Hersman offers overview of defense programs to House Armed Services Committee

Assistant Secretary of Defense for Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Rebecca Hersman addressed the House Armed Services Committee on Tuesday to provide an overview of the Defense Authorization Request.

Hersman said counter WMD efforts are focused on being able to prepare for and address future challenges that might emerge and escalate quickly. The Nuclear Security Summit and Proliferation Security Initiative are two programs developed to build international relationships and encourage collaboration in countering WMDs.

The Summit brings representatives from across the globe together to prevent nuclear terrorism. The goals of the summit are broad so international organizations and countries can achieve a common understanding of nuclear terrorism threats.

Hersman said the Department of Defense has participated in seven exercises since the 2012 summit to increase capability in preparedness, response, recovery and resilience to nuclear threats.

She said the DoD will build partnerships with other U.S. government departments and agencies, and offer support to critical international organizations to help ensure a robust and comprehensive global nuclear security system is intact.

Hersman said the Proliferation Security Initiative focuses on prevention, detection and intervention to ensure sustained involvement in countering WMDs. The program has proved invaluable in preventing and stopping illicit shipments.

The program is an important piece in enhancing global security and is an example of how a holistic approach by the government and collaborating with the international community can create meaningful progress.

Hersman said threats of weapons of mass destruction impact more than simply one country or location, and the government should be vigilant in efforts to prevent the proliferation of weapons.

Hersman provided a similar update to the Senate Armed Services Committee on April 1.