Mr. LUGAR addressed the Chair.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Indiana is recognized.
Mr. LUGAR. Mr. President, momentarily, when the draft of my amendment arrives, I will send it to the desk. For the moment, I will simply mention that the amendment I am about to offer, I will offer on behalf of myself, Senator Bingaman, Senator Domenici, and Senator Levin.
Mr. President, I indicate that additional original cosponsors will be Senators Hagel, Jeffords, Chafee, Specter, D'Amato, Frist, Gorton, Snowe, Collins, Kennedy, Biden, Kerrey of Nebraska, Lieberman, Byrd, Reed of Rhode Island, Daschle, and Robb.
I want to especially recognize Senator Domenici for his contribution to our work on this amendment.
Mr. President, let me state at the outset that Congress established, in 1991, with strong bipartisan support, what is known as the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, the CTR.
Last year, the Senate, in a 96 to 0 vote, amended and enlarged this important program through the Nunn-Lugar-Domenici legislation entitled the Defense Against Weapons of Mass Destruction Act.
The CTR program at the Department of Defense, along with its companion programs at the Department of Energy--namely, the Materials Protection Control and Accounting Program [MPC&A] and the International Nuclear Safety Program--have played significant roles in our efforts to reduce the risk to the United States from loose nukes and the dangers inherent in the operations of Soviet-designed nuclear reactors.
Each of these programs plays a key role in enhancing stability around the world and contributes to circumscribing the threats that emanate from weapons and materials of mass destruction.
The defense authorization bill for fiscal year 1998, as reported out of the Committee on Armed Services, cut the funding for the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program and the Materials Protection, Control and Accounting Program and totally eliminated all funding for the International Nuclear Safety Program.
Our amendment is designed to restore the funding cuts in these three programs.
Mr. President, the Armed Services Committee has recommended a cut of $60 million in the President's request of $382.2 million for the fiscal year 1998 for the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program. The sponsors of this amendment believe that this is a mistake.
The Nunn-Lugar program's impact on the threat posed by former Soviet weapons of mass destruction can be measured in the 81 ICBM's destroyed, 125 ICBM silos eliminated, 20 bombers destroyed, 64 SLBM launchers eliminated, 58 nuclear test tunnels sealed, and the 4,500 warheads taken off strategic systems aimed at us--Mr. President, let me repeat that, 4,500 former Soviet warheads which were pointed at the United States have been removed by the Nunn-Lugar program--all at a cost of less than one-third of 1 percent of the Department of Defense's annual budget. Without our Cooperation Threat Reduction Program, Ukraine, Kazakstan, and Belarus would still have thousands of nuclear weapons. Instead, all three countries are nuclear-weapons-free.
Although the CTR Program has accomplished much, much work essential to U.S. national security interests remains to be done. This includes:
The elimination of ICBM's, SLBM's, and heavy bombers as required under the START I Treaty, followed by START II and perhaps START III; increase safety and security for the transport and storage of remaining Russian nuclear warheads; an end to production of weapons-grade plutonium; chemical weapons reduction; and other efforts to reduce weapons of mass destruction in the former Soviet Union and the threat of proliferation.
The President's fiscal year 1998 budget request of $382.2 million was a bare-bones request based on a difficult prioritization of potential projects.
Stated simply, Mr. President, there are tens of things which need to be done, a long list prioritized and squeezed into the $382.2 million bare bones request.
Many programs that the Congress supported in the past failed to make the list. Indeed, there are several key projects that cannot be funded even at the $382.2 million level which would accelerate our strategic arms elimination programs in Russia and Ukraine.
I am told that the committee reduction in the President's request was motivated in part because:
Unobligated moneys remain for Belarus, which cannot be spent as long as that country has not been recertified for the CTR program; the Government of Japan has suggested it might purchase fissile material containers for a major CTR project at Mayak in Russia, thereby freeing up some CTR funds previously planned for that project;
and finally, unobligated funds for the Cooperative Threat Reduction Programs.
In fact, Mr. President, there are no extra funds available. There are no unobligated funds that have not been designated for specific projects and specific countries.
The decision by the President not to recertify Belarus for the time being resulted in $37.2 million that cannot be obligated until Belarus is certified. The Department of Defense plans to use $15 million of this sum to partially fund a classified project that has been briefed to Members and notified to the Congress. A copy of that notification is available in S-407 for any Member to read. The remainder of the Belarus funds are intended to remain in reserve to implement previously notified projects in Belarus in the event that Belarus is recertified in fiscal year 1998.
Mr. President, I support the maintenance of these funds in a reserve to implement previously notified projects. Even though the SS-25's have left Belarus for Russia, much remains to be done in the area of strategic system infrastructure elimination. SS-25's are mobile; they could be returned under certain circumstances. Thus, while Belarus is currently nuclear weapons free, much remains to be done to insure that it remains in that status.
The Japanese are negotiating with the United States manufacturer, Westinghouse, to purchase some fissile material storage containers for a storage facility at Mayak, Russia. This project is a major component of the CTR program. While the Department of Defense is not yet certain how many, if any, the Japanese will purchase, it could be that a Japanese purchase would decrease the DOD requirements for container purchases by as much as $15 million.
