the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health
Establishing select lists of pathogens, including toxins that are
dangerous to humans, animals, and plants, would facilitate the
implementation of biosafety, biosecurity, and research oversight
standards. For example, the CDC employs a select list to govern
transfer of some human pathogens. Risk-stratified lists of human,
animal, and plant pathogens need to be agreed upon to help anchor the
standards. Such lists could change over time, but it would be
counterproductive if too many agents were inappropriately categorized
as high risk.
Sound reasons exist for establishing universal biosecurity
standards. Biosecurity regulations currently vary in strength--some
incorporate oversight and penalties for noncompliance, others do not.
Other biosecurity regulations apply only to very limited areas of
activity (e.g., shipping). The industry experts identified as an
appropriate model for a minimum global standard the US access,
transfer, and chain-of-custody regulations for select pathogens and
toxins, or their equivalent.
Access and transfer restrictions alone are insufficient in that
they do not even begin to account for the dangerous pathogens and
toxins that are already present in organizations worldwide. Therefore,
the industry group recommended a companion biosecurity measure: a
``house cleaning'' activity. Around the world, academic and research
institutions, industry facilities, culture collections, and other
facilities should be required to conduct a thorough inventory of the
strains that they possess; declare to the appropriate authorities those
delineated on the select agent lists of dangerous human, animal, and
plant pathogens; and, in consultation with authorities, dispose of
them, as appropriate.
The industry experts recognized that the effective implementation
of any standards hinges on training, which should be conveyed first in
universities and colleges and regularly reinforced in the workplace.
The second foundation of implementing tougher standards begins at the
level of the individual organizations that are working with dangerous
pathogens or conducting research with genetically modified organisms.
At universities, research institutes, industrial and government
facilities, the appropriate infrastructure must be put in place to
oversee these activities. For example, designated individual(s) at a
facility would be responsible for proper training of personnel; review
of research proposals involving genetically modified organisms; and
evaluation of the sufficiency of risk assessments and containment for
proposed projects. Where a governing infrastructure does not already
exist, national regulations should require its creation along the lines
laid out in the NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant DNA
Next, the only way to ensure that standards are being uniformly
applied nationwide is for countries to establish a national capacity to
oversee facilities working with dangerous pathogens and engaged in
research involving genetically modified organisms. This regulatory body
Receive declarations about pertinent activities and
capabilities from academic, research, industry, and government
Certify biosafety and biosecurity practices at these
Review, approve, and track all projects involving
genetically modified organisms; and,
Enforce research oversight, biosafety, and access, transfer,
and clean house regulations.
The industry group strongly urged that noncompliance penalties
(e.g., loss of job, loss of government grants, suspension of licenses)
be incorporated in agreed international standards. Absent the
stipulation and enforcement of considerable penalties for
noncompliance, some individuals or organizations would make only a
minimal effort to abide by the regulations.
The culminating step in the implementation of global biosafety,
biosecurity, and research oversight standards would be to create an
international body to coordinate, promote, and administer these
activities, including the updating of standards, as appropriate.
Singly, research oversight, biosafety, and biosecurity enhancement
measures will not go far in thwarting nations or terrorists from
engaging in wayward research, experiencing leaks at covert weapons
facilities, or gaining access to dangerous pathogens. Collectively,
however, global adoption of the CDC/NIH guidelines or their equivalent
would raise the bar, hampering the ability of aspiring proliferators to
achieve an offensive weapons capability.
Largely at the behest of the US government, the international
community now plans to convene only once a year to discuss important
bioweapons nonproliferation proposals. Technical talks are to last two
weeks, followed by a one-week policy discussion. Biosecurity will be
discussed this fall, with the topic of enhanced disease surveillance
not on the agenda until 2004. The current schedule does not even
include discussions of biosafety or oversight of genetic engineering
Senators, not only are several of the Bush administration's
bioweapons nonproliferation proposals anemic, to the international
community US political will to see constructive action taken in these
important areas appears sadly lacking. This city abounds with rhetoric
about the dangers of biological weapons proliferation. Surely, the US
government can mount a more useful and concerted approach to stricter
international biosafety, biosecurity, and research oversight measures.
Given the Bush administration's actions thus far, the burden for
instigating a more purposeful effort rests with you and your colleagues
in the House of Representatives.
The Australia Group
Another tactic that can be used to hinder proliferation of chemical
and biological weaponry is to cut proliferators off from specialized
equipment and materials that would abet their proliferation goals. With
that purpose in mind, the Australia Group was established in the mid-
1980s. The creation of this export control cooperative was spurred by
the slow recognition of Western governments that commercial trade in
dual-use chemicals and expertise was fueling programs to develop and
produce chemical weapons. Out of greed, ignorance, or complacency,
companies and individuals from Germany, Great Britain, Japan, Austria,
Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, Switzerland, France, and the United
States, among other countries, had sold Iraq and Libya products that
facilitated their proliferation aims. As these nations individually
began to enact export controls in the mid-1980s, Australian analysts
were among the first to recognize that proliferators were selectively
shopping for desired items among Western suppliers, requesting sales
from one nation when turned down by another. Australia proposed that
supplier nations meeting to discuss the problem in April 1985.
From an original fifteen member countries and agreement to
harmonize export controls on a handful of chemical weapons precursors,
the Australia Group has matured to include thirty-three member
governments, plus the European Commission, that exercise coordinated
export controls on 54 precursor chemicals; dual-use chemical
manufacturing facilities, equipment, and related technology; plant
pathogens, animal pathogens, biological agents; and dual-use biological
equipment. If companies operating on the territory of an Australia
Group member are approached with a purchase request for any of the
items on these common control lists, the sale is not to proceed without
a licensing review by that government. That review process hinges on
the proliferation implications of the individual sale in question.
Should an Australia Group member deny a license, that decision is
shared with other Australia Group members to reduce the possibility
that the item in question could be obtained elsewhere. Australia Group
members meet yearly to update each other on pertinent activities and to
consider whether the control lists need adjustment or other steps need
to be taken to make the export controls more effective.
Proponents of export controls argue that the cause of
nonproliferation is served by severing the ability of proliferators to
purchase the equipment and materials that are central to a weapons
capability. Detractors, largely from developing countries, counter that
export controls are discriminatory. Developing countries assert that
nations that belong to the CWC and/or the BWC should be considered
members in good standing of the international community, allowed full
access to trade in chemical and biological goods, unless noncompliance
charges are raised. They further argue that the Australia Group's
controls have a negative effect on the economic well-being of
developing countries. Therefore, since its inception, the Australia
Group has been controversial.
In a June 1995 article, entitled ``Rethinking Export Controls on
Dual-Use Materials and Technologies: From Trade Restraints to Trade
Enablers,'' US analyst Brad Roberts addressed the arguments raised by
the Australia Group's critics. According to Roberts' survey of trade
data, the existence of select export controls liberates trade between
supplier and developing nations. In the absence of export controls,
supplier companies worried that certain transactions might somehow
assist proliferators tend to err on the overly cautious side, cutting
trade entirely with some nations. However, with governments shouldering
the burden of making the proliferation risk assessment on controlled
items, those same companies are free to engage in trade in non- control
list items, which by far constitute the majority of materials and
equipment available or trade.
If the controversy surrounding the Australia Group and other export
control endeavors is ever to be laid to rest, the relationship between
export controls and trade must be further explored. Doing so could
dispel objections from developing countries that may be based more on
emotion than fact. Ideally, law-abiding governments around the world
would then become more vigilant about trade in dual-use chemical and
biological equipment and materials. The route to the more global
practice of export controls lies in factual evidence about the effect
of export controls on overall trade patterns.
Senators, the ``to-do'' list for chemical and biological weapons
nonproliferation programs remains quite lengthy. Unlike the list of
housekeeping chores that perpetually awaits many on the weekend, the
consequences of ignoring any of these to-do items or for doing them in
a half-hearted manner could be grave indeed for US soldiers and
citizens. For years on end, the sitting members of this committee have
been stalwart supporters of common-sense nonproliferation programming.
With that in mind, the following nonproliferation chores should be
accomplished with all possible dispatch:
Persist, as champions of CTR programs, with support for
funds to dismantle infrastructure, upgrade security, and
discourage brain drain from the former Soviet chemical and
biological weapons facilities;
Insist, in particular, on full US funding for the
construction of a nerve agent destruction facility at
Encourage the exploration of opportunities to export CTR-
like programs beyond the borders of the former Soviet empire,
to other nations of proliferation concern;
Continue to support a US campaign to enhance disease
surveillance bilaterally and worldwide, reaching across the
capitol to encourage the House of Representatives to consider
the Global Pathogen Surveillance Act soon;
Promote the revision of US policies related to the global
strengthening of biosafety, biosecurity, and oversight of
genetic engineering research, directing the Executive Branch to
conduct more intense negotiations of rigorous, mandatory
international standards; and
Request that the Executive Branch to issue a report
providing statistics and analysis associated with the trade
effects of export controls.
The nonproliferation battle is fought step by step, one country at
a time, one facility at a time, one scientist at a time, and literally
one day at a time. Given the significant challenges facing
nonproliferation programs, the odds always appear stacked against
success. That is, until one recognizes how many former Soviet
weaponeers have chosen peaceful research over continued weapons work,
how many times export controls have derailed the plans of
proliferators, and how much weapons-tainted infrastructure has been
destroyed within the former Soviet chemical and bioweapons complexes,
at sites such as Stepnogorsk and Novocheboksarsk.
Though the costs of nonproliferation programs will mount over time,
such programs constitute an ounce of prevention that could short-
circuit biological and chemical weapons proliferation. Moreover, those
costs are insignificant in comparison to the loss in human and animal
life, as well as the devastation to crops, should governments or
terrorists elect to use biological or chemical weapons.
The Chairman. Thank you very much, Dr. Smithson.
I would like to recognize Senator Sarbanes for questions
that he might have of the panel.
Senator Sarbanes. Well, Mr. Chairman, thank you very much.
Unfortunately, I am going to have to depart for another
meeting, but first I want to thank you for holding this
hearing. I think this is an extremely important subject.
I have a sort of a question I ought to know the answer to,
presumably, but maybe you can help me. Suppose I am country z
and I decide I want to have nuclear weapons. What are the
international legal strictures that would keep me from doing
that, if any?
Ms. Gottemoeller. Perhaps I will start, Senator, and my
colleagues may wish to add on. It would depend if country z is
a member of the Nonproliferation Treaty regime or not. If it is
a non-nuclear weapons state under the Nonproliferation Treaty,
then there would be safeguards arrangements that would enable
it to proceed with the development of peaceful uses for nuclear
power, for nuclear materials, in agricultural and medical
applications, for example. But there would be a constraint on
it acquiring nuclear materials for military uses.
If a country is not a member of the Nonproliferation Treaty
regime, then those same kinds of international legal
constraints clearly do not exist. But that is a very, very
small group currently, including India, Pakistan, and Israel.
Mr. Curtis. May I add just one thing to that? The Nuclear
Nonproliferation Treaty is, by signature countries, the
largest-participant treaty in history. So it has--almost all
nations are participant.
Senator Sarbanes. But I gather you can withdraw from it. Is
Mr. Curtis. Well, that is unclear. But interesting North
Korea is a member, a signature member, of the Nonproliferation
Treaty, as was Iraq and as is Iran. And in signing to the
treaty, they all agreed not to develop nuclear weapons. They
are treaty-bound not to, and those treaty pledges are
enforceable through the Security Council of the United Nations,
which is why the IAEA has certified the issue to the United
Nations. Specifically, there is some dispute whether one can
withdraw from the treaty or not and then claim that they are
not subject to the international community's disciplines
exercised by sanctions or otherwise through the Security
Council of the United Nations. But it is probably not a very
consequential point, because if you were to withdraw and claim
that you are no longer subject, the U.N. still may impose
sanctions on you as an unlawful state.
Senator Sarbanes. And were the existing nuclear powers
grandfathered when the treaty was developed and signed?
Mr. Curtis. No, sir. They are all signatures of that
treaty. And under Article 6 of that treaty, they have made
certain undertakings to ultimately dispose of their nuclear
weapons over time.
Senator Sarbanes. So if I have signed the treaty--suppose I
say to myself, as country z, You know, given the kind of world
we now seem to be living in, maybe I should get some nuclear
weapons to, sort of, provide a defensive counter for myself. If
I am in the treaty, it is your view that I cannot really get
out of it, so I cannot go down that path. Is that correct?
