U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Dick Lugar will meet with officials in Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines to encourage continued global expansion of the Nunn-Lugar Global Cooperative Threat Reduction program.
"Cooperation is essential to identifying and interdicting the flow of weapons of mass destruction through Southeast Asia. Sources of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons or precursor materials could be states or rogue terrorist elements," Lugar said. "Southeast Asia is a major intersection of global trade and commerce by water and air. U.S. strategic economic and foreign policy needs to become more robust in the Asia-Pacific region and Nunn-Lugar Global Cooperative Threat Reduction will be an important tool for our diplomatic and military leaders as we seek a more integrated approach to the region."
Since the program started Lugar has performed oversight inspections of Nunn-Lugar sites in Europe, Asia and Africa. Lugar's Asia trip runs from today, October 22 to November 2. Lugar, a former naval officer, will also visit U.S. Navy Pacific Command for briefings and oversea navy operations critical to Asia-Pacific security and Nunn-Lugar interdiction missions.
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. In 2010 Lugar traveled to Africa to encourage new cooperation. In 1996 the companion Nunn-Lugar-Domenici Domestic Preparedness Act added homeland security and first responder training (elements of which were used during 9/11).
The Nunn-Lugar scorecard now totals 7,610 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, 3192.3 metric tons of Russian and Albanian chemical weapons agent destroyed, 590 nuclear weapons transport train shipments secured, security at 24 nuclear weapons storage sites upgraded, 39 biological threat monitoring stations built and equipped.
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.
The Nunn-Lugar program: http://lugar.senate.gov/nunnlugar/index.html