Issue Position: Arms Control

Issue Position

By:  Adam Schiff
Location: 

"Since coming to Congress in 2001, I have been concerned by the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, particularly nuclear weapons, and the possibility that nuclear material could fall into the hands of a stateless terrorist organization. I consider the spread of nuclear weapons to be the most urgent national security issue facing our nation today." - Rep. Adam Schiff

Topics in This Section

* Expanding Non-Proliferation Effort

* Fighting the Spread Small Arms

Halting the Spread of Weapons of Mass Destruction

Throughout his tenure in Congress, Schiff has made nonproliferation a centerpiece of his efforts to improve our nation's security. Nuclear nonproliferation has been identified as the single most serious threat to our national security by leaders of both political parties. The threat is heightened by Osama bin Laden's stated desire to use a nuclear weapon against the United States and by the nuclear weapons programs of Iran and North Korea.

Schiff has worked to accelerate the securing of nuclear material around the world, but especially in the former Soviet Union. The State Department has identified twenty-four "high priority" sites where such material is known to be at risk of being stolen and used in a terrorist plot. However, the State Department does not have a strategy for reducing this risk by removing these materials quickly and if the current pace is maintained, these high priority sites will not be secured until 2017. This is unacceptable.

In the 109th Congress (2005-2006), Schiff introduced the Omnibus Nonproliferation and Anti-Nuclear Terrorism Act which would have strengthened nonproliferation programs across the government. It included the establishment of a nonproliferation "czar" to oversee all U.S. nonproliferation initiatives and advise the President on these issues, and put new life into efforts like the Global Threat Reduction Initiative and the Proliferation Security Initiative, to halt the theft and trafficking in weapons of mass destruction. Many of the elements of Schiff's bill were included in H.R. 1 in the 110th Congress.

In the new Congress, Schiff has introduced two bills to make our nation safer from nuclear terrorism. The Ending Nuclear Trafficking Act would take the first steps towards making trafficking in nuclear materials a crime against humanity and would strengthen U.S. laws against nuclear trafficking as well. By making such trafficking unacceptable in the eyes of every country, we can fight this threat at its root. The Nuclear Forensics and Attribution Act would strengthen our ability to identify the origin of nuclear material so that we can trace those who smuggle these materials and determine the source of a nuclear terrorist attack. With this ability, we could deter rogue nations from passing on weapons and material to terrorist groups, because they would be inextricably linked to the crime.

Fighting the Spread of Small Arms

Congressman Schiff authored a provision of the 2008 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill which supported a program that destroys and disables existing small arms and light weapons. Small arms result in the deaths of over 300,000 people a year worldwide, primarily civilians. By destroying these weapons, Congressman Schiff believes we will keep them out of the hands of terrorists, criminals, and human rights abusing governments. Already, the program has destroyed or rendedered inoperable more than 800.000 weapons, 80 million rounds of ammunition, and 17,000 man-portable air defense systems -- portable ground to air missiles. This program will protect human rights and American security interests.