This week, U.S. Senator Dick Lugar (R-IN) commended the vital role of scientific collaboration in meeting United States security and economic challenges, and urged continued efforts to safeguard not only weapons and materials of mass destruction, but also the scientific expertise required to build them.
In an article in the journal Science & Diplomacy, Lugar recounted experiences related to the Nunn-Lugar program, which has been used to safeguard and deactivate more than 7,600 nuclear warheads in the former Soviet Union, since its collapse.
"This proliferation threat resided not just in the military, but also in the scientific establishment, Lugar wrote. "A vast cadre of scientists and engineers who had spent much of their careers supporting the Soviet weapons program faced the prospect of not being paid. One of the founding principles of the Nunn-Lugar program was that scientific engagement would create a powerful disincentive to proliferate the knowledge that these men and women possessed."
Lugar described the successful multi-lateral effort to redirect the work of tens of thousands of scientists who had been engaged in research and development related to weapons of mass destruction.
The article also describes work of the Nunn-Lugar Global program to help prevent terrorists and other dangerous actors from obtaining deadly biological materials held in rudimentary facilities throughout the world. In 2010, Lugar led a mission to Africa to upgrade security measures at poorly-protected biological laboratories, which housed deadly pathogens.