Mr. Curtis. It is my view that whether you can get out or
not, that the international community may very well, and ought
to, impose severe sanctions against that type of conduct.
Senator Sarbanes. Thank you very much.
The Chairman. Thank you very much, Senator Sarbanes.
Let me mention at the outset that each of the statements
that you have made, I think, are a real contribution to the
arguments that we are all having and the progress of this. This
is why we want to make certain that they are included in the
record that will be published and that people who are not with
us today ca read, because it seems to me this is a good
summation from experts of where we are, as well as of your
recommendations of where we should be going.
I just want to comment further on a point that you made,
Dr. Gottemoeller, that the Russian contribution to this is
increasing. In correspondence that I have had just in the past
week with Foreign Minister Ivanov in response to a meeting that
we held in room S-116 a couple of months ago during one of his
visits to the United States, he has mentioned, particularly at
Shchuch'ye, which was a case in point of our conversation with
the Foreign Minister, that the Russians are doing a lot more,
and he specified the amount. And that is important, because
this is cooperative threat reduction. That is, the United
States and Russia, in this particular endeavor, are working
together. This is not the United States' endeavor. The risks to
Russians from accidents, whether they be nuclear, chemical, or
biological, are substantial, and they recognize that. The
security problems that occur in that country most likely would
affect people who are fairly close at first Russians recognize
I recall, Dr. Smithson, your invaluable contributions when
we were having the floor debate on the chemical weapons
convention and the information that your institute provided. I
would just simply say that, as I pointed out in direct
conversation with President Bush, we are 5 years through the
10-years that both Russia and the United States were given,
through their ratification of this treaty, to destroy all
chemical weapons. We are at halftime.
The NTI newsletters are invaluable each day in picking up
traces at various other locations that have chemical weapons.
Some work done by our European friends in these areas,
estimates that, at best, a few hundred tons out of the 40,000
metric tons that were declared may have been destroyed to this
point. I just note incrementally, and I always tear these
sheets out of the NTI newsletter, if a hundred tons has been
disposed of on that day and somebody records it, this is
significant. But the fact is, by any stretch of the
imagination, half of 40,000 is 20,000; it is not a few hundred.
Now, people ask, well, why are the Russians not fulfilling
their obligations? After all, the Duma considered this just as
the U.S. Senate did. The United States is busy, even in my home
State out at Newport, trying to work through deadly pathogens
out there. And even then, we may be stretched, as all of you
have testified in various other fora, to complete our
obligation in 10 years with all the expertise, the
appropriations, and what have you, as well as with the urgency
of local populations who want this done right and who
contribute a great deal of testimony about that.
In Russia, all of us understand that the money to do this
simply was not there from the beginning; and, therefore,
certain understandings occurred as the treaty was being
ratified as to the United States' assistance. That was true,
likewise, of certain technical expertise, notwithstanding the
delegation of Dr. Pak by President Putin to take hold of
Russian bureaucracy here. I believe he has done well, and he
visits with us often, with all of us in this room today, to try
to coordinate those efforts.
If we are serious about the treaty that we just ratified,
the Moscow Treaty, essentially this calls for both of our
countries to reduce nuclear warheads, or at least to displace
them, from missiles, make them inoperative in various ways to
go from the roughly 6,000 level each to somewhere between 2,100
and 1,800 over the course of a period until 2012. I expressed
directly to President Bush that this is clearly going to be
impossible without having either Cooperative Threat Reduction
money or some other comparable program that may be named to
take care of the Russian treaty. To enter into this thing with
any other understanding is to be disappointed--to have the
persons taking a look at the record in 2012 and saying, How did
we fail? or Who failed? or Who failed whom?--when we knew at
the beginning that we have a very sizable management problem
that really has to be articulated and thought through with the
Now, I mention all this because I suspect that the Russian
treaty is not going to work out without constant oversight by
this committee and by your newsletters and by testimony and so
forth. The sums of money are substantial. The requirements of
the American people for other things are substantial. There
will be an annual appropriation discussion and debate about
If this is, in fact, the number-one security problem facing
the United States of America, we will have to continue to
reiterate that, I suspect. People may forget from month to
month what the major problem was. Your constancy is exemplary,
and the record that you have created today is important,
really, as a reminder of that.
Now, having said all of that, the fact is that you have
expressed in various ways--you started with this, Dr.
Gottemoeller--the need for extraordinary flexibility in trying
to understand what the challenges may be. Project Sapphire, in
1994, is an excellent case in point. Who would have anticipated
that the President of Pakistan or his subordinates, finding
sheds or enclosures of nuclear material, would have called us?
We are grateful he did, as opposed to calling some other
country and notifying it of the availability of this stash that
the President of Kazakhstan was unaware of, apparently. But
what did we do about it? What we did, that you have suggested,
and many of you were involved in this, was to first of all get
out there to Kazakhstan, to get American aircraft out there,
really, ultimately to pick it up and take it to Oak Ridge,
Tennessee, after several legal and potential intervening steps.
And we got it out of there, out of a place of great
vulnerability, where proliferation could have occurred or,
worse, just wholesale merchandising that might have met the
purposes of that country.
Who knows where the next thing will show up? You pointed
out that we have had success in Belgrade and maybe 20-plus
other locations--not much movement even though we understand
the problem. In part, this is because of our own legislation or
interpretations of that, the flexibility that is there. We
contemplate why Yugoslavia, in this case, would, in fact, give
up the spent fuel. Now, they wanted money for clean-up. Well,
our laws and interpretations did not allow that. We said we are
not environmentalists. We are looking at nuclear threat, the
hard stuff, and this is what our government deals with. But we
would not have gotten the hard stuff out of there if we had not
been able to contemplate the environmental situation and had
that flexibility through the NTI moneys and expertise that came
My point, again, is please help us as we fashion an
extension of legislation this year. You can tell from the
hearing that we are about trying to extend this beyond Russia.
The flexibility that you are talking about, these certification
requirements, the waivers, the roadblocks that come from our
own debates--what is the path of wisdom in attempting at least
to modify, where we can, our own legislative history and
language so that we make it possible for the President, as
Commander in Chief, to act fairly swiftly if he gets a call
from the President of Kazakhstan or from somewhere else?
I am here to testify that if he got such a call today, in
some areas the President's hands would be tied. He would be
visiting with some of us and asking, What can you do to help
me? Well, we could introduce legislation. We want to do that,
because I take seriously Secretary Curtis' point. If there are
horrible incidents in this country involving weapons of mass
destruction, people are going to ask, Where were you, you
people who are responsible? As they did. I have served in the
joint committees of people wanting to know what happened on 9/
11. Why didn't the intelligence committees, why didn't our
intelligence services, why didn't somebody understand, stop
this so Americans would not be killed and American areas
severely damaged, and American psyche damaged by the fact of an
attack on our own country? People are unforgiving with these
Now, we are all going in eyes wide open today, and we are
saying, ``This is the most important threat.'' But we have to
always be thoughtful in inventorying what physically we ought
to be doing. So the thought that some of you have suggested
specific measures--I think you said, Secretary Curtis, in notes
that I have taken and that I found in a portion of your
testimony in which this appears--specific timetables or an
inventory, sort of ad seriatim, of these situations. Now, that
clearly is not there now. And, each year, we in our various
departments, try to do a number of things that are important.
But in terms of a comprehensive grasp of how much is there--are
there 40,000 metric tons of chemical weaponry out there in
Russia? And if so, how do we plan to get through the 40,000? In
what timetable and in what locations and with whom? Who are our
other partners? Others are prepared to contribute to this if we
are wise enough and diplomatic enough to ask them or to
contrive circumstances; not only the 10 Plus 10 Over 10, but
with very specific indicators.
Now, finally, let me just ask each one of you--Senator
Sarbanes has raised the question, and some of my colleagues,
likewise in various areas, about certain issues that are--I
would not call them topical, but in our interest in Iraq. Much
has been said about weapons of mass destruction and very
unreliable leadership and potential proliferation. Other
instances of this have arisen, North Korea and Iran being
conspicuous, but probably not unique. How should we proceed?
You cannot help all of this in terms of the foreign policy
situation imposed as President of the United States today, but
as you heard Secretary Wolf trying to handle these questions,
well, each one of these is different, they are different
policies. And fair enough, no tailor-made situation.
But for example, let us take the case of North Korea.
Secretary Wolf was pinned down by Senator Nelson to say, in
essence, it is unacceptable that North Korea would have nuclear
weapons, that the Korean Peninsula is nuclearized. Well, maybe
so, maybe not. There are certain voices that have been public--
I am not sure where they come from--who suggest that this is
rather inevitable if you do not have military action, for
example. Now, you might say, well, it is not inevitable if your
diplomacy is adept and somehow or other somebody does
something. But let us take the worst-case scenario, that the
sort of direct talks that I have advocated, and Senator Nelson
and others advocated, happened and the North Koreans sit down,
as they did with Assistant Secretary Kelly last October, and
simply indicate, We are a sovereign Nation, and we reserve the
right to build nuclear weapons if we want to do so. And as a
matter of fact, we are building them, and we plan to build some
more, as a matter of fact. And we see this as a major way in
which our country is going to be defended in case somebody
comes after us, including you, the United States, quite apart
from anybody else in the neighborhood, because they will
respect the fact that we have these nuclear weapons; and,
therefore, they will remove the military option from the table
because of the awesome situation. And they might add, although
we see it as awesome, too; nevertheless, it is our country, it
is our sovereign entity that is at stake, our government, our
regime, all of that. So we are prepared to use them.
Now, that is the kind of predicament that we might face
despite optimistic scenarios in which some type of conversation
occurs about the sixth iteration, a nonaggression pact, the
need for some humanitarian assistance, the need for this or
that or so forth. Others might contribute. At that point, some
in our government might say, well, we are not going to appease
nuclear violators, people who have already broken the Agreed
Framework, in our judgment, people who are unreliable. So it is
not really clear what we would do, even if such suggestions
were forthcoming, to avoid the thought of appeasement, or
reiterating what some have thought is a failed agreement from
Can any of you elaborate, sort of, given this invitation,
which may be beyond the scope slightly, of expansion of
Cooperative Threat Reduction, or other programs to other
countries--but we are getting very close to that, because let
us say we came up with a solution in North Korea. It may very
well be that we will want to work there, or in Iran or in
Pakistan or wherever, with the equivalent of the ISTC,
International Science and Technology Committee. In other words,
we may want to find something for people who have been employed
in these areas to do something else. You know, there may be
other parts of our programs that offer some assistance in
securing it to begin with and in destroying it. And here, in
the case of North Korea, just as a common example, they may
say, these weapons, or even the fissile material, even the
plutonium chipped off the rods, are a useful, lucrative
commodity. This is an export potential for us, as a poor state,
that needs the cash, that needs the international flow.
So if we are to give this up, however nefarious you think
it is, really how do we proceed with something that offers a
way out of our economic predicament?
Well, with all of these leading questions, Dr.
Gottemoeller, do you have a thought today on any of this?
Mr. Curtis. We are trying to figure out who is going to
volunteer to take this question, Mr. Chairman.
The Chairman. All right. Well, any of you.
Mr. Curtis. Let me start, though as I know each of my
colleagues will have useful observations, I think.
I think the North Korean, Iranian, and Iraqi situations are
all different. And undoubtedly, an effective engagement of
those circumstances will require different means and strategies
and actions. But they do bear one important common
characteristic, and that is that if Iraq, Iran, or North Korea
were to gain a nuclear weapons capability, it would be
intolerably destabilizing in the regions in which they are
situated. It is not to be accepted that it is inevitable that
either Iran or North Korea gain nuclear weapons, as it is not
acceptable that Iraq gain that capability.
I think while all weapons of mass destruction have a common
in terror effect, there is nothing quite like a nuclear weapon
for its sheer destructive power in a single incident. As Amy's
comments may illuminate, perhaps the great challenge in the
21st century will prove to be bio-weapons, but today it is the
nuclear threat that organizes and concentrates the diplomacy of
In the case of North Korea, specifically, I think we first
characterized that situation as not a crisis, and the North
Koreans seem to take that as a challenge and they have been, by
their actions, demonstrating it really is. I do not believe the
American people will be very much impressed with the niceties
of diplomatic stratagems if things go very badly wrong there.
