The President has made clear repeatedly that his Administration is committed to strong, effective cooperation with Russia and the other states of the Former Soviet Union to reduce weapons of mass destruction and prevent their proliferation. To ensure that the promise of those programs is fully realized, the Administration has undertaken, in consultation with the Congress, a detailed review of U.S. nonproliferation and threat reduction assistance to the Russian Federation.
The review examined over 30 different programs, with a combined budget in Fiscal Year 2001 of approximately $750 million. The aims of the review were threefold:
- To ensure that existing U.S. cooperative nonproliferation programs with Russia are focused on priority threat reduction and nonproliferation goals, and are conducted as efficiently and effectively as possible.
- To examine what new initiatives might be undertaken to further our threat reduction and nonproliferation goals.
- To consider organizational and procedural changes designed to ensure a consistent, coordinated U.S. government approach to cooperative programs with the Former Soviet Union on the reduction of weapons of mass destruction and prevention of their proliferation. The review is now complete. It found that most U.S. programs to assist Russia in threat reduction and nonproliferation work well, are focused on priority tasks, and are well managed.
The review further identified four programs for expansion:
- The Department of Energy Material Protection, Control and Accounting (MPC&A) program to help Russia secure and consolidate weapons-grade nuclear material;
- The Department of Energy Warhead and Fissile Material Transparency program;
- The International Science and Technology Center (ISTC); and
- The Redirection of Biotechnical Scientists program.
The Department of Defense will seek to accelerate the Cooperative Threat Reduction project to construct a chemical weapons destruction facility at Shchuch'ye (Russia), to enable its earlier completion at no increased expense. We welcome the contributions that friends and allies have made to this project thus far, and will work for their enhancement.
As a result of the review, other programs are being adjusted, refocused or reexamined:
- The Department of State and Department of Energy are examining alternative approaches to the current Plutonium Disposition program in Russia, with the aim of making the program less costly and more effective. The Administration remains committed to the agreement with Russia to dispose of excess plutonium.
- The project to end Russian production of weapons-grade plutonium will be transferred from the Department of Defense to the Department of Energy. The Department of Energy Nuclear Cities Initiative (NCI) will be consolidated with the Initiatives for Proliferation Prevention (IPP) and restructured to focus more effectively on projects to help Russia reduce its nuclear warhead complex.
- The Department of Energy's Second Line of Defense Program has been merged with the MPC&A program, to help accelerate cooperation with Russia to install nuclear detection equipment at border posts. On December 11, 2001, at the Citadel, the President said:
"Together, we must keep the world's most dangerous technologies out of the hands of the world's most dangerous people. A crucial partner in this effort is Russia -- a nation we are helping to dismantle strategic weapons, reduce nuclear material, and increase security at nuclear sites. Our two countries will expand efforts to provide peaceful employment for scientists who formerly worked in Soviet weapons facilities. The United States will also work with Russia to build a facility to destroy tons of nerve agent. I'll request an over-all increase in funding to support this vital mission."
The decisions from the Administration review will be implemented vigorously, in accordance with the President's clear direction.