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 You are in: Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security > Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation (ISN) > Releases > Remarks > 2006

Opportunities for Reducing Nuclear and Biological Threats at the Source

Francis C. Record, Acting Assistant Secretary, International Security and Nonproliferation
Remarks at a House Homeland Security Committee Hearing
Washington, DC
June 22, 2006

Opening Remarks

Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Langevin, and other distinguished members of the committee, I would like to thank you for the opportunity to discuss the Administration’s accomplishments and ongoing efforts to reduce the nuclear and biological threat at the source. The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is one of the United States’ most urgent national security challenges, and meeting this challenge requires targeted efforts to ensure that materials, technologies and expertise that can be used to obtain or further WMD capabilities do not fall into the hands of terrorists or rogue States seeking WMD.

Recently, I spoke to you about our initiatives to deter, interdict and prevent acquisition of nuclear and radiological material through export controls and border assistance, the Proliferation Security Initiative, and our efforts to combat nuclear smuggling. These initiatives are largely designed to interdict WMD material after it has been procured. Today, I would like to speak more specifically about U.S. Department of State (DOS) efforts to address the nuclear and biological threat through programs and diplomatic initiatives designed to deny terrorists and states from acquiring WMD capability-enhancing nuclear and biological materials, technologies, and expertise at their source. These include DOS programs and diplomatic efforts designed to address the threat of nuclear and biological terrorism at the source, including efforts to sustainably employ former weapons personnel, right-size and reconfigure former WMD facilities, secure nuclear and biological material and eliminate excess weapon materials, improve U.S.-Russia bilateral cooperation, and vigorously support relevant multilateral mechanisms that seek to secure material at the source such as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Additional Protocol, and G-8 Global Partnership activities.

Although much of the critical work I will speak about today focuses on Eurasia, where the Soviet legacy has left behind a vast architecture of poorly secured nuclear and biological facilities and a large cadre of unemployed weapons experts, DOS is focusing enormous effort to work globally as we address potential sources of WMD materials, technologies and expertise where they are housed, including those countries and regions where terrorists are active and could more easily procure them.

I will begin with DOS programs to engage and redirect former weapons experts, secure dangerous pathogens, and destroy WMD infrastructure, emphasizing areas where our work fills gaps and complements that of other USG agencies, primarily DOE and DoD. I will then address the critical diplomatic multilateral and bilateral efforts led by DOS to enhance success for USG programs designed to reduce threat at the source.

I would also like to make you aware of the immense challenge posed by the biological threat, and to compare our efforts to secure dangerous biological material and prevent proliferation of biological expertise with our efforts to do the same in the nuclear arena. Dual-use biological materials, technologies and expertise that could be used to enhance WMD capabilities are widespread and readily available. Dangerous pathogens exist not only in freezers in labs of the former Soviet Union but are naturally occurring in most parts of the world. Therefore, engaging in biological security activities not only involves traditional efforts to secure repositories, but also involves a broader effort to train laboratory and public health workers in appropriate practices for handling, storing, and transporting dangerous pathogens and should bring together the public health and law enforcement communities. The USG has placed an emphasis on combating this threat at the source through programs to secure dangerous pathogens and employ weapons experts in former Soviet countries, where pathogens were weaponized and expertise abounds.

This remains a critically important task, however, we are also now addressing the global threat posed by the expansion of dangerous pathogen collections and high containment facilities to work with them, particularly in regions of the world where terrorists are active.

Cooperative Threat Reduction

The former Soviet states are still littered with reminders of the massive architecture of the former Soviet WMD program, including a large number of facilities that could serve as potential sources for terrorists and states seeking WMD. Since the inauguration of the Cooperative Threat Reduction program in 1992, -- or as it is often referred to the Nunn-Lugar program -- the U.S. has worked with the Russian Federation and other former Soviet states to eliminate WMD threats posed by the legacy of the Cold War. The U.S. has invested in efforts to reduce the proliferation threat posed by acquisition of materials and know-how from the vast source of poorly secured nuclear and biological materials and underemployed former WMD personnel in the former Soviet Union. Funding for these programs from FY1992 through today has totaled more than $10 billion.