If we are to rely on diplomacy first with North Korea, it seems
to me diplomacy without talking is an empty strategy. Relying
on the People's Republic of China as our principal intermediary
is a curious reliance, in my judgment. I think if we could
achieve a nuclear disarmament, a confident nuclear disarmament,
and a limitation on North Korea's export of missile technology,
it would be certainly worth direct discussions with North
Korea. It is not an appeasement to discuss. It depends on the
content and outcome of those discussions whether the
appeasement vocabulary is even relevant.
If we were to denuclearize North Korea confidently and
assuredly, it is almost certainly something that we would have
to, the United States and other nations, finance. If we were
to--and here is where extension of Nunn-Lugar really comes in--
because there would be no more effective weapons system that we
could conceive than a Nunn-Lugar cooperative effort on the
Korean Peninsula that would denuclearize North Korea. That
would be an enormous accomplishment. So having it ready, having
the authority in the President and the ability to access funds
to simplify the appropriation, if you will, judgment of the
Congress if it were to come to it, I think is an important tool
in the President's quiver, and the President should have that.
The President should have that tool to deal with other
situations. I mean, ultimately, we will need to engage, by
effective bilateral means, India, Pakistan, and China in
securing weapons and weapons material and know-how. Again, the
instruments of cooperation can most effectively be exercised
against the experience base that has been the Cooperative
Threat Reduction program in Russia and the former Soviet Union
under your and former Senator Nunn's original concept and
extension of that concept.
In dealing with Iran, I agree entirely with John Wolf's
earlier statement that the presence of a uranium enrichment
capability--which incidently, under the Nonproliferation Treaty
is perfectly legal--but its presence is a clear manifestation
of Iran's nuclear weapons ambitions. It is not whether it is
illegal; it is whether it is tolerable in the regional security
interests of the globe. It is not tolerable for Iran to develop
a nuclear weapons capability, and we should draw a very bright
line to make that clear, and we should engage an effective
tailor-made strategy to address that with great energy and
In the case of both North Korea and Iran, I do think that
Russia can play an effective or important role. Russia was the
supplier of North Korea's weapons capability on the plutonium
side. Russia is the supplier of technologies necessary to
complete Bushehr. Pakistan's role in both Iran and North Korea,
as is emerging from public accounts of intelligence reporting--
I have not seen the classified material--is a tremendously
worrisome circumstance. And so, again, it means an urgent
engagement. If we are to be joined with Pakistan against a war
against terrorism, we have to be similarly insistently joined
with Pakistan against stemming proliferation to dangerous
circumstance, and both are very, very dangerous circumstance.
Consequences of a nuclear-armed North Korea have been well
described by you and by others. It seems to me that that is--
``crisis`` is a proper characterization of that threat, and
Iran is making itself a near crisis if it proceeds on its
current path. And of course, we are already in the ultimate
form of crisis, or on the threshold of it, in Iraq. To
recognize that it is in our security interest in the United
States, it is in the security interest of peaceful nations
everywhere, that nations not acquire nuclear weapons in
circumstances, perhaps now in any circumstances, is a
recognition that should be--that should be--a matter to
organize collective and sometimes coercive international
cooperation. That we did not achieve that in the United Nations
Security Council has made the world much less safe, and it will
make the aftermath of any action in Iraq much more complicated
and less safe. We ought not to allow it to repeat in Iran and
North Korea, as well.
The Chairman. Thank you very much, Secretary Curtis.
Ms. Gottemoeller. Perhaps I will pick up where Secretary
Curtis left off, Mr. Chairman, and that is to underscore, as I
note in my testimony, that we are truly embarked on a difficult
period now where the U.N. system and its accompanying regimes,
such as the Nonproliferation Treaty, are being very seriously
shaken. And we have a lot of work to do to ensure that they
retain their authority and influence in international affairs.
I believe that strengthening enforcement is going to be an
arena that occupies many of us in the months and, indeed, years
to come. I welcomed very much, after 1991, that the IAEA's
safeguards regime was bolstered by the so-called strengthened
safeguards. I think that is a very positive step. We need to
continue to press countries such as Iran to sign the additional
protocol and embrace additional safeguards. That is very
But I want to also note that, at a more positive end of the
spectrum, I believe that from the experience we have gained in
nonproliferation cooperation, threat reduction cooperation,
over the years, we know that when we engage with countries on
these kinds of programs, a certain amount of what I call
natural transparency ensues. We become deeply involved, as we
have with the Russians in working at their naval bases, for
example, to dismantle submarines, and we know that those
submarines are being dismantled. So I would urge that we also
think, when we are talking about strengthening enforcement,
about some additional and more positive aspects of enforcement;
that it need not only be punitive in its nature, but that we
think about ways to engage and perhaps reward countries who are
willing to cooperate on nonproliferation projects of the threat
reduction type. And this is a direction I think is very hopeful
for the future and could perhaps provide a type of incentive
for cooperation among countries who are not vigorously involved
today on nonproliferation cooperation.
I would like to further note that, with regard to North
Korea, Iran, Iraq, and other countries that are a proliferation
concern, nuclear weapons become less relevant to them when
solutions are found for their larger security problems, whether
in their region or internationally, and that is why I urge that
we think in those terms when we are considering, for example,
You are aware, Mr. Chairman, that I was intimately involved
in the denuclearization of Ukraine, and I recall what factors
were especially important in that context. First of all, the
United States was willing to embark on a close security
relationship with Ukraine involving the extension of security
assurances to Ukraine--very important, I think, also in the
North Korea case. Second, we were willing to help them to
eliminate the weapons systems on their soil through the threat
reduction Nunn-Lugar program--again, extraordinarily important.
Third, we were willing to extend to them additional assistance
in areas that they found very important, and that was energy
assistance--again, very relevant to the North Korea case. And
finally, that we had additional partners that we could engage
to help us with some of the more difficult problems and the
heavy lifting. In the case of Ukraine, it was Russia. Of
course, Russia agreed to take back the nuclear warheads on
Ukrainian territory and eliminate them quickly and
expeditiously in Russian warhead elimination facilities.
I think, again, that we should very much be looking at this
example and precedent when we consider North Korea. It makes
eminent sense to me that the Russian Federation should take
back the plutonium fuel rods that it was helpful, as Secretary
Curtis noted, in extending as assistance to North Korea in the
first place, and it should be willing to store and otherwise
dispose of that material from North Korea.
So, to conclude, I will only say that I see a package
before us. The structure of the deal is not all that difficult,
as far as I am concerned. But we do have to take into account
very seriously the larger security concerns of North Korea and
be willing to work them very directly and intensively.
The Chairman. Well, your testimony from the Ukraine
instance is very helpful.
Dr. Smithson. Your question was phrased in terms of Iraq,
Iran, and North Korea. While Secretary Curtis and I might have
a debate about which should garner more priority, nuclear or
biological weapomry, let us just say they are both two very
important security problems, and I am here to carry the
biological standard today.
Among the first orders of post-conflict business in Iraq, I
would argue that the United States should begin rebuilding the
public health infrastructure in that country. This is a service
to the citizens of Iraq, who have suffered grievously for far
too long under Saddam Hussein's leadership. But we should also
give very serious consideration to enhancing the disease
surveillance capabilities of North Korea and Iran, for example
by providing better laboratory equipment. The individuals that
work in their public health labs could probably use more
training, training that includes an inculcation of good bio-
safety standards; which would help reduce the potential for
accidents; good security procedures for dangerous pathogens;
and certainly better oversight procedures for research projects
that involve genetic engineering.
The reason this is so important is because of the way
people live in very large population concentrations today.
Public health officials need to quickly catch disease
outbreaks, whether they are intentional or naturally erupting.
There is a situation right now in the world with acute
respiratory distress syndrome that is causing some concern that
illustrates my point. Diseases can hop from continent to
continent literally overnight, and if they do not detect the
eruption quickly, authorities will not have the time to take as
much life-saving intervention as they otherwise might have if
the United States had conducted this type of expanded CTR
assistance to these countries.
I would also argue that we should consider taking this type
of programming to places like South Africa, Egypt, Pakistan and
India. Indeed, there are so many on the list of countries of
proliferation concern that could benefit from this type of
assistance. This effort is not just about doing a public
service for the citizens of these countries. This is about
protecting U.S. citizens, given the speed with which disease
can spread. And it is also about facilitating transparency and
gaining a better understanding of what is happening in
laboratories around the world. If the United States is training
these scientists and equipping these laboratories, it is
arguable that the United States would probably have better
access to these facilities and, again, a better understanding
of what is taking place. That is just one illustration of where
you might begin to expand CTR programming.
The Chairman. I thank you for that very important
It has come to the attention of the committee that the
Reader's Digest has published today for its April 2003 issue an
article called ``Search and Destroy, The Mission to Find
Unsecured Weapons of Mass Destruction Before Terrorists Do,''
which is especially appropriate for our hearing this morning.
So I will include that in the record so that it will be a part
of our discussion.
[The article referred to follows:]
[From Reader's Digest, April 2003]
Search and Destroy
The mission to find unsecured weapons of mass destruction
before terrorists do
(By Michael Crowley)
In the early morning hours of August 22, 2002, the race to protect
America from nuclear destruction focused on an aging building in
Eastern Europe. Under cover of darkness, a paramilitary operation
unfolded in the area around the Vinca Institute, home to a Soviet-era
nuclear reactor in the Serbian capital of Belgrade. Soldiers and police
closed off nearby streets. Snipers took up rooftop positions.
Counterterrorism commandos stood on high alert. Their mission was to
protect a cargo of terrifying potency: some 100 pounds of highly
enriched uranium-spent fuel from the reactor that could be used to
develop up to three nuclear bombs.
For years the fuel had been stored at Vinca under conditions that
made American officials uneasy. Security amounted to one or two armed
guards. The fuel itself was stored in containers light enough for a man
to carry, but not radioactive enough to kill him quickly. Within months
of such a theft, a nation or terrorist group employing a few skilled
scientists and some fairly basic equipment could be ready to devastate
the city of its choice.
Project Vinca, as it was called by the State Department, ended that
threat. The uranium was loaded into one of three identical trucks, two
of which acted as decoys. With an armed escort and helicopters hovering
overhead, the convoy traveled along 22 miles of closed roads to
Belgrade's international airport. From there the radioactive cargo was
flown to its destination: Russia, where it would be converted into a
form of uranium unsuitable for a nuclear bomb.
The world is now dotted with places like Vinca, where terrorists
might secure the ingredients to make weapons of mass destruction.
Thirteen countries are known to possess chemical, biological or nuclear
weapons. Perhaps 25 in all have such weapons programs going full-
throttle. More than 40 nations, meanwhile, have nuclear research
facilities that store either enriched uranium or plutonium. But the
most dangerous places are weapons sites where security is abysmal or
where scientists could be available to the highest bidder. And the
majority of these are tucked away in remote areas of the former Soviet
The stakes were made clear on September 11, 2001. As Thomas
Friedman, foreign affairs columnist for The New York Times, has said,
technology now enables a superpower like the United States to be
attacked by ``super-empowered'' individuals such as Osama bin Laden. He
can communicate easily through the Internet and satellite telephones to
form virtual Al Qaeda cells that can become all too real as they carry
out their nefarious deeds.
Project Vinca is a good example of what the future of America's
battle against terrorism will look like. Even as the FBI, CIA and NSA
hunt down terrorists around the world, a parallel effort is underway to
make the raw ingredients of mass terror secure--whether they are
chemical agents like sarin, VX nerve gas and mustard gas; biological
agents like anthrax and ricin; or the essential ingredients of nuclear
weapons, highly enriched, uranium or plutonium.
Last spring, this quest took Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Chairman Richard Lugar to a massive Russian chemical-weapons complex at
Shchuch'ye, an impoverished town in Western Siberia. Inside the
corroded buildings, some with deteriorated roofs, are nearly two
million artillery shells. Stacked snugly in racks, they could be
mistaken for an enormous collection of wine. But the containers are
filled with two of the most lethal substances known to man: sarin and
VX nerve gas.
Iraq has already shown the world what nerve agents can do: In 1988,
Saddam Hussein slaughtered 5,000 Kurds in a northern Iraqi town with a
cocktail of sarin, tabun and VX gas, along with mustard gas. Years
later, many survivors have permanent, crippling nerve damage and
respiratory problems. Even more devastating, their babies are being
born with birth defects and mental retardation.
Many of the shells at the Shchuch'ye warehouses are easy to carry
off. Lugar fit one into an ordinary briefcase. ``The Russians claim
that this single shell would kill all in a stadium of 85,000 people,''
says Lugar. ``And this is just one of the smallest shells.''
