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 You are in: Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security > Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation (ISN) > Releases > Remarks > 2002

G-8 Global Partnership

John S. Wolf, Assistant Secretary for Nonproliferation
Testimony Before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Washington, DC
October 9, 2002

Good morning, Mr. Chairman and members of this Committee. It is an honor to appear before you with my colleagues from the Energy and Defense Departments. The Administration relies on these three agencies to work together to combat the spread of weapons of mass destruction [WMD] and dangerous technologies.

Undersecretary Bolton has given you the big picture on the Global Partnership initiative. It provides a golden opportunity to leverage our own threat reduction programs, and to galvanize long overdue international support to deal with the WMD proliferation.

While the Partnership’s initial focus is on Russia and Eurasia, there is a basis for the partnership to operate more broadly. But, the first task is to build G-8 support -- this includes gaining financial commitments and designing projects. And, Undersecretary Bolton said Russia bears significant responsibility to assure that the projects can be implemented under the guidelines and also to use its own resources to help accomplish the tasks.

My staff and I have been active diplomatically first to rally support among the G-8 for the Partnership concept and then to maintain it. While we still need to do more with our G-8 partners, I hope we will soon be able to approach other countries outside the group to seek their contributions to this effort as well. I suspect we will have better chances when we have cleared away some of the implementation issues discussed at the G-8 Senior Officials meeting in Ottawa last month.

The Global Partnership is more than a fundraising effort -- it includes a set of core nonproliferation principles that all the partners signed up to. We use these principles within State to organize efforts to:

  • Curb the supply of WMD and missile technology, expertise and materials;
  • Interdict WMD transfers;
  • Restrain WMD programs;
  • Strengthen WMD norms, regimes, and treaties; and
  • Promote nuclear cooperation in the context of safety and security.

In the context of the Global Partnership, we are focusing largely on curbing supply possibilities. State, DoD and, increasingly, Treasury all have roles to play in this effort. Let me talk a bit about our efforts at State.

First, through the International Science centers and bio & chemical engagement, we are keeping Russian and Eurasian scientists from working for terrorists or proliferant states. The break-up of the USSR left thousands of former WMD scientists and engineers without a future. After ten years of effort we estimate that we have engaged half of them, at one point or another. But impressive though that achievement may be, the fact is that the science center projects account for only a fraction of the projected weapons scientist man-years available -- we are expanding our efforts and persuading others to do likewise. More importantly, we are working with U.S. businesses to accelerate the transition of science center work from stopgap measures to long-term fixes built on new, sustainable, peaceful, private sector jobs for these former Soviet weapons scientists.

Recently, we began the Bio-Industry initiative to work with our Russian partners to reconfigure former Soviet biological weapons (BW) production facilities and engage more Soviet biological and chemical Weapons scientists in collaborative R&D projects for the purpose of accelerated vaccine and drug therapy development for highly infectious diseases such as drug resistant tuberculosis. Our strategy in this area is to create new Russian-US Industry partnerships as well as help develop a sustainable Russia biotech industry.

Congress has given us other tools to prevent proliferation of WMD expertise. The reauthorization of the Soviet Scientists Act included in State's authorization legislation will provide a way for former weapons scientists to immigrate to the United States and work with our scientific community instead of to proliferant states.

Our anti-smuggling efforts, conducted with our colleagues from the Department of Energy, Defense, and Commerce, are another important focus. We oversee an interagency effort that draws on State's worldwide presence and DoE's extraordinary analytical and technical capabilities. We marry up these capabilities with local law enforcement to detect nuclear terrorism and roll up rings of criminals engaged in scams. For example, in 2000, State facilitated the safe retrieval of the HEU seized at a border checkpoint in Rousse, Bulgaria. The HEU underwent nuclear forensic analysis at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. This case was linked to other cases and law enforcement and intelligence authorities are continuing to follow-up on it.

Another important part of our strategy is our export control program which assists states that need to shore up their capabilities to prevent and stop such smuggling. Effective export and border controls, combined with vigorous enforcement, are crucial tools in stemming the proliferation of WMD and their delivery systems. We are working with implementing agencies such as the Departments of Commerce and Energy and the U.S. Customs Service to ensure that potential supplier countries have proper controls on exports, and that transit and transshipment countries in the region have the tools to interdict illicit shipments crossing their territories. Potential source countries remain our highest priority. But even as we work with them on export control lists, we find a number of countries still lack the trained personnel and enforcement infrastructure necessary to carry out nonproliferation commitments. We are also working with our international partners to make clear that export controls must not only cover "things" but also intangibles, such as data and intellectual property. And in fact, more needs to be done.

We're putting considerable effort into the interagency effort we lead to strengthen enforcement, and have recorded measurable success. In several NIS states, U.S.-trained officials, using U.S.-provided detection equipment, have made seizures of potentially dangerous radioactive materials. In one Caspian basin country, U.S.-trained officials detected a shipment of military equipment bound for a suspicious end-user in the Middle East. Following consultation with our in-country Export Control and Border Security program advisor, the equipment was detained. But much more needs to be done in Central Asia, as well as countries like Russia, China, India, and the countries in Southeast Asia.

State is also working to interdict WMD- and missile-related shipments of concerns to proliferant states. We work very closely with our partners in the Australia Group, Missile Technology Control Regime, and the Nuclear Suppliers Group to prevent shipments of concern from reaching CBW, missile and nuclear, programs around the world. We use diplomatic, intelligence, and law enforcement channels as appropriate to disrupt the flow of raw materials, production equipment and technological know-how to these programs.

I should also add that State maintains a rapid, flexible response capability to respond to emerging dangers. Our Non-proliferation and Disarmament Fund (NDF) supplements initiatives such as the Global Partnership that focus on Russia and the NIS by providing similar capabilities worldwide. Over the past few months NDF helped negotiate, fund and organize the removal of HEU from the Vinca Research Reactor in Yugoslavia; deployed radiation detection systems on Turkish borders with Syria, Iran and Iraq; and is currently overseeing the destruction of SS-23’s and SCUD missiles in Bulgaria.

Sadly, many sites like Vinca pose a proliferation danger. Over the next several months, the NDF working with DoE will begin work to protect dangerous material worldwide. This initiative will assist countries to strengthen and modify their laws and regulations; develop and deploy automated means of tracking inventories and shipments of these materials; secure stockpiles; and when necessary, remove dangerous materials from insecure locations.

State recognizes that advancing nonproliferation in Russia and the NIS is difficult. As members of this committee can attest, much of this work involves increasing the security of facilities so sensitive, host governments are reluctant to let in either U.S. program officials or congressional delegations. That said, we have made a lot of progress with a very small budget. Senator Lugar, I know you were interested in getting access to bio-weapons facilities in the Kirov area. We are too. For example, we have begun discussions with the Kirov 200 BW facility on the potential production of drugs to combat multi-drug resistant tuberculosis. We hope this is the first step toward greater engagement of scientists and facilities in that region.

Global Partnership provides us an opportunity to spread the burden and expand the scope of these non-proliferation effort, and State will aggressively move ahead to increase international support for the initiative while vigorously pursuing the programs we already have underway.

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