The Department of State leads diplomatic and negotiating efforts necessary to conduct these programs and to provide the robust legal frameworks for their continuation, and we also implement specific programs, which complement and work hand-in-glove with Department of Defense (DoD) and Department of Energy (DOE) Cooperative Threat Reduction activities. On June 16, 2006, the United States and the Russia Federation signed a new protocol extending the CTR umbrella agreement for another 7 years, and the two countries are also now finalizing a protocol for the plutonium disposition agreement that will resolve the long-standing issue on liability protections. The formulations in the liability protocol are also expected to facilitate a number of other nonproliferation and cooperative programs. DOS cooperative threat reduction programs initially focused on Eurasia, but are now addressing the worldwide threat.

Nonproliferation of WMD Expertise (NWMDE)

To effectively develop WMD capability, terrorists and States seeking WMD must first have access to know-how and expertise. Therefore, it is critical that the USG engage WMD personnel in States with WMD programs and deter them from sharing that expertise or using it to promote proliferation. The Nonproliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction Expertise (NWMDE) program is specifically designed to prevent the proliferation of WMD expertise to terrorists and states of concern, addressing a key objective of the National Strategy to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction and the U.S. National Security Strategy. This program has redirected $52.074 million in FY 2006, and we requested $56.2 million for FY 2007. Since its inception, the program has engaged more than 60,000 former weapons experts.

Included under NWMDE are three specific programs focused in the countries of the former Soviet Union, two of which were created by the Congress to specifically address the biological threat. These efforts aim to combat the nuclear and biological threat at the source while also providing critical diplomatic support and policy guidance for DOE and DoD efforts.

The three DOS NWMDE programs operating in Eurasia are the Science Centers Program, Bio-Chem Redirect Program, and BioIndustry Initiative. While the core Science Centers program provides funding for the International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) based in Moscow and the Science and Technology Center in Ukraine (STCU) and engages nuclear, chemical, biological and missile scientists, the other DOS redirection programs are more narrowly focused to address the biological and chemical proliferation threats.

Science Centers Program

The Science Centers Program supports financial self-reliance for former Soviet WMD personnel through two centers – the ISTC in Moscow and the STCU in Kiev. In addition to funding collaborative research, the Program now also provides critical training for scientists to compete in the global research and development community in competitive grant writing, intellectual property protections, matchmaking with U.S. collaborators, and meeting international standards in areas such as Good Laboratory and Manufacturing Practice. The current focus area for this program provides avenues to reduce the proliferation threat over the long-term by enhancing self-sustainability for former weapons personnel and institutes. This includes increasing U.S. private industry participation and attracting recipient-country agencies and industry to invest their R&D funds in Science Center-managed research in their countries. DOS provides policy guidance and oversight for ISTC and STCU, through which most redirection assistance in Russia and the FSU is funded, and DOS also coordinates policy guidance and strategy for engagement, particularly with respect to biological and chemical engagement activities. DOS chairs an NSC-mandated interagency roundtable, which brings together DoD, DOE and other agencies funding biological and chemical redirection activities in the former Soviet Union to discuss program activities and provide policy guidance.

Bio-Chem Redirect Program

The U.S. Bio-Chem Redirect Program (BCR) has allocated more than $80 million since 1997 to engage scientists, engineers and technicians of the former Soviet Union with biological or chemical weapons expertise in collaborative research with U.S. experts from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), including funding for disease surveillance initiatives and drug and vaccine research and development in global public health priority areas (Influenza, HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Hepatitis, etc.). BCR also supports key components in U.S. global efforts to combat biological and chemical terrorism through research on countermeasures, early detection & response, antidotes, decontamination, and other critical areas. The current focus of this program is to prepare former Soviet biological and chemical weapons personnel for self-sustainability and eventual independence from USG support through capacity building; expanding engagement in Ukraine, Central Asia, and the Caucasus; and continuing to expand engagement of former Soviet CW personnel, some of whom receive little or no salary. Through BCR, DOS is also working to reduce the biological threat in countries not yet engaged by the DoD Biological Threat Reduction program, including regional priorities such as Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. BCR is also building on DoD’s critical effort that has destroyed the biological weapons (BW) infrastructure at Stepnogorsk, through redirection of former Stepnogorsk weapons personnel, including development of sustainable employment options.