Russian soldiers stand guard at the Shchuch'ye facility. But most
Russian military men are paid poorly, making them susceptible to bribes
from peopie who might want to buy or steal shells.
``The concern at the moment is an inside job by someone who wants
to feed his family,'' explains Ken Myers, a Lugar staffer who has
The Russians have an inventory of Shchuch'ye's cache, but if one
shell out of two million were to go missing, who would notice? Nor is
there a shortage of potential buyers in the area. Shchuch'ye is located
near the Russian border with Kazakhstan, reportedly a base of
operations for Al Qaeda terrorist's over the years.
Tracking down and keeping tabs on substances like the nerve gas in
Shchuch'ye is extremely difficult and expensive work that will stretch
across nearly every populated continent. But the task is being
undertaken, largely thanks to the pioneering efforts of Senator Lugar
and former Senator Sam Nunn, who now heads the Nuclear Threat
Initiative, based in Washington, D.C.
Through their decade-old Nunn-Lugar program, the U.S. government
has been spending $1 billion a year to secure and destroy weapons of
mass destruction in the former Soviet Republics and employ, in peaceful
work, cash-strapped weapons scientists who might otherwise go to work
for rogue states or terrorists.
So far, the program has deactivated more than 6,000 nuclear
warheads, destroyed hundreds of weapons such as ballistic missiles, and
found jobs for tens of thousands of scientists. Still, the risk has
been diminished only slightly. Chemical weapons stockpiles--some 40,000
metric tons in Russia alone--have barely been touched; security at many
of the former biological weapons facilities remains lax; and nuclear
materials (200 metric tons of plutonium and 1,200 metric tons of
uranium in Russia) have been completely secured at fewer than half of
the facilities that house them.
It's clear why Nunn and Lugar have focused their efforts to date on
the former Soviet Union. Georgia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and
Belarus--all being former Soviet Republics--have stores of chemical,
biological or nuclear materials. And Russia itself contains the mother
lode of the world's super-deadly materials. This is what remains of the
crumbling Soviet Cold War arsenal.
The old Soviet bloc is not the only problem. Several countries that
have spawned or supported terrorists, including Egypt, Iran, Libya and
Sudan, are believed to have germ-weapons programs--and little is known
about the security of their laboratories and the allegiances of their
scientists. Meanwhile, nations as diverse as Syria, Congo and Bulgaria
have nuclear ``research'' reactors, like the one at the Vinca
Institute, that are believed to account for some 20 tons of uranium.
(Italian authorities, in fact, caught Mafia operatives in 1998 trying
to sell a uranium rod that had been stolen from a reactor in Kinshasa,
Congo. The plant manager had not even known the rod was missing.)
It is through the work of Nunn and Lugar in the former Soviet
Union, however, that we can see most clearly what the dangers look
like. Consider the Pokrov Biologics Plant southeast of Moscow. Pokrov
was ostensibly built during the Cold War to produce animal vaccines.
But it had another secret purpose: to brew killer germs capable of
wiping out America's livestock en masse. The refrigerators at Pokrov
still store a wide variety of virulent germs, including anthrax. But as
of last spring, the plant's security-alarm system was 30 years old and
not working properly. And a building housing viruses was guarded by a
lone man with a German shepherd. Inside, Senator Lugar found a
refrigerator with its ``security'' amounting to a piece of string with
a wax seal. Another refrigerator with deadly viruses stood in a second-
floor room by a window, accessible to anyone with a ladder.
Thanks to the Nunn-Lugar program, security is being upgraded at
places like Pokrov. And, in a model for future efforts, the plant is
being converted to peaceful uses. One of the facility's old biological
fermenters now churns out a shampoo, of all things, sold under the
label ``Green Mama.'' But experts say shoddy security is still the norm
at chemical, biological and nuclear facilities throughout Russia.
It's not just the germs, but also the know-how of the makers, that
have officials worried. Many Russian bio-scientists work in labs with
no heat, and are paid as little as a few hundred dollars a month.
Several top Russian germ scientists have said they were approached in
the 1990s by Iranian officials, offering them salaries five times
greater than what they were earning. Some are believed to have
accepted. Countries like Iraq and North Korea are reported to have made
similar offers--a serious problem, given that the Soviets employed some
65,000 scientists in their germ-weapons program.
Finally, there is the nuclear material available in the former
Soviet Union-some 20,000 weapons, and enough bomb-grade uranium and
plutonium (much of it in non-weapons nuclear facilities) to build
40,000 more. In one chilling case, two kilograms of highly enriched
uranium were stolen from a nuclear research institute in Sukhumi,
Georgia, in the early '90s. That uranium has never been recovered.
Authorities have reported that dozens of attempts to smuggle
nuclear material have been thwarted, including the arrest in 1998 of
workers at a Russian nuclear-weapons facility who had plotted to steal
18.5 kilograms of highly enriched uranium--possibly enough to build a
Even more recent attempts, in Bulgaria and Georgia, indicate that,
nuclear material may increasingly be destined for the Middle East or
Asia. This would square with a finding of a recent commission led by
former Senator Howard Baker and former White House counsel Lloyd
Cutler: ``The task force was advised that buyers from Iraq, Iran and
other countries have actively sought nuclear-weapons-usable material
from Russian sites.''
A facility of particular concern is the Kharkiv Institute of
Physics and Technology in Ukraine, which houses about two-thirds more
bomb-grade uranium than the Vinca Institute did. Workers at Kharkiv
typically earn the equivalent of $150 per month, and heat and lights
are often turned off to cut utility bills. These facts are surely not
lost on those interested in acquiring nuclear weapons; in 1998, Saddam
Hussein dispatched an Iraqi delegation to Kharkiv, supposedly to
explore business opportunities there (no nuclear material is thought to
have been transferred).
Ensuring that reactors like Kharkiv don't become black-market
outlets for terrorists won't be easy. Even a top-priority mission like
Project Vinca required more than a year of planning and intensive
diplomacy, and it ultimately cost the U.S. taxpayer millions of
dollars. What's more, the federal government failed to fund critical
parts of the job. Only a private grant of $5 million from the Nuclear
Threat Initiative--which is funded by CNN mogul Ted Turner--made
Project Vinca possible.
Other efforts of the Nunn-Lugar program often run afoul of
Congress, where members suspect that American dollars may be wasted. A
priority of Nunn and Lugar, for instance, has been to construct
machinery to neutralize the stockpile of nerve gas at Shchuch'ye. In a
speech last year, President Bush called this project ``a vital
mission.'' But since then, progress has been held up by bickering in
Congress over the extent of the threat. Meanwhile, the shells sit in
Shchuch'ye, gathering dust. Or so we hope.
More upbeat news came at the 2002 ``G8'' summit meeting of the
world's leading industrialized nations, where heads of state pledged
$20 billion over ten years to address the worldwide threat. But even
that support seems shaky: Experts complain that the plan lacked both
specifics and hard commitments.
``Preventing the spread and use of nuclear, biological and chemical
weapons should be the central organizing principle on security for the
21st century,'' says Sam Nunn. Yet he also fears that securing these
weapons ``doesn't even come close to being a high enough priority for
our nation and the world.'' Nunn likens the United States and its
allies to a gazelle running from a cheetah--moving in the right
direction, but not nearly fast enough. He hates to think what it might
take to drive the point home.
The Chairman. I just have one final query, and it follows
on from your testimony, Dr. Smithson, but, likewise, from
programmatic work that I know is part of the NTI agenda. We
were at the Ultrapure Laboratory in St. Petersburg this summer.
First of all it is an example of a conversion by very dedicated
scientists. They are doing something else. I have to take on
faith the representations of how many scientists were there, as
well as how many are there now and their budget and so forth.
Essentially they said to our group that they had 300 scientists
there at one point working on nefarious activities. There may
be 150 scientists or a few more there now, with well over half
of their budget taken care of by three pharmaceutical products
that they have created and that they are selling to hospitals
in the St. Petersburg area.
Now, in addition to that, a member of the Duma was present,
because he wanted to extol the research they were doing on HIV/
AIDS. They were in several tangents of inquiry there, and the
Duma member wanted to point out the importance of that given
the spread of HIV/AIDS in Russia, a point in which some
Russians are in denial. He simply wanted, as a public official,
to indicate how extensive it was and how important this
The thing that attracted my attention even beyond that was
that they were attempting to do work with regard to the immune
system of human beings as they might be affected by biological
pathogens. Now, I know, at NTI, that Dr. Hamburg and perhaps
others have had an interest in this same question. It is a big
question. Can the human immune system--not be altered, but be
affected by treatments or by inputs or so forth in such a way
that most biological pathogens, as we know them, do not become
fatal or deadly to a human being. If so, this is likely to
change the course of biological warfare very, very
Now, this is not a panacea offered this morning to suggest
that we stop attempting to keep track of what is occurring in
that area in which a lot of countries are in denial. But, at
the same time, it indicates what I believe is a very important
path to be pursued, at least in terms in our research, both
with Russian friends who are working in an ISTC project at the
Ultrapure Laboratory in St. Petersburg, as well as Americans
who may be working constructively here.
Do any of you have any further information or any testimony
about this? Dr. Curtis, do you, or Dr. Smithson, do you want to
Dr. Smithson. Thank you, Senator.
First, I would note that when I began discussing the
layoffs of scientists with individuals from a number of these
institutes, the numbers that I was given about the staffing
level of Institute for Highly Pure Bio-Preparations in St.
Petersburg was that, in 1990, they had 500 scientists.
The Chairman. Five hundred.
Dr. Smithson. Whereas, in 1999, they were down to roughly
250 which gives you some indication of why I share your
concerns about brain drain.
With regard to the type of research that you described,
traditionally the strategy has been to look for cures to
diseases one disease at a time. Some scientists will try to
tackle anthrax, others will try to tackle smallpox, and so on.
But, there is research underway even in this country, if my
memory is correct, sponsored by the Defense Advance Research
Projects Agency, where scientists are looking for commonalities
between dangerous pathogens so that perhaps we might come up
with one antibiotic or one vaccination that would be able to
address several diseases.
I would join you in encouraging our government to
collaborate with these Russian scientists on these very
difficult research problems. I would also hope that our
industry, our pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries,
would come off the sidelines and begin to help in the
conversion of these former weapons facilities.
These weapons scientists explored and developed so many
agents that we do not fully understand yet, and they took
different strategies to achieve the goals that they set out for
their weapons programs. From these scientists, I think we have
a lot to learn for the benefit of United States defenses as
well as for commercial medicine and other disease problems that
confront Americans and the world.
So that would be my response to your question.
The Chairman. Well, when you mention that our firms should
come off the sidelines, do you mean to say they are sitting out
there in the spectator seats sort of hoping for something to
happen, or what is the dilemma here?
Dr. Smithson. Senator, some U.S. companies did take trips
to the former Soviet Union right after the collapse, and they
took one look at these institutes and were very discouraged at
the prospects for conducting collaborative research or for
initiating production of medicines at these facilities. The
reasons are rather straightforward. These Russian scientists
were working according to their practices. In the United States
and in Europe, the Food and Drug Administration and other
organizations set very strict regulations for the research,
development, testing and production of medicines. So the
Russians had quite a way to go in scaling the learning curves
not just about how to do business, how to market themselves,
but how to conduct research, how to do testing with animals for
the certification of medicines and how to maintain the good
laboratory practices and manufacturing practices that are
observed in the West. With the assistance of the International
Science and Technology Center, the Initiatives for
Proliferation Prevention, and Cooperative Threat Reduction
programs, the former weaponeers have gone a long way in
beginning to understand and actually incorporate Western
standards into these facilities.
So the potential is quite ripe for the U.S. industry now.
Launching joint ventures is not just good nonproliferation
policy; it is good business sense. There are many opportunities
for U.S. industry to collaborate profitably with these
The Chairman. Yes, sir.
Mr. Curtis. Can I offer just an observation? The advances
in bioscience are the ultimate dual-use technology. The very
advances that we depend upon to improve our health defenses may
also be used to weaponized biological agents, as we have seen
repeatedly. During the Soviet era, we know very well that
advances in bioscience for a weapons purpose were taken much
farther in the Soviet system than anywhere else in the world.
We have to find a way to harness that expertise in ways that
improve our bio-defenses against the modern threats that we
face, and we have to find a way of engaging those scientists in
peaceful, sustaining peaceful, work.
