A summary of the progress of the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction programs for 2009 has been released by U.S. Sen. Dick Lugar.
To date, Nunn-Lugar has made substantial progress in combating the global risk of biological weapons, neutralizing chemical weapons, containing the nuclear threat and preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
“Malefactors in the world want to use weapons of mass destruction to terrorize American citizens, harm our soldiers deployed around the world, and attack our partner countries," Lugar said. "Proliferation of WMD remains the number one national security threat facing the United States and the international community. In 2009, the Nunn-Lugar program continued to make us safer by achieving meaningful progress in the destruction and dismantlement of massive Soviet weapons systems and the facilities that developed them. There is much more work to do in combating biological, nuclear, and chemical threats through Nunn-Lugar cooperative threat reduction and the global expansion of the Nunn-Lugar program.”
According to the 2009 Nunn-Lugar Report Card, three biological stations - making a program total of 19 - were built in 2009 to act as the front-line of defense in biological pathogen research and monitoring.
Additionally, construction began on two Central Reference Laboratories in Georgia and Azerbaijan, which will provide consolidated, safe and secure storage for pathogens and highly infectious disease strains inherited from the former Soviet Union.
The CRLs will also house near real-time detection and reporting of a bio-terrorist attack, allowing for an effective and timely response.
Lugar is also expected to announce this week that the Nunn-Lugar program will expand beyond the former Soviet Union and act as a Nunn-Lugar Global Security Cooperation to meet unexpected threats worldwide.
“We hope for and anticipate constructive movement in arms control on the world’s biggest stages," Lugar said. "But we should be cautious in our estimates of the influence of U.S. arsenal cuts on the behavior of smaller nuclear powers and aspirants. I believe that our success in encouraging others to abandon weapons or limit their expansion will depend much more on the hard work of expanding arms control and non-proliferation tools and addressing regional circumstances that influence the choices of governments related to weapons of mass destruction.”