BioIndustry Initiative

The U.S. BioIndustry Initiative (BII) is another DOS program created specifically to address the biological threat at the source. BII is a unique program, through which DOS addresses the biological threat at its source in two major ways: first by redirecting weapons experts and reconfiguring former WMD facilities for peaceful purposes and second by engaging WMD personnel in work to accelerate drug and vaccine development to combat bioterrorism and other critical global public health threats, including avian influenza. It is important to note that BII is the only U.S. program dedicated to the targeted transformation of former Soviet large-scale biological production facilities for peaceful commercial use. Through BII, for the very first time, we are now able to address the threat posed by huge biological weapons production facilities, which could be a source for equipment, expertise, and materials necessary to make tons of weaponized disease agents. Many former BW production and research and development facilities throughout Russia and the FSU are now being reconfigured for peaceful use, and BII has forged collaborative partnerships with industry partnerships to aid in this effort.

In its efforts to reconfigure former biological production facilities, BII also works closely with State Nonproliferation and Disarmament Fund (NDF) and DoD to eliminate WMD infrastructure. In a striking example of how DOS is reducing the biological threat at the source, BII has worked to reconfigure critical biological production facilities and redirect their personnel, including the Berdsk Biologics Facility, which is the largest dual-use biological production facility in Russia. Through these efforts we will now enable removal and destruction of BW capacity at Berdsk and will facilitate reconfiguration to support peaceful employment for WMD experts there. BII is also providing for reconfiguration and redirection of personnel at additional biological production facilities in Russia and at production facilities in Georgia and Kazakhstan, including those where DoD has engaged in enhancing biosecurity and destroying WMD infrastructure.

BII is designed to provide former WMD experts with sustainable employment, and BII focuses resources on providing training to bring scientists and facilities up to international standards. This has included success in aiding facilities to meet international standards for Good Laboratory Practice (GLP), Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) and Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC) standards. BII has forged critical partnerships with international accreditation and standards groups, including AAALAC, the Regulatory Affairs Professional Society (RAPS) and others, and BII also targets significant resources toward intellectual property protection and training to further ensure sustainability for engaged scientists.

NWMDE-Eurasia Program Efficacy

The importance and efficacy of these three Eurasian NWMDE initiatives is evidenced by the sobering results of a 2003 survey of Russian scientists with weapons expertise, which revealed that 20 percent of the respondents would consider working in rogue states (including North Korea, Syria, and Iran). However, the study also revealed that participation in western grant programs, such as the ISTC, reduced the likelihood that surveyed participants would consider working for such states.

Engagement of WMD expertise in Iraq and Libya

Since 2003, we have expanded our NWMDE program to include WMD scientists from Iraq and Libya. In FY 2004, we developed a targeted program to redirect former Iraqi WMD scientists. Despite serious security constraints, we have made progress in funding approximately 200 key former WMD personnel in Iraq, and have worked closely with the UK in these efforts.

In conjunction with its decision to dismantle its WMD programs in 2004, Libya explicitly requested Western assistance to engage its former weapons scientists and identified four priority areas for engagement activities: nuclear medicine, water management, precision manufacturing, and environmental monitoring. These two efforts are critical components of our work to reduce threat in the region, and we plan to continue to ensure integration of former WMD personnel in Iraq and Libya into the international peaceful scientific community.

DOS Efforts to Increase Pathogen Security

In addition to our efforts to engage former WMD personnel, the U.S. is also leading global efforts to combat the threat posed by potential terrorist acquisition of dangerous biological materials from poorly-secured laboratories that possess biological agents for legitimate public health and research activities. In addition to the work described in states of the former Soviet Union, the U.S. is working within the international community to raise awareness of the risks, to establish global standards, to assist in developing national legislation and regulations, and to assist individual facilities with upgrading security practices.