I mentioned in my testimony there are 7,000 scientists in
the Biopreparat apparatus in the former Soviet Union that our
security services classify as security risks.
The Chairman. Yes.
Mr. Curtis. We cannot tolerate those folks engaged in an
international commerce of their knowledge. So we have to do two
things. We have to engage them effectively with our pharma
industry, hopefully in useful advances in bioscience to improve
health and human progress, and, at the same time, we have to
take advantage where it is presented of that science in
constructing better bio-defenses. And working in partnership,
our scientists and theirs together, we think we can make
meaningful progress in doing that.
The Chairman. I appreciate this discussion, and it is an
extremely difficult problem, as are most of these problems. But
like some that we have worked before, we have gotten into this
a bit with regard to Presidential waiver today and stipulations
of various sorts. Clearly, in the biosciences there are very,
very well-drawn stipulations with regard to health and safety,
as well as maybe security risk. And the dilemma for us is that
out there somewhere is knowledge that may save the lives of a
lot of Americans. So while we are busy reciting a lot of our
laws, our difficulties as to why we cannot move on any of these
things, some of these people will still ask, What are you doing
to reduce the risk? And without being melodramatic about it,
after all, this particular building is relatively secure, but
the one in which my office is, in the Hart building across the
way, was subject to one of the largest anthrax attacks that the
world has ever seen. And about 5,000 people, more or less, who
are staff members and constituents who had the misfortune of
visiting us on that particular day that the envelope was in
Senator Daschle's office two floors above me, the finely ground
spores went up into the ventilation system, and all of our
folks were swept out of the building over into this building--
this is sort of the safe ground--throats swabbed, 3 days of
Cipro tablets issued. Fortunately, the tablets worked for this
particular strain of anthrax and everybody lived. Not so for
postal workers, who were not too far away who had handled these
letters who did not know in time exactly what had hit them and
did not have the same prescription. So this was for real, not a
hypothetical situation. It occurred within a few feet of where
we are now.
Now, it is of interest that people talk about developing
other strains of anthrax, maybe not the variety that went up
through the ventilators here. And did the Cipro work there?
Maybe so, maybe not. As you have all suggested, in the
deviousness of this research, either Russians or other
scientists in other countries may, in fact, have developed
pathogens that, in fact, go well beyond anything that we have
contrived to offer a safety zone. That is not beyond our
imagination. And having visited--not Ultrapure, but another
laboratory in Russia, where they were working on various
strains of smallpox or monkeypox or various of other sorts of
pox, you see all the possibilities for evading all that we know
with regard to antidotes.
So this is a very, very serious issue, in my judgment, and
one not easily handled in the normal ways that we deal with
legislation here, nor by an administration which says, We're
hog-tied because the laws prevent us from going there.
So this is why I take your creative imagination today to
supplement that which others are offering, because it seems to
me that, in our own legislative way, that we have to authorize
our administration, at least the President of the United States
to be able to go places that are very difficult on behalf of
American people, of saving life in an area where we do not have
conventional warfare of nation-states. And as the President and
others have been pointing out, individual persons or small
groups, unidentified people without agendas, manifestos or what
have you, may wish us harm and may be able to affect that.
Well, I thank you for your personal leadership in each of
the organizations in which you are involved, as well as your
public service careers.
And the hearing is adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 12:10 p.m., the committee adjourned, to
reconvene subject to the call of the Chair.]
Responses to Additional Questions for the Record
Responses of Hon. John S. Wolf, Assistant Secretary of State for
Nonproliferation, to Additional Questions for the Record Submitted by
Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr.
Question 1. The Fiscal Year 2004 budget submitted by the President
has only modest increases for the State Department's nonproliferation
assistance programs, and little or no increase for the Energy
Department's assistance programs to the former Soviet Union. All of
these programs will remain below their actual 2002 spending levels.
This risks sending a message of ``business as usual'' when it comes to
spending on non-proliferation.
Does the $7 million increase in funding for the
International Science and Technology Centers (ISTC) and Bio-
Redirection come near what those programs could usefully spend?
If an additional $30 million or more had been budgeted, could
not those funds have been used for additional valuable
The President's FY 2004 budget submission states that the
Bio-Redirect program is to be broadened to include former
Soviet chemical weapons scientists. But the budget request only
adds $7 million onto a program that was appropriated just $52
million in FY 2003, following a $67 million appropriation in FY
2002. What effect will the proposed FY 2004 funding have on
programs involving former Soviet biological weapons scientists?
Answer. If the FY 2004 Science Centers/Bio-Chem Redirection budget
receives the requested $7 million increase, the requested total of $59
million will adequately fund ongoing engagement with former biological
and chemical weapons scientists under the Bio-Chem Redirection program.
We will look at whether additional funds could be usefully directed to
the BioIndustry Initiative (BII) for the outyear.
BII was initiated with a one time $30 million emergency
supplemental appropriation in FY 2002. The program seeks to reconfigure
former Soviet biological production facilities for peaceful uses, and
to engage former Soviet biological and chemical weapons scientists in
collaborative R&D projects to accelerate drug and vaccine development
for highly infectious diseases. BII is currently the only U.S. program
specifically aimed at engaging and reconfiguring former Soviet
biological weapons production facilities capable of producing large
quantities of weaponizable infectious disease agents, such as anthrax
and smallpox. Through BII, we have already engaged four large-scale bio
production facilities in Russia that had not previously worked with the
ISTC. Current funding levels will enable engineering assessments of
production capability, marketing and business plan development, and
ISTC projects aimed at redirecting these facilities toward sustainable,
commercial applications. In order to engage at least five additional
high-priority production facilities, and to continue working on long-
term self sustainability projects with the facilities already engaged,
additional funds would be required in future years.
The Bio-Redirection program has received more than $65 million
since its inception, including $20 million in FY 2003. If the Science
Centers/Bio-Chem Redirect programs receive their requested budget of
$59 million for FY 2004, these funds will adequately support ongoing
efforts to engage former BW scientists. With several notable exceptions
where access issues have so far prevented engagement, we have expanded
our redirection efforts to engage most of our top-priority targets
(more than fifty institutes). Some priority bio institutes are making
progress toward long-term self-sustainability, and we plan to begin
``graduating'' the first bio institutes from our engagement program by
Through FY 2003, a modest chemical engagement effort has been
funded using core Science Center funds. Starting in FY 2003, a modest
share of Bio-Chem Redirection funds are also being obligated to engage
former CW scientists at the top-priority Soviet-era CW R&D institutes.
Four such institutes have been selected in Russia, and engagement has
begun with each. Two such institutes have been selected in Ukraine, and
projects there are in development. Using additional Bio-Chem
Redirection and Science Center funds requested for FY 2004, chemical
engagement can continue without significantly constraining ongoing
efforts to engage former BW scientists.
INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY (IAEA) FUNDING
Question 2. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will play
a major role in guarding against radiological terrorism. The Security
Assistance Act enacted last year calls for an effort to increase the
regular IAEA budget, in part for this purpose, and the Administration
supported that provision. But the U.S. voluntary contribution to the
IAEA holds steady at $50 million, and the request for the regular U.S.
budget contribution actually goes down from $57 million in FY 2003 to
$54 million in FY 2004.
(2a) Is the United States backing its strong words of
support for the IAEA's mission with adequate funding? Will the
request of $54 trillion in FY 2004 for our contribution to the
IAEA's regular budget still accommodate a 20% increase in that
(2b) Is the Administration banking on the availability of
other funds? For example, do you expect the value of the dollar
to rise sharply, thus decreasing the cost of our budget
assessments? Is significant extra IAEA funding contained in the
Department of Energy budget? Will there be carryover funds from
(2c) The Energy Department had to come up with funds for
this year's voluntary contribution to the IAEA's new effort to
combat radiological terrorism. Does the President's request for
FY 2004 take into account the need to continue or expand that
new IAEA program?
(2d) At last week's IAEA conference on radiological sources,
it was disclosed that Russia has many more nuclear generators
than it had previously acknowledged. What are we doing to
combat the risk that one of those unattended lighthouse
generators could be stolen? Does the budget request include any
funds for that effort?
Answer (2a). The IAEA has proposed a budget for 2004-2005 with a
roughly eleven percent ($27.1 million) increase in 2004. The bulk of
this increase ($19.5 million) is for safeguards, where it would meet
critical staff, equipment and other support needs. The United States
has made clear its support for this increase for safeguards.
The Administration gives high priority to the IAEA budget and
budgets to pay its assessed share in full. We expect the IAEA regular
assessed budget to increase in 2004 and to pay our full assessment.
However, because the IAEA assessed contributions are paid on a deferred
basis (along with eight other UN-affiliated organizations), the
proposed safeguards increase in the 2004 IAEA budget would not be
incorporated into the President's Budget until FY 2005. The drop in our
regular budget request from FY 2003 to FY 2004 is based solely on the
changing assumptions about currency exchange rates. At present the
value of the Euro is at historically high levels, and the FY 2004
request is based on the level that was in effect last April, when the
budget was originally formulated.
Answer (2b). The Administration is not assuming that other funds
will become available. We do not attempt to project exchange rates; we
pay our assessments as soon as we have both a bill from the
organization and the full appropriated funds. The CIO account, which
funds our regular budget assessment, is only available for one year and
thus no carryover funds exist. Voluntary Contribution funds, which come
from the NADR account, are typically expended over a period of 1-2
years, and NDF funds have been used in the past to meet IAEA equipment
Answer (2c). The Department of Energy also supports the IAEA in a
variety of ways, including in-kind technical support of national lab
experts and, as you note, cash contributions to the IAEA's Nuclear
Security Fund. We have discussed with DOE the need to sustain funding
for the IAEA's nuclear security program, which helps states reduce the
risk of nuclear terrorism. I cannot speak for DOE on its plans for FY
2004, and suggest that you ask DOE directly.
Answer (2d). We are working to ensure the safety and security of
all significant radioactive sources. The RTG problem is a subset of
these efforts. Current estimates place the number of Radioisotope
Thermoelectric Generators (RTGs) in the Russian Federation at
approximately 1,000. The Department of Energy is currently working
through Russia's Ministry of Atomic Energy (MinAtom) to help secure
vulnerable RTGs and the radiological material they contain. The
Government of Norway also has a significant program to secure these
DOE plans are to securely remove RTGs that have reached the end of
their useful life (disused) from their current locations and transport
them to sites that are equipped for the safe and secure storage or
disposal of these sources. We are evaluating the issues related to the
security of sources in use and potential replacement of lighthouse RTGs
with alternate power sources, thus eliminating this particular use for
DOE's current budget for the Material Protection, Control and
Accounting (MPC&A) Program contains sufficient funding for the start-up
of these efforts. I would refer you to DOE for further information on
their budget submission for FY 2004.
Question 3. Several experts have highlighted that the Nuclear
Nonproliferation Treaty allows nations to develop full nuclear fuel
cycles without sanction, in effect arriving at a position where the
construction of actual nuclear weapons is only a few months away.
Accordingly, they have suggested the need to go beyond the NPT to
effectively meet new challenges. As one example, fuel fabrication and
reprocessing facilities could be internationalized and purely national
How can we revitalize international non-proliferation
regimes, including the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the
IAEA safeguards regime, and the Nuclear Suppliers Group, to
better meet the new threats of the 21st century?
Answer. One of the inherent challenges of nuclear energy,
recognized as early as President Eisenhower's Atoms for Peace
initiative in 1953, is its potential use for peaceful and military
purposes. Negotiations leading to the 1968 NPT would have failed if
some countries had insisted that it contain limitations on fuel cycle
facilities because of their utility to nuclear weapons. Many
prospective NPT parties had plans in the 1960s to build such facilities
for civil uses.
The need to supplement the NPT with policies that limit access to
certain nuclear fuel cycle technologies has been a feature of the
nuclear nonproliferation regime since the 1970s.
For example, the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) agreed to exercise
strong controls on the transfer of enrichment and reprocessing
technologies. The idea of ``internationalizing'' certain fuel cycle
facilities was also encouraged by the NSG. Due to the large scale of
such facilities, some facilities in Europe have been owned by
multinational companies in which several governments have had an
interest. But for obvious reasons a determined proliferator is not
going to adopt this approach. It would not be feasible or desirable to
seek a global ban on purely national facilities.
