Obama pledges support to CTR program

President Barack Obama recently said that the United States will continue to invest in programs to counter the proliferation of materials that can be used in the production of weapons of mass production despite major projected declines in defense spending.

During a speech at the National Defense University, Obama said more should be done to secure nuclear, chemical and biological material throughout the world, according to DefenseNews.com.

The president, U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and other top U.S. State Department and Department of Defense officials pushed their support of the Pentagon's Cooperative Threat Reduction during the NDU event.

"Even as we make some very tough fiscal choices, we're going to keep investing in these programs because our national security depends on it," Obama said, DefenseNews.comreports.

The officials indicated that they hope to expand the CTR program, which was initially started two decades ago by Senator Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) and now retired Senator Sam Nunn (D-Ga.). Current planning calls for a major regional shift in focus from the former Soviet Union to Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

"We are putting together a greater emphasis on sustainability and stewardship even as we re-focus the CTR program to take on a wider range of biological threats," Madelyn Creedon, the assistant secretary of defense for global strategic affairs, said, DefenseNews.com reports.

Creedon said the CTR program has already enlisted the support of 24 countries and has received pledges of $10 million for its efforts over the next decade.