At the initiative of the U.S., the Parties to the Biological Weapons Convention focused on this issue in 2004, highlighting national responsibilities under the Convention and United Nations (UN) Security Council Resolution 1540 for ensuring that pathogens are secured. For its part, DOS is funding a project at the World Health Organization to develop pathogen security guidelines with global applicability. We are also a key player in work on pathogen security guidelines that is underway at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Once these guidelines are ready, our intention is to urge states, relevant international organizations, and professional scientific groups to adopt them as the norm. In addition, we are working with the International Criminal Police Organization, INTERPOL, - and with individual nations - to ensure that countries have necessary legislation to prevent and punish biological weapons-related activity, including efforts by non-State actors to obtain dangerous pathogens.

Important as global standards are, we are not waiting until standards are available before we begin working with states to strengthen pathogen security on a national level and at individual facilities. We are already working with several countries in Asia to raise awareness, to establish national regulations, and to upgrade pathogen security at individual high-priority facilities.

To intensify these efforts, DOS is launching a new program to engage biological facilities and infectious disease personnel in regions where terrorists are known to operate. This program is called the Biosecurity Engagement Program and is designed to engage countries that maintain rapidly growing biotechnology sectors and unsecured dangerous pathogen collections. Through this program, we seek to work with countries and specific facilities to improve biosecurity and biosafety conditions and to improve accounting for dangerous pathogens to combat the insider threat.

Rapid Response to Reduce the WMD Threat at the Source

Nonproliferation and Disarmament Fund (NDF)

As a key complement to DOS, DoD and DOE efforts to reduce the biological and nuclear threat at the source through rapid response to critical needs to destroy WMD and WMD infrastructure worldwide, the Nonproliferation and Disarmament Fund (NDF) is able to address critical, immediate opportunities to reduce the WMD threat at the source.

The NDF reduces the WMD and WMD-terrorist threat by detecting, interdicting, destroying or securing existing weapons, related materials and associated infrastructure. Congress has provided the NDF with a clear mandate to develop and execute projects to stop the proliferation of WMD, missiles and advanced conventional weapons. To execute this mandate, NDF maintains readiness for rapid, agile and flexible responses to a wide variety of situations and conditions -- from removing WMD and associated infrastructure in Libya, right-sizing biological weapons facilities in Russia, removing fissile material in Kazakhstan, and destroying SA-3 surface-to-air missiles in Southeast Asia.

NDF proposals span the globe, and the NDF is designed to allow for rapid responses to a wide variety of situations. Many of its projects are developed to take advantage of unanticipated opportunities or circumstances that might arise. For this reason, NDF resources are not committed to any project or region in advance. NDF plays an important and growing role in the war on terror, and has funded efforts to destroy fermentors that could be used to make large amounts of pathogens for biological weapons, as well as non-WMD programs for the elimination of MANPADS, and the destruction of heavy munitions that could be used to make Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).

In some instances, NDF may provide resources to others agencies or offices it deems best suited to carry out the activity (e.g. MANPADS elimination). In other cases, the technical complexity of many projects requires the project management experience of NDF staff. In cases where an international agreement, MOU or implementing agreement is required, NDF must first negotiate agreement from foreign governments to support the activity. NDF staff then implements the project, putting contracts in place, personnel on the ground, and equipment on location to accomplish the project goals within the budget approved.

Combating the Nuclear Threat at the Source through Efforts to Combat Nuclear Smuggling

In addition to our efforts to secure nuclear and biological material, technology and expertise or destroy WMD infrastructure, DOS also coordinates the U.S. response to nuclear smuggling incidents, a responsibility that can lead to identification of and further security for unsecured nuclear or radiological sources. Since 9/11 we have strengthened this effort not only to ensure that smuggling attempts are thwarted and that smugglers are arrested and prosecuted, but also to make certain that the fissile or radioactive material involved is secured and source attribution is obtained when possible. Attribution through nuclear forensics can help us understand how and where illicitly trafficked material is diverted from and how we can secure those at-risk facilities. In this effort we work very closely with other agencies in the law enforcement and intelligence communities.