The NPT could be bolstered by its parties adopting strong national
policies that support NPT compliance. Such policies should encourage
prompt and effective action by the IAEA and the U.N. Security Council
in response to cases of noncompliance. NPT parties must also recognize
that a threat to the NPT is global in nature and that a multilateral
response is necessary. NPT parties should also ensure they provide
assistance only to peaceful nuclear programs of NPT parties in good
standing and that their nuclear export controls are strong enough to
prevent their firms from assisting nuclear explosive programs or
unsafeguarded nuclear fuel cycle activity in other states.
The IAEA safeguards regime has been strengthened steadily over the
past decade to expand the IAEA's capabilities to detect undeclared
activities. This has involved an affirmation of existing IAEA rights,
the application of new technologies (e.g. environmental sampling), the
use of more information (e.g. imports/exports), and the negotiation of
Additional Protocols to existing safeguards agreements (which give the
IAEA greater access to nuclear-related facilities). Members of the IAEA
must also ensure the Agency has sufficient resources in its regular
budget to apply effective safeguards. Finally, the members of the IAEA
must make clear to the IAEA staff that it expects safeguards to be fair
and objective, but also that the IAEA must be aggressive and be willing
to take vigorous action in pursuit of investigating situations where
questions have arisen.
The Nuclear Suppliers Group is undertaking a number of initiatives.
Among them are clarifications to the Guidelines that would require non-
nuclear-weapon state recipients to accept stronger safeguards and
physical protection measures as a condition of supply. Watch lists are
being developed to supplement the NSG control list and to target
certain countries such as North Korea to further inhibit their ability
to acquire foreign assistance. The NSG is amending its Guidelines with
anti-nuclear terrorism measures and considering expanding its
information sharing activities as a means to prevent diversions to
terrorist states. The NSG is working to create stronger ties to
licensing and law enforcement officials of member states.
Question 4. In your prepared statement for the hearing, you assert:
``Where controls fail, and international bodies are unable or unwilling
to act, interdiction is an option; properly planned and executed,
interception of critical technologies en route to dangerous end users
can make a difference.''
In that regard, what are the lessons of the So San episode,
in which the United States and Spain interdicted a North Korea
vessel ferrying SCUD missiles, only to permit the ship to sail
on when the government of Yemen claimed possession?
Can we make international non-proliferation regimes more
effective, so that a similar scenario not occur again? Is the
U.S. government considering any proposals for a new
international interdiction regime?
Do we need to make the Missile Technology Control Regime
more effective in controlling the proliferation of cruise
missiles and other unmanned aerial vehicles?
Answer. The DPRK continues actively to proliferate ballistic
missiles and related materials, equipment, and technology that pose a
continuing threat to regional security and stability and to U.S.
friends, forces, and interests. The So San episode illustrates that
proliferators are vulnerable to having their shipments interdicted at
sea by the U.S. and our allies under appropriate circumstances. It is
imporatant that we continue to work harder to exploit this
vulnerability and to work closely with other like-minded countries to
interdict North Korean missile-related shipments, where appropriate, in
addition to continuing to take other steps to impede North Korea's
The Administration attaches high importance to strengthening the
multilateral regimes and to pursuing vigorous diplomacy to dissuade
other governments from seeking WMD-related and missile technologies and
any military cooperation with rogue. For instance, the Missile
Technology Control Regime (MTCR), since its inception in 1987, has
included controls on certain unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) (including
cruise missiles) and key related technologies. UAV controls were
broadened in 1994. At the September 2002 Warsaw MTCR Plenary, the
Regime agreed to a number of changes to strengthen the MTCR Annex
(control list), particularly with regard to UAV-relevant technologies.
The MTCR continues to look for ways to strengthen controls over UAVs
and related equipment and technology.
The U.S. government is considering additional measures to stop
shipments of concern, both unilaterally and in consultation with
others. However, it is too early in our deliberations to speculate what
role international nonproliferation regimes might play.
Question 5. Please provide an update on the progress achieved by
the G-8 Global Partnership against Weapons of Mass Destruction,
including specific pledges made by participating nations and
multilateral institutions and any projects initiated to date.
(5a). Have we been pleased with the pace and scope of
commitments made by our international partners thus far? Are
our allies pledging to assist projects with real
nonproliferation impact, or are they looking for projects that
will help their own industry?
(5b). How did the G-8 Global Partnership affect the FY04
budget proposal? Did the U.S. increase its funding for certain
programs on account of the Global Partnership? Or did it allow
us to reduce our national commitments in certain sectors
because our allies are now stepping in?
(5c). The Global Partnership also called upon Russia to clear
away existing obstacles related to access and transparency. How
are the Russians doing on that score, and what are we doing to
get them to do better?
Answers. There are still problems getting the Russians to agree to
the implementing guidelines for the Global Partnership, particularly
for taxation exemptions and liability protection. Until these issues
are resolved, progress will be limited. Since the G-8 Leaders'
agreement at the Kananaskis Summit last June. Under Secretary of State
for Arms Control and International Security, John Bolton, has continued
to lead U.S. efforts to ensure the success of the initiative. For the
upcoming Evian Summit in June, G-8 efforts are focusing on securing
financial commitments; agreement on implementation guidelines;
initiation of new projects; and expansion of the Partnership to include
From indications to date, we estimate that G-7 and European Union
pledges total approximately $16 billion. The following pledges have
been made public: Canada, $1 billion Canadian; Japan, $200 million,
initially; UK, $750 million; Germany, 1.5 billion euros, and France
750M euros. In addition, the Russian Government plans to spend $2
billion. The U.S. is actively encouraging further financial commitments
from G-7 donors to reach the $20 billion goal. In addition, the G-8 is
reaching out to other potential donors to contribute to the Global
Partnership. To this end, the G-8 Senior Officials have invited
representatives of 17 countries to attend an information meeting in
Paris on April 8, directly after the Senior Officials meeting the
The G-7 have been actively engaging Russia on the initiation of
projects under the Global Partnership. Some projects have been
initiated, while others are under discussion. In some cases,
negotiation of implementing arrangements will be required. These
projects include chemical weapons destruction, nuclear general-purpose
submarine dismantlement, protection of nuclear materials and
radiological sources, and other projects.
Answer (5a). We are still waiting for several countries to make
their pledges public and would like to see more progress toward
achieving the $10 billion from the other G-7. At the same time, our
allies are focusing on chemical weapons destruction, dismantlement of
general-purpose nuclear submarines, plutonium disposition, and nuclear
safety. Benefits to industries in the contributing countries do not
appear to be major criteria.
Answer (5b). For fiscal year 2004, about $1 billion was requested
for nonproliferation and threat reduction assistance for Russia and
other Eurasian States, about the same amount as the 2003
appropriations. The FY04 budget proposal is consistent with President
Bush's pledge of $1 billion per year for 10 years toward Global
Partnership initiatives. The object of the Global Partnership was to
get others to match the already substantial commitment the U.S. has
made and continues to make.
Answer (5c). Provisions for taxation exemption and adequate
liability protections in implementation remain key outstanding
concerns. Progress has been made recently with respect to taxation. The
Russian Federation has agreed, in the context of the Multilateral
Nuclear Environmental Program in the Russian Federation (MNEPR), to
full taxation exemptions required to conclude MNEPR negotiations and
begin the implementation of assistance projects. We hope this decision
will be applied to resolve similar taxation issues in other
implementation negotiations, such as plutonium disposition. We will
continue to press Russia to address liability protections. While Russia
has generally agreed to access in principle, specific access
arrangements to sensitive sites for donors to ensure funds are being
spent f or the purpose intended continue to be difficult for a number
of G-7 members.
Question 6. In a statement submitted to the Committee, Ambassador
Karl F. Inderfurth suggested that a National Office for Preventing
Nuclear Terrorism be established in the White House. He envisions an
office with a strong Director, appointed by the President with the
advice and consent of the Senate and empowered to transfer funds and
detail personnel between agencies. A similar proposal was made recently
in a study entitled ``Controlling Nuclear Warheads and Materials,'' by
the Project on Managing the Atom in the Belfer Center for Science and
International Affairs at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of
Government, and also in the 2001 ``Baker-Cutler Report'' of the Russia
Task Force of the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board.
What would be the advantages and disadvantages of
establishing such strong, central leadership in the White
What steps have been taken to improve interagency
coordination since enactment of the Nonproliferation Assistance
Coordination Act of 2002?
Answer. The White House currently provides strong, central
leadership in this area. U.S. nonproliferation policy and assistance
programs are coordinated at senior levels with respect to both policy
and implementation through the interagency Policy Coordination
Committee (PCC) process, headed by the National Security Council. The
PCC's, along with subordinate subcommittees and working groups,
formulate effective policy solutions, and ensure their efficient
The Nonproliferation Assistance Coordination Act of 2002 focused on
nonproliferation efforts in the states of the former Soviet Union
(FSU). It called upon the President to establish a mechanism to
coordinate U.S. Government efforts in formulating policy and carrying
out programs for achieving nonproliferation and threat reduction. Such
a mechanism is in place. The National Security Council staff chairs the
Proliferation Strategy Policy Coordinating Committee, consisting of
Assistant Secretary-level representatives from State, Defense, Energy,
and other concerned agencies, including the Coordinator for U.S.
Assistance to Europe and Eurasia. This group is charged with
interagency policy coordination and oversight of nonproliferation and
threat reduction assistance programs to Russia and the other countries
of the former Soviet Union.
This Policy Coordinating Committee works to ensure that individual
assistance programs are coordinated within and across agencies, and
that they serve Administration nonproliferation and threat reduction
priorities as effectively as possible. The Committee has also been
charged to develop a strategic plan to guide near and longer term
nonproliferation and threat reduction cooperation with Russia.
Question 7. In her testimony at the Committee's hearing of March
19, Dr. Rose Gottemoeller cited the need for ``an effective
interagency'' and called attention to the success of high-level ``tiger
teams'' in the day-to-day coordination of two past HEU retrieval
operations. Dr. Gottemoeller suggested that such teams be used more
``Flexible approaches of this type should be in constant use,
making use of talented experts under high-level guidance. The
proliferation problems that we face are urgent, and need more
full-time, priority attention than the interagency leadership,
saddled with many simultaneous demands and responsibilities,
can give them.''
Dr. Gottemoeller also asserted that ``More flexibility in
management arrangements will also be important as public-private
partnerships take hold in the nonproliferation policy arena'' and
suggested that a ``public-private tiger team'' might be useful in cases
where private involvement was sought.
What are your views regarding these suggestions?
What steps are you taking to increase the effectiveness of day-to-
day interagency coordination, as opposed to the coordination achieved
on a monthly basis?
Answer. I agree that the use of flexible and focused teams is vital
to eliminate proliferation risks worldwide. The successful removal of
poorly guarded fresh HEU fuel from the Vinca Institute near Belgrade to
a more secure site in Russia in August 2002 vividly demonstrated our
capability to respond to sensitive, high-risk situations. A small team
of negotiators and experts, drawn from both the State Department and
DOE, used traditional tools of diplomacy to accomplish this secret,
secure and timely fuel transfer.
In the Vinca case, the private Nuclear Threat Initiative played a
key role in providing funding for parts of the operation. We had the
flexibility to work with the NTI in that situation and are prepared to
work with such private organizations in the future, if the situation
makes it appropriate.
I believe that day-to-day coordination in this Administration is
excellent. Through the senior-level interagency Policy Coordination
Committees (PCCs) and their subordinate subcommittees and working
groups, we sustain vibrant policy discussions that expose a maximum
number of options, formulate effective policy solutions, and ensure
their efficient implementation. This PCC process takes place on a
continuous basis, with appropriate level meetings and discussions on a
daily, weekly, and monthly basis, as required by operational and policy
Question 8. Dr. Gottemoeller also addressed the potential for
extending non-proliferation assistance to countries beyond the former
Soviet Union, making several suggestions:
``We are more likely to have to start with civilian nuclear
facilities, rather than with `more critical' military
facilities, because that is what the political traffic will
bear in target countries. We should not shy away from this
``We should take proactive steps to accelerate . . .
confidence-building among key political elites, . . . (possibly
including) establishing cooperative projects that are
beneficial to the political system as a whole, e.g. situation
and crisis centers that are useful in national emergency
response . . .
``(W)e should be willing to work with a country to improve
physical protection even of unsafeguarded nuclear facilities,
if they are subject to urgent security threats.
``(W)e will have to consider carefully how to develop the
cooperation in a way that does not undermine the NPT regime.
Nevertheless, I am confident that the legal and policy space
exists for joint projects to go forward on the physical
protection of nuclear assets in any country and at any facility
where the cooperation can be established.''
