Republican Leader of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Richard G. Lugar today embarks on a weeklong trip to bolster the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction program. Accompanied by Senior Defense Department and Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) officials, Lugar will visit Moscow, Russia; Kiev, Ukraine; and Tbilisi, Georgia.
In addition to official, high-level meetings in each capital, Lugar will also make visits to the Missile Elimination and Dismantlement Facility (MEDF) in Surovatikha, Russia, where Nunn-Lugar has worked to eliminate Russian strategic missiles. In Ukraine, Lugar will visit the Pavlograd Chemical Plant where Nunn-Lugar is working with Ukraine to eliminate Soviet SS-24 strategic missile motors. While in Tbilisi, Lugar will make a visit to the Nunn-Lugar Central and Public Health Reference Laboratory (CPHRL), which the Government of Georgia will be renaming in Senator Lugar's honor.
In Moscow, Lugar will discuss with Russian officials prospects for extending the Nunn-Lugar Umbrella Agreement with Moscow -- vital to continuing elimination of weapons of mass destruction in Russia. The current agreement (from 2006 and ratified by the Russian Duma in 2008) expires in 2013.
The Nunn-Lugar program performs its strategic missile elimination and dismantlement activities in Russia under the U.S.-Russia Cooperative Threat Reduction Umbrella Agreement and the Strategic Offensive Arms Elimination (SOAE) Implementing Agreement.
"My visit comes at a time of considerable stress in our bilateral relationship with Russia, great challenges in Ukraine and tremendous opportunity in Georgia. The constant basis for cooperation against existential threats in all three nations has been the Nunn-Lugar program, which has endured despite great differences and dramatic changes," Lugar said. "Renewing the umbrella agreement with Russia is important to continuing the WMD destruction that is in both of our national interests. The Nunn-Lugar program is also a critical element of our military-to-military and security cooperation with Russia, the Ukraine and Georgia as we face global security challenges."
The Nunn-Lugar program has destroyed more than 500 Russian strategic nuclear missiles at Surovatikha. Without the Nunn-Lugar Program, Ukraine would be a nuclear weapon state. Lugar's visit to the Pavlograd Chemical Plant will be to ensure that the final Soviet rocket motors that remain in Ukraine are eliminated and urge continuation of biological threat reduction implementation there. In Georgia, Lugar will review how the United States Army is partnering with Georgia and complementing existing Army public health laboratories in Thailand and Kenya.
Lugar has performed oversight each year on Nunn-Lugar sites around the world. In 2010 he led a mission to East Africa to expand efforts to secure deadly biological threats. Lugar continues to work closely with the Department of Defense on opening the program elsewhere.
The Nunn-Lugar scorecard now totals 7,659 strategic nuclear warheads deactivated, 902 intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) destroyed, 498 ICBM silos eliminated, 191 ICBM mobile launchers destroyed, 155 bombers eliminated, 906 nuclear air-to-surface missiles (ASMs) destroyed, 492 SLBM launchers eliminated, 684 submarine launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) eliminated, 33 nuclear submarines capable of launching ballistic missiles destroyed, 194 nuclear test tunnels eliminated, 2937.112 metric tons of Russian and Albanian chemical weapons agent destroyed, 578 nuclear weapons transport train shipments secured, security at 24 nuclear weapons storage sites upgraded, 39 biological threat monitoring stations built and equipped.
During the month of June 2012, Nunn-Lugar Global progressed by:
40 nuclear warheads deactivated;
4 submarine-launched ballistic missiles destroyed;
6 nuclear weapons train transport shipments secured; and
1.3 metric tons of chemical weapons nerve agent destroyed.
Perhaps most importantly, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Belarus are nuclear weapons free as a result of cooperative efforts under the Nunn-Lugar program. Those countries were the third, fourth and eighth largest nuclear weapons powers in the world.
In November 1991, Lugar (R-IN) and Sen. Sam Nunn (D-GA) authored the Nunn-Lugar Act, which established the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program. This program has provided U.S. support and expertise to help the former Soviet Union safeguard and dismantle its enormous stockpiles of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, related materials, and delivery systems. In 2003, Congress adopted Senator Lugar's Nunn-Lugar Expansion Act, which authorized operations outside the former Soviet Union to address proliferation threats. In 2004, Nunn-Lugar funds were committed for the first time outside of the former Soviet Union to destroy chemical weapons in Albania.