DOS also coordinates interagency efforts to address the threat of nuclear materials smuggling at the source through a Nuclear Smuggling Outreach Initiative. This initiative includes activities aimed at identifying and addressing shortcomings and gaps of at-risk states, including gaps in physical security and regulatory capability to enhance the security of nuclear materials that may not be covered by USG programs. Under this initiative, an interagency team assesses the needs of states identified as high risk. Then DOS engages with foreign officials to determine specific gaps and works with the state and other international partners to help fulfill identified needs.

DOS Diplomatic Initiatives Aimed at Improving International Efforts to Reduce the Nuclear and Biological Threat at the Source

In parallel to the programmatic efforts implemented by DOS and by our partners at DoD, DOE and elsewhere in the USG, DOS also focuses several key bilateral and multilateral initiatives on reducing the nuclear and biological threat at the source.

The Department’s diplomatic efforts to combat the WMD threat at the source extend to strengthening appropriate multilateral frameworks and international regimes to enforce the global obligation to ensure that materials, technologies, and expertise are not procured by terrorists or states seeking them. Stemming the proliferation of WMD requires a global effort, and we have actively sought to: support G-8 initiatives aimed at increasing international efforts to combat the WMD threat at the source, bolster the IAEA, involve and obligate more states to improve nuclear and biological security, combat nuclear and biological terrorism, and increase international financing of nonproliferation assistance programs designed to employ weapons experts and secure WMD materials.

G-8 Global Partnership

The Department has led efforts for increased participation by other governments to meet nonproliferation and threat reduction program needs worldwide, since success is critical not only to U.S. security, but to international security. Under the G-8 Global Partnership launched in 2002, G-8 leaders pledged to raise $20 billion over ten years to prevent terrorists from acquiring WMD, with an initial focus on Russia. The President pledged $10 billion for assistance principally in Russia and Eurasia over ten years, and asked other G-7 leaders to match the U.S. contribution. So far the G-7, European Commission and thirteen other donor countries that have joined the Partnership have pledged about $7 billion for programs in Russia and Ukraine, and the Russian Federation has pledged about $2 billion of its own funds.

Among our Global Partnership priorities are efforts specifically focused on reducing the nuclear and biological threats at the source, including construction of 17 facilities for dismantling nuclear submarines to secure the safe storage of reactor compartments, the safe disposition of excess weapons plutonium and other fissile materials, chemical weapons destruction, and enhancing the physical protection of active facilities with nuclear materials. We have also placed a strong emphasis on biological threat reduction activities through the Global Partnership and, in conjunction with Canada, the UK and other G-8 nations, the U.S. supports funding for Global Partnership initiatives to increase biological security and improve infectious disease surveillance. We continue to work with our partners to ensure that our pledges are turned into concrete results and that the Partnership meets its ambitious goals of securing weapons and materials and reducing weapons stockpiles.

G-8 Bioterrorism Experts Group (BTEX)

To emphasize the importance of multilateral and multisectoral cooperation to combat the threat of bioterrorism, the U.S. established and hosted the initial meeting of the G-8 Bioterrorism Experts Group (BTEX) under the U.S. G-8 Presidency in 2004. BTEX is an international exchange involving foreign policy, homeland security, agriculture, health, and defense experts and was designed to strengthen G-8 actions to prevent and respond to bioterrorism, including diplomatic initiatives to strengthen global expert-to-expert contacts across all of the sectors of the G-8 governments responsible for responding to the bioterrorism threat.

As a result of the G-8 BTEX work initiated in 2004 and the workplan developed in 2005, G-8 nations are continuing and expanding work to: identify gaps and best practices in protecting the food supply from deliberate contamination; strengthen national and international biosurveillance capabilities; share national emergency response plans; and share methodologies for training of law enforcement and public health experts in forensic epidemiology. G-8 nations have also shared reviews of national legal and licensing issues that could affect the possible international sharing of medical countermeasures (vaccines, drugs) and have begun to identify emergency preparedness and response events which G-8 observers can attend.