What are your views on these suggestions and observations?
Answer. Dr. Gottemoeller makes good points about extending non-
proliferation assistance beyond the former Soviet Union. We are already
engaged in such a process: through the Department of State's
Nonproliferation and Disarmament Fund, Export Control and Border
Security Assistance, and voluntary contributions to the IAEA. She is
correct that host government officials will be more ready to accept
such assistance with respect to civilian nuclear facilities, since
these facilities bear on the safety and well-being of the host
government's citizens. By contrast, nonproliferation assistance to
``more critical'' military facilities will be difficult. These
facilities are inevitably a sensitive national security issue that
touches on deeply embedded concepts of sovereignty.
We endorse confidence-building among political elites through
cooperative projects. One example of such projects has been the removal
of highly enriched uranium from Vinca in Serbia for safe storage in
Russia, in which Russian, Serbian, U.S. and NGO officials worked
together to make this quantity of fissile material more secure. Another
example of cooperative projects has been conferences that my Bureau
sponsored in Warsaw, Tashkent, and Bangkok this past year for
officials, from many nations, responsible for export controls and
As for setting up situation and crisis centers, these would likely
demand a level of sustained funding and qualified staffing that might
not be feasible for many countries. Thus, I would expect that tense
situations and crises will continue to be addressed mostly through
traditional contacts and diplomacy, which include the foreign policy
and military facilities that already exist in national governments.
With respect to the possibility of enhancing physical protection of
nuclear facilities, we are of course very concerned about the theft or
diversion of nuclear material. Clearly, dealing with countries that
have unsafeguarded nuclear facilities raises issues related to the
Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Even in these cases, however, there
are activities that could be undertaken to enhance physical security
without undermining nonproliferation norms. In all cases, we carefully
review the country's need for enhanced physical protection of nuclear
material. Our response to a country's request for assistance takes into
account a wide range of factors, including our NPT obligation not to
assist in any way a non-nuclear-weapon state in the manufacture or
acquisition of nuclear weapons.
Question 9. What steps have been taken to elaborate the National
Strategy and produce the sort of detailed plan that these experts
Answer. U.S. agencies are actively implementing the President's
National Strategy to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction under NSC
leadership. They oversee implementation of existing nonproliferation
assistance programs and develop longer-term strategies for the overall
effort. For example, the President recently submitted to the Congress a
long-term plan for all U.S. nuclear-related nonproliferation assistance
to Russia and other former Soviet states.
Particular care is given to ensuring that take a coordinated
approach. To this end, the formed task oriented coordinating
committees. coordinates DOD and DOE warhead security proj example.
Others are charged with developing implement a strategy for USG border
security to implement a new bio-security strategy for Eurasia. With
NSC's concurrence, NP Bureau staff chair inter-agency committees which
coordinate border security enhancement programs and our efforts to
engage former Soviet chemical and bio-weapon scientists. These efforts
build on the Administration's earlier review of nonproliferation and
threat reduction programs in Russia and the New Independent States.
Question 10. In her testimony, Dr. Smithson recommended additional
investments in security to lower the risks of insider theft and to
harden Russian chemical weapons (CW) storage areas against outside
attack. What is the Administration doing in this regard, and how is
that reflected in the FY 2004 budget?
Answer. The Department of Defense is already implementing
Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) projects to provide comprehensive
security upgrades at CW storage facilities at Shchuch'ye and Kizner.
These facilities contain modern, nerve agent-filled munitions which are
in excellent, ready-to-use condition; small and easily transportable;
and easily mated to Soviet-era delivery systems found throughout the
world--both short-range missiles and artillery. This project will be
completed during CY 2003 at a cost of approximately $20 million in
prior year CTR funds. We are also arranging for members of the guard
force at these facilities to undergo training at the Ministry of
Defense Security and Assessment Training Center (established with CTR
assistance) in Sergiev Posad to enhance their effectiveness in
safeguarding weapons of mass destruction.
The three additional nerve agent storage sites (i.e., Pochep,
Maradykovsky, and Leonidovka) contain heavy, bulky, and difficult to
move aerial bombs and spray tanks that make them unattractive targets
for would-be proliferators. We believe this factor combined with
existing physical security measures makes it unnecessary to consider
security enhancements at these sites. However, we are prepared to brief
the Russian Munitions Agency (RMA) on the personnel reliability program
that DOD has helped the Ministry of Defense establish for individuals
who have access to nuclear weapons.
The remaining CW storage facilities at Kambarka and Gorny house
blister agents in bulk containers and are thus are not perceived as
likely targets for proliferators that warrant undertaking projects to
enhance their security.
The FY 2004 CTR budget request does not include any funds for
enhancing the security of CW storage facilities since current projects
are already funded with prior year funds, and no future such security
projects are envisioned.
Question 11. Dr. Smithson suggested increasing U.S. funds for
projects that will strengthen security at chemical weapons (CW) storage
sites, enhance safety and security at biological institutes, and enable
dismantlement of specialized infrastructure at both chemical and
biological institutes. She also recommended increased staff to manage
the implementation of these programs. What is the Administration doing
in this regard, and how is that reflected in the FY 2004 budget?
Answer. As indicated in the answer above, DOD already is conducting
CTR projects to enhance the security of Russian CW storage facilities
containing the CW nerve agent munitions that are the most likely to be
In support of the Global War on Terrorism, DOD has significantly
expanded its CTR efforts in the former Soviet Union (FSU) to enhance
safety and security of dangerous pathogen collections at biological
institutes and to dismantle biological warfare infrastructure.
In Russia, DOD is completing CTR safety and security enhancement
projects at two biological research institutes, initiating projects at
two additional sites and preparing to do so at a third site. DOD also
is implementing CTR biosafety and biosecurity projects at two bio
institutes in Kazakhstan and three in Uzbekistan. Additionally, DOD
plans to undertake similar projects at biological? Institutes in
Georgia and Ukraine once Biological Threat Reduction implementing
agreements with those states are signed, in the case of Ukraine, and
come into force. DOD has requested $13 million for biosafety and
biosecurity assistance activities in its CTR budget request for FY
DOD also is continuing its EW infrastructure dismantlement efforts.
DOD is dismantling infrastructure at the Vector facility in Novosibirsk
and looking forward to additional efforts in Russia. In Kazakhstan, CTR
is completing a project to eliminate the anthrax production facility at
Stepnogorsk. In Uzbekistan, CTR has completed a project to destroy
residual pathogens at the former Soviet BW testing facility on
Vozrozhdeniya Island. DOD is working with Uzbekistan to determine
whether to proceed with additional infrastructure dismantlement work at
Vozrozdeniya. DOD has requested $9.0 million for BW dismantlement
activities in its CTR budget request for FY 2004.
Regarding CW production facilities, CTR continues to assist Russia
with dismantling and demilitarizing the former nerve agent production
facilities at Volgograd and Novocheboksarsk. Also, DOD completed a
project to dismantle the former Soviet CW research facility at Nukus,
Uzbekistan in FY 2002 and is prepared to undertake a CTR project to
demilitarize the former Soviet CW production facility at Pavlodar,
Kazakhstan once the Government of Kazakhstan declares the facility
pursuant to the Chemical Weapons Convention. DOD has requested $10
million in the FY 2004 CTR budget request for continued CW production
facility dismantlement work in Russia and is prepared to obligate $3.5
million in prior-year CTR funds to demilitarize the former CW
production facility at Pavlodar.
Question 12. Dr. Smithson made some recommendations regarding the
administration of ISTC and related programs:
``Since the launch of new research grants can take over two
years, the ISTC should enact reforms to lessen the time needed
to kickoff new projects, including shorter deadlines for
proposal review by the host and funding governments, the
formation of expert advisory committees to pre-screen grant
proposals prior to ISTC processing, and the modification of
policy regarding work plan approval. Finally, Washington still
needs to improve the overall architecture for brain drain
programming, at the least identifying benchmarks that will
enable progress to be measured.''
What is your view of Dr. Smithson's critique regarding the
lack of benchmarks?
What is your view of the administrative suggestions
regarding the ISTC program?
Answer. Countries that are parties to the International Science and
Technology Center (ISTC) Agreement have recognized for some time that
new benchmarks are needed as the Center undergoes the transition from
the initial phase of engaging the maximum numbers of former WND
scientists and institutes in non-WMD research to the next phase of
permanent, sustainable redirection of these scientists and institutes
through civilian technology commercialization. For this reason, the
parties funded a study by the IC2 Institute of the University of Texas
at Austin with international participation during 2002 to help develop
metrics towards this goal. The parties currently are discussing
refinement of these results and plan to collect additional statistics,
with a view toward developing benchmarks for measuring progress in
``graduating'' scientists and institutes from sole reliance on research
grants through the ISTC to helping them develop the capacity to compete
independently in the international scientific research arena, to
protect and market technology developed from their research, and to
acquire skills in business management and commercialization. Within the
past three months, the parties, with strong leadership from the United
States, have also implemented a major reorganization of ISTC staff
responsibilities and functions to aid in this transition.
Regarding Ms. Smithson's administrative suggestions, the ISTC has
made some changes to streamline procedures for reviewing and initiating
research projects over the past year. These changes include: shortening
the project concurrence period for member states to 45 days; providing
the ISTC Secretariat with greater authority to pre-screen research
proposals before submitting them to funding members; instituting a
simplified ranking system for use by the ISTC's Scientific Advisory
Committee to aid funding countries' evaluations of project proposals;
and requiring that project authors identify required collaborators
prior to funding. These procedural changes have substantially reduced
processing, review and project start-up times. At the same time,
however, we acknowledge that further improvement is possible and plan
to examine further ways of speeding up review and funding of projects,
in coordination with other funding countries.
Question 13. What are your views on the likelihood that voluntary
action of individual states would avoid the ``uneven patchwork''
problem that Dr. Smithson foresees?
What are your views on the feasibility of developing ``common
minimum standards that include penalties for infractions of biosafety,
biosecurity, and genetic research oversight regulations?'' What is the
Administration doing to foster such standards, either universally or
among like-minded states?
Answer. We do not share Dr. Smithson's analysis as it relates to
the BWC work program. The biological weapons threat is most effectively
addressed using approaches that are outside the realm of traditional
arms control. That said, the BWC forum can play a useful role in the
global effort to combat biological weapons. We believe the BWC forum
should be used to encourage and take note of activities in other fora
that help strengthen efforts to combat the biological weapons threat.
The BWC forum can also promote the enactment of national measures to
combat the biological weapons threat such as domestic implementing
measures and biosecurity standards, the two topics for the 2003 Experts
Group and Annual meetings.
We believe the decisions of the Fifth Review Conference set forth a
well-focused and realistic agenda through 2006. Through established
channels, we are encouraging states to review their national efforts
and come to the 2003 meetings prepared to discuss domestic
implementation in each area and improvements they are undertaking along
with a notional timeline for implementation. We intend to provide
papers outlining our national implementation measures and measures to
enhance biosecurity. NP's Dangerous Materials Initiative aims to
compliment this effort. Using the NDF, we will work with a variety of
countries to improve regulatory practices and controls for pathogens.
Furthermore, the United States is following closely the World
Health Organization's development of biosecurity standards through its
Global Health Security Initiative. The United States is engaged with
the WHO to find out how the WHO's plans in the area of security and of
dangerous pathogens and toxins might fit in with the biosecurity agenda
topic for the 2003 Experts Group and Annual meetings. We continue to
review the work done by dependable Inter-Governmental Organizations
and, where we believe it useful, would seek to have countries use it as
Responses of Richard J.K. Stratford, Director, Nuclear Energy Affairs,
Bureau of Nonproliferation, Department of State, to Additional
Questions for the Record Submitted by Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr.
Question 1. Mr. Stratford provided the Committee with a very
informative set of questions and answers regarding the Joint
Convention. This document states that the Joint Convention ``contains
provisions to ensure that national security is not compromised and that
States have absolute discretion as to what information is reported on
material from military sources.'' The document goes on to state that
the Joint Convention ``will not . . . affect ongoing U.S. military
operations in any way, nor will classified information be covered in
the U.S. National Report.''
Were these questions and answers interagency-approved?
Are the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy
confident that the Joint Convention poses no threat to
sensitive U.S. information or activities?
Yes. The Department of Energy, the Nuclear Regulatory
Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency participated
in the drafting of the questions and answers, and interagency
approval of the final version was obtained through the U.S.
Office of Management and Budget.