All of these initiatives represent important, productive steps towards harmonizing and coordinating G-8 and broader international efforts to defend against bioterrorism.

Materials, Protection, Control & Accounting (MPC&A) Program

Outside the G-8 context, DOS is also engaged in other wide-ranging bilateral and multilateral diplomatic initiatives, which aim to control the nuclear and biological threat at the source. Particularly critical are diplomatic efforts that support the ability of the USG to provide upgrades and improvements to the physical protection of nuclear weapons and materials in Russia through DOE’s Materials, Protection, Control & Accounting (MPC&A) Program. This program provides physical security and accounting procedures to reduce the threat of theft of nuclear material at facilities where it is housed. Cooperation is a key component for the continued success of such USG nonproliferation programs, and our MPC&A efforts were challenged by a lack of access to some sensitive Russian sites. However, in recent years progress has been made in the area of access, with only a couple of highly sensitive sites remaining at which the U.S. government has not been able to work. We continue to work with our Russian colleagues to secure greater access to facilities and materials where nuclear warheads and nuclear material are vulnerable to potential nuclear terrorism.

In fact, I am pleased to report that we made significant progress with Russia, including agreement at Bratislava last year, to develop a plan of work through 2008 for cooperation on security upgrades of nuclear facilities and for transportation of nuclear warheads slated for disposal. The detailed portions of this plan identify specific buildings for cooperation and upgrades, and will also be adjusted as the Russian Ministry of Defense (MOD) nominates additional sites for cooperative activities. The Departments of Defense and Energy have already begun work to upgrade these sites.

In addition, the Bratislava meeting yielded two important developments in our efforts to secure high-enriched uranium (HEU) from U.S. and Russian-designed research reactors in third countries: a plan to jointly develop low-enriched uranium (LEU) fuel for use in these research reactors instead of HEU and a prioritized timeline to return all U.S. and Russian-origin fresh and spent fuel. The agreed timeline calls for all remaining Russian-origin fresh fuel shipments to be completed by 2006 and spent HEU fuel shipments to be completed by 2010.

U.S. Support for IAEA and IAEA Additional Protocol

The U.S. is also strongly supporting multilateral initiatives to decrease the threat posed by sources of nuclear and biological materials, technologies and expertise worldwide. DOS’s budget includes financial support to the IAEA. Since September 11, 2001, the USG has contributed over $25 million to assist states in bolstering their nuclear and radiological security capabilities for civilian facilities and activities.

Through our support for the IAEA, the U.S. works toward ensuring that States are held accountable for their use to prevent proliferation of nuclear weapons material and technology. To that end, we are supporting universal acceptance of the IAEA Additional Protocol. The Additional Protocol plays an important role in reducing the risk of nuclear proliferation, and promotes our goal of verifying other states’ compliance with their nonproliferation obligations. The greater verification role of the IAEA provided by the Additional Protocol will facilitate detection of undeclared nuclear activity at an earlier stage. Our global nonproliferation efforts are much more effective when undeclared nuclear activity and nuclear weapons programs are thwarted in their infancy.

Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM)

While greater oversight by the IAEA contributes to our nuclear nonproliferation efforts to ensure that State sources of nuclear materials, technology and expertise do not pursue clandestine nuclear WMD programs, it is also critical that individual states share responsibility for combating nuclear terrorism by securing their nuclear materials at the source. Accordingly, the Department has sought the broadest possible participation in international agreements that obligate States to be proactive against proliferation and nuclear terrorism. These agreements and commitments strengthen nuclear security worldwide and spread the cost of improving physical nuclear security among many states, all of whom benefit from these efforts.

To that end, the U.S. strongly supports recent progress under the 1979 Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM). On July 8, 2005, in a culmination of eight years of USG efforts, a diplomatic conference of more than eighty-five States Parties to the CPPNM, meeting at the IAEA in Vienna, adopted by consensus an Amendment that significantly broadens the scope of the original Convention. The Convention was of limited scope, with physical protection obligations covering only nuclear material used for peaceful purposes while in international transport and storage incidental to such transport. The Amendment to the Convention will provide a treaty-based anchor for an international regime for the physical protection worldwide of nuclear material and nuclear facilities used for peaceful purposes.

Reducing Nuclear Threat at the Source through the Nuclear Terrorism Convention

Concurrent with our efforts to amend the CPPNM, we have made other diplomatic strides to further combat the threat of nuclear terrorism by providing a framework for preventing terrorists from gaining access to nuclear weapons and material from State sources. In February, 2005, President Bush and Russian President Putin called for early adoption of the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (Nuclear Terrorism Convention), as well as the Amendment to the CPPNM. On April 13, 2005, the Nuclear Terrorism Convention was unanimously adopted by consensus by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly. The Russian Federation was the first signatory when the Convention opened for signatures on September 14, 2005, and the United States, the second. Our support for the Nuclear Terrorism Convention continues our policy of international cooperation among states, which is characterized by parallel, multilateral or joint action towards common nonproliferation goals.

Radiological Security

The United States has developed and pursued a proactive strategy to strengthen the control of radioactive sources and materials globally, particularly those sources that could be used to build a radioactive dispersal device or "dirty bomb". The U.S. strategy seeks to (1) broaden international adherence to the IAEA Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources (Code of Conduct), a voluntary set of national guidelines for cradle-to-grave control of sources; (2) promote global implementation of the IAEA Guidance on the Import and Export of Radioactive Sources (Guidance) that is supplementary to the Code of Conduct, to ensure that high-risk radioactive sources are supplied only to authorized end-users in countries that can control them; and (3) enhance the provision of technical and regulatory assistance to developing countries.

After the September 11, 2001, attacks, the U.S. was a key player in revising the Code of Conduct, to enhance its security elements and effectiveness in preventing terrorists from obtaining radioactive material for use in a radiological dispersal device. In addition, the U.S. took the lead in developing and gaining political momentum for the import/export Guidance, the first international import and export framework for radioactive sources. The revised Code of Conduct and Guidance were approved by the IAEA Board of Governors in 2003 and 2004, respectively, solidifying their role as global standards. The U.S. has been successful in gaining high-level political commitments to the Code of Conduct and import/export controls in forums such as the 2003, 2004, and 2005 G-8 Summits; the U.S.-EU Shannon Summit; the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC); and the Organization on Security Cooperation in Europe (OSCE); as well as in gaining national commitments to the Code of Conduct by more than 80 countries.


The programs and initiatives outlined above provide excellent opportunities for DOS to introduce new the technologies and ideas to combat states and terrorists attempting to achieve a biological or radiological capability. Our efforts also require that we look for opportunities to develop new partnerships, both public and private, that extend efforts across the globe to defense against this threat.

DOS is, in particular, interested in strengthening security at WMD facilities by emphasizing to countries and businesses within radiological and biological industries to improve access controls by using advanced biometric technologies, improved cybersecurity measures to protect such facilities from hacker sabotage, and improved background checks and screening procedures to protect against the insider threat.

To improve our efforts to prevent States and terrorists from acquiring WMD materials, technologies and expertise at the source, I should note that we are actively seeking to work in partnership with States, nongovernmental organizations, and industry in close coordination with our interagency partners. This approach allows us the flexibility to tailor our efforts to ensure sustainability and success for the programs we put in place, a concept emphasized by Secretary Rice in her vision of Transformational Diplomacy.

Looking to the future, the Department will continue to make implementation of efforts to secure sources of nuclear and biological WMD materials, technologies, and expertise among our highest priorities. This will require improvisation and innovation to keep one step ahead of proliferators. Working with DOE , DoD, other government agencies, the private sector, relevant international organizations and other like-minded states, we will continue to invest heavily in keeping the world’s most dangerous weapons out of the hands of the world’s most dangerous people.

Released on June 23, 2006

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