Yes. The Joint Convention poses no threat to sensitive U.S.
information or activities. The United States will provide
information in the national report that is already publicly
available. The Joint Convention does not apply to military or
defense programs, with the exception of spent fuel and
radioactive waste permanently transferred to civilian programs.
Question 2. Recently, the Government of Iran indicated that it
intends to develop an indigenous capability to manufacture nuclear
reactor fuel and to reprocess spent fuel. While Iran has not signed the
Joint Convention, there is nothing to prevent it from doing so. What is
the risk that a country could use technical advice and assistance,
including nuclear safety advice, to develop capabilities that were
actually intended to contribute to a nuclear weapons program--even
though the country might operate under IAEA safeguards until the
decision was made to commence the production of fissile material for
How will the administration minimize the risk that advice
given under the Joint Convention will be used by other
countries to develop a ``full fuel cycle'' that is really
intended as part of a nuclear weapons program?
Are there steps that the international community should take
to guard against such misuse of peaceful nuclear assistance? If
so, are there recommendations in this regard that the Senate
could usefully make in a resolution of ratification of the
Answer. The Joint Convention does not involve advice or cooperation
in sensitive areas of the nuclear fuel cycle. The type of information
that will be considered by the Contracting Parties to the Joint
Convention is not associated with nuclear weapons development. Indeed,
the information being presented in the U.S. National Report is publicly
accessible from U.S. government and other public sites. No internal or
security-related information is being included in the U.S. National
Report being prepared by the U.S. Department of Energy, with the
assistance and cooperation of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the
Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of State. In
addition, any comments the United States might have on other country's
submissions would be limited to nonsensitive information. We believe
that one of the benefits of the Joint Convention is that it operates on
the basis of transparency as it makes information on other country's
waste activities widely known. We see no need for the Senate to take
further action in this regard in the resolution of ratification.
Question 3. Under the Joint Convention, country reports will be
reviewed by sub-groups--and the United States will receive only the
reports of countries in its sub-group, unless it asks for others as
well. Will the United States ask for all reports?
Is there any reason why the Senate should not require this?
Answer. The United States will request copies of all national
reports prepared for the review meeting under the Joint Convention.
The United States has the right to request this information under
the Joint Convention, and it intends to ask for this information. We do
not believe that this should be a requirement in the resolution of
Question 4. In its resolution of ratification for the Convention on
Nuclear Safety, the Senate required that the United States formally
comment on every report from a country that is a recipient of U.S.
nuclear safety assistance. Under that convention--and also under the
Joint Convention--such a formal comment is needed if the United States
wants to attend the sub-group discussion of that report and the country
is not a member of the same sub-group as the United States. Has the
United States benefited from commenting on such reports in the
Convention on Nuclear Safety?
Is there any reason why the Senate should not require this
approach to the Joint Convention as well?
Answer. Yes. We used the CNS process to identify key goals and
objectives for the safety and regulatory programs in States of the
former Soviet Union, such as Russia and Ukraine. The goals and
objectives will provide targets for assistance programs to these
countries. We also used the process to determine that additional
progress can be made in nuclear regulatory oversight programs of Russia
and the Ukraine, and identified in the nuclear regulatory programs of
China, Armenia, and Pakistan, as warranting further attention.
We intend to ensure that the United States takes advantage
of the availability of information and the opportunity to
provide comments as appropriate. We do not believe that this
should be a requirement in the resolution of ratification.
Question 5. The Department of State indicates, in its questions and
answers document, that the Department of Energy will absorb the
$200,000 cost of preparing the U.S. report every few years and that the
Department of State will absorb the cost of sending a 6-person
delegation to meetings under the Convention. If we require the
Executive branch to read and comment on all country reports, or at
least on all reports from countries that receive U.S. nuclear safety
assistance, will the cost of preparing for and attending meetings go up
Will additional funds be needed for this, or will you still
be able to handle those costs under current budget allocations?
Answer. There will be additional preparation cost associated with
reviewing all national reports. We estimate the cost at $6,000 per
additional report. We do not anticipate any additional costs for
attending the meetings, since we are planning to have coverage for all
the review sub-groups.
We will strive to keep costs at a minimum and within the
current budget allocation.
Question 6. Article 41 of the Joint Convention (on Amendments to
the Convention) allows a meeting of the Contracting Parties to adopt an
amendment by consensus, or to refer it to a Diplomatic Conference by a
two-thirds vote of those present and voting.
When the Senate considered an identical provision in the Convention
on Nuclear Safety, it required that the United States cast a vote on
each proposed amendment, and submit each approved amendment to the
Senate for its advice and consent to ratification. This was done to
avoid a situation in which the Executive branch could refrain from
voting on an amendment that it knew the Senate would oppose, or refrain
from submitting it to the Senate, and still have it enter into effect
for most of the Contracting Parties. Do you see any serious problem
with our enacting similar language in the resolution on the Joint
Under what circumstances might the United States not want to
vote on a proposed amendment?
Do you interpret the resolution of ratification for the
Convention on Nuclear Safety as preventing the United States
from allowing an amendment to be approved by consensus? If so,
is that the Administration's concern?
Under what circumstances might the President not want to
submit an approved amendment to the Senate for its advice and
consent to ratification?
How would the Executive Branch handle a situation in which
most of the Contracting Parties supported an amendment, but the
United States did not? In that situation, why not submit it to
the Senate with a recommendation to reject it?
Answers. It is important to remember that the United States will
not be bound by any amendment unless the United States affirmatively
accepts the amendment with the advice and consent of the Senate.
Moreover, the single vote of the United States is unlikely to be the
sole determinant of whether an amendment is adopted at a Diplomatic
Conference by a two-thirds vote, nor would it prevent an amendment that
has been adopted and ratified by two-thirds of the Contracting Parties
to the Convention from entering into force for those Contracting
Parties. The U.S. representative's affirmative or negative vote on an
amendment and any subsequent Senate action on that amendment cannot
prevent an amendment to the Convention on Nuclear Safety from entering
into force for those Contracting Parties that have ratified the
amendment, if two-thirds of the Contracting Parties have done so. The
condition of the Senate's resolution of advice and consent to the
Convention on Nuclear Safety therefore does not achieve the purpose
stated here. Likewise, the inclusion of a similar condition in the
resolution on the Joint Convention would not achieve the stated goal.
By requiring that the United States cast an affirmative or negative
vote on a proposed amendment, the Senate's condition also forecloses
the United States from abstaining or absenting itself from a vote; both
actions are sometimes useful diplomatic tools.
Hypothetically, an abstention would be useful in a situation
in which the United States does not have a compelling interest
in the proposed amendment one way or the other, but its vote
would needlessly antagonize the faction against which the
United States would be forced to vote--and when the United
States might want the support of that faction for or against a
more important provision.
We would consider associating the United States with a
consensus action as equivalent to an affirmative vote. At a
Diplomatic Conference, however, it is sometimes desirable to be
able to abstain or deliberately be absent from a vote.
The President might not want to submit an approved amendment
to the Senate for advice and consent if the United States had
opposed its adoption or if the final version of the amendment
were considered inimical to United States interests.
The Joint convention sets a very high standard--a two-thirds
majority vote--for the adoption of amendments. In the unlikely
case that an adopted amendment that the United States opposes
enters into force for other Contracting Parties, the United
States would not be bound by that amendment without its
consent. We are unaware of a precedent for submitting a treaty
that the President opposes to the Senate for rejection. The
President has plenary authority not to ratify an amendment he
Question 7. The Committee understands that the Nuclear Energy
Institute strongly recommends the expeditious ratification of the Joint
Convention. Have any other industry groups endorsed ratification? Have
any firms or groups warned that they will suffer in some way if this
Convention is ratified and implemented?
Answer. Apart from the Nuclear Energy Institute's (NEI) support for
ratification (on behalf of the nuclear energy industry), we are not
aware of any other firms or groups taking a position on this issue.
None have warned that they will suffer in some way if the Convention is
ratified and implemented.
Responses of Hon. John S. Wolf, Assistant Secretary of State for
Nonproliferation, to Additional Questions for the Record Submitted by
Senator Russell D. Feingold
Question 1. During the debate surrounding Iraq, much was made of a
report that Iraq had approached Niger about obtaining uranium. It now
appears that this report was not valid, but it did raise an interesting
set of questions. What does the U.S. Government currently do to help
states with uranium reserves maintain appropriate control over that
resource, and to ensure that such states have some incentive to act
responsibly? What kind of engagement do we have with uranium-producers
in Africa regarding proliferation issues?
Answer. The U.S. Government seeks through multiple ways to ensure
that the uranium supply chain is protected against efforts to procure
uranium as a source of material for weapons use. For example, the
United States frequently consults with other governments to encourage
them to investigate any information we receive that countries of
proliferation concern are attempting to procure materials or technology
relevant to a nuclear weapon program, whether it is African-origin
uranium or other technologies.
Multilaterally, the United States works very closely to ensure that
IAEA safeguards are applied effectively around the world. A key element
of that is that states have in place an effective state system of
accounting and control for nuclear material. One way we help is by
holding a training course for IAEA member states on such state systems.
The course is held every other year at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
A representative from Niger attended the last course in 2001.
The United States uses every opportunity to urge NPT parties to
fulfill their NPT obligation to conclude comprehensive safeguards
agreements with the IAEA. Such agreements, inter alia, require reports
on the export to nonnuclear-weapon states of any material containing
uranium intended for any nuclear purpose. Niger's agreement was
approved last year, although it has not yet been brought into force.
Additionally, the United States, along with the IAEA and other like-
minded countries, strongly encourages member states to conclude
Additional Protocols with the IAEA. Among other things, Additional
Protocols require declarations on uranium mining operations. Besides
directly urging countries to negotiate Additional Protocols, we have
also supported international conferences on that topic, including one
in Africa last year.
Bilaterally the United States met with senior officials of Niger
last month to reinforce the importance of Niger signing and
implementing its IAEA safeguards agreement and the Additional Protocol,
as well as taking any additional steps needed to ensure the security of
the uranium supply chain.
Officials of Niger reassured us that they recognize the importance
of this issue and are taking active steps to ensure the security of the
uranium supply chain. The United States also met with senior government
officials from Benin to urge similar steps, and received high level
assurances that Benin, too, will work to ensure the security of the
uranium supply chain. We will continue to work actively with both Niger
and Benin, and other friendly, western countries, to ensure the
security of the uranium supply chain in Africa.
Question 2. What steps are you taking to ensure that international
community development activities in Russia and the Former Soviet Union
complement the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program and focus on the
so-called ``strategic cities?'' As you may know, there are a number of
sister city programs, including two in Wisconsin, that have developed
community-to-community relationships with strategic cities in Russia.
These groups have valuable experience in and good working relationships
with these communities. Please tell me how the Administration can
support the work that these groups are doing and can help them to build
on their comprehensive, community-based approach.
Answer. State Department coordination with international community
development activities helps to ensure those activities complement the
Cooperative Threat Reduction program focus on ``strategic cities'' in
Russia and the former Soviet Union. This year, the State Department
plans to provide $164,000 in combined FREEDOM Support Act (FSA) and
Support for East European Democracy (SEED) funding to Sister Cities
International (SCI) to develop community-to-community linkages across
Eurasia. The Office of the Coordinator of U.S. Assistance to Europe and
Eurasia will encourage SCI to pay special attention to community-to-
community relationships with strategic cities in Russia as SCI develops
its plans for assistance funding. State Department representatives have
been and will continue to be in touch with groups like the Wisconsin
Sister Cities Project.
The State Department also supports government/nongovernmental
coordination of cooperative projects with strategic cities through
other channels. For example, Embassy Moscow's Regional Initiative
Program supports a U.S. coordinator in the closed nuclear city of
Tomsk. The U.S. coordinator works closely with Tomsk Governor Kress and
other reform-minded local officials to improve living conditions and
the economic/democratic climate of the area. USAID supports financial
institutions that have disbursed approximately $3M to hundreds of
small- and medium-sized enterprises in the Tomsk area. Another example
of this coordination is the success of the Department of Energy's
Nuclear Cities Initiative (NCI) in publicizing the Library of Congress'
Open World Program, State Department International Visitors' Program,
the Regional Initiatives Program, USAID's health programs, and the
Commerce Department's Special American Business Internship Training
(SABIT) program within the nuclear closed cities where they operate.
Although NCI is no longer connected with these programs, the
International Development Centers in the closed cities continue to
support these outreach programs and exchanges through a series of
outside grants they have received.