Accordingly, the Department of Defense plans to use this $15 million to augment some of the funds from the Belarus account for the classified project. The remaining fiscal year 1997 container funding in the amount of $23.5 million are being notified to Congress to enable purchase of containers to complete the 50,000 container requirement.
In short, Mr. President, the Congress has been notified on a new, classified nonproliferation project which will use all of the CTR funds no longer needed for fissile material container, and many of the obligated funds previously planned for Belarus in the event Belarus is not recertified. This project is important and time-sensitive and deserves our support.
Mr. President, the issue of unobligated CTR funds is an annual one. Inevitable delays in obligating funds in a given fiscal year result from the annual certification process, a very complicated process from the beginning of the nonnuclear legislative efforts in 1991.
For example, the Department of Defense did not have authority to spend fiscal year 1997 CTR funds until April 1997, following completion of the certification process and notification to Congress of intent to obligate the fiscal year 1997 funds.
Mr. President, this means simply that well over half of the year was consumed due to the legislative requirements of the certification process and the notification of intent to Congress.
Over the life of the CTR Program, DOD has notified to the Congress intent to obligate approximately $1.8 billion. Of this amount, $1.3 billion has been obligated, and an additional $38.5 million soon will be notified. Therefore, DOD has $513 million--not $700 million--in currently unobligated CTR funds.
For fiscal year 1997, DOD has so far obligated $208 million, with plans to obligate another $200 million by the end of the fiscal year. As defined in the CTR Multi-year Program Plan reported to Congress earlier this month, the remaining $313 million in unobligated funds have been committed to specific countries by signed agreement and are earmarked for specific CTR projects. For example, we have agreements and have earmarked funds for SS-18 ICBM elimination in Russia and SS-24 elimination in Ukraine.
The bottom line, Mr. President, is that execution of these funds has been thoroughly planned, and agreements with recipient nations have been signed to allow this assistance for eliminating these strategic systems to proceed per the DOD plan.
Mr. President, let me turn to the second program for which we seek to restore full funding through this amendment--this is, the Material Protection, Control, and Accounting Program.
Mr. President, most Members can appreciate the direct benefits to our security from assisting in the elimination of strategic weapons systems targeted on the United States. Perhaps more difficult to comprehend is the threat posed by the potential leakage of weapons-grade nuclear materials.
The Material Protection, Control, and Accounting Program seeks to secure hundreds of tons of weapons-usable nuclear materials in the former Soviet Union and elsewhere which are inadequately secured and are at risk of falling into the hands of criminal elements, terrorist organizations and rogue states. In sort, this programs works to prevent the theft or diversion of weapons-usable materials--plutonium and highly enriched uranium.
The Department of Energy, in cooperation with Russia, the newly independent states, and the Baltic States, has put in place equipment at 18 sites to safeguard plutonium and weapons-usable uranium, and agreements are in place to enhance safety and security at over 30 additional sites, including research laboratories and storage sites. If this program is reduced by the $25 million recommended by the committee, there would be delays of at least 2 years in securing these sites and an estimated increased cost of $70 million.
In short, Mr. President, after a slow start in the early 1990's, MPC&A improvements are now underway at over 50 sites in Russia, the new independent states, and the Baltic States. Let me give some specific examples: MPC&A upgrades at Obninsk and Kurchatov in Russia have radically improved security for several tons of weapons-usable material; upgraded MPC&A systems for all weapons-usable nuclear materials in Latvia, Lithuania, Uzbekistan, Georgia, and Belarus are complete; nuclear material detectors have been installed at all pedestrian pathways at the Siberian Chemical Combine (Tomsk-7) and the Chelyabinsk-70 nuclear weapons design institute. These monitors provide a major improvement to
the security of many tons of weapons-usable nuclear material at these sites; a national MPC&A training center has been established at Obninsk, Russia, with support from DOE and the European Union; by the end of this month, more than 1,000 nuclear specialists from the former Soviet Union will have participated in MPC&A training courses and technical exchanges under the auspices of the program; work is underway to strengthen Russia's nuclear regulatory system; and MPC&A upgrades for the Russian Navy, some 8 to 10 facilities in 1998, the icebreaker fleet, and for nuclear materials during transportation are underway at several sites.
Mr. President, it is noteworthy that the National Research Council recently completed an independent external assessment of this MPC&A program, and the National Research Council concluded; and I quote:
U.S. commitment to the program should be sustained and funding should be continued at least at the level of FY 1996 (funding) for several more years, and increased if high-impact opportunities arise.
In short, the Energy Department through this program has enhanced the security surrounding hundreds of tons of nuclear weapons material, but the vast majority of material remains poorly secured.
Mr. President, fiscal year 1998 is one of the peak-activity years for the program, with work in progress at all large Russian nuclear sites compromising many hundreds of tons of highly enriched uranium and plutonium. If we reduce the fiscal year 1998 budget by $25 million, it would kill program momentum, a momentum based on years of negotiations, confidence building, and windows of opportunity.
Mr. President, if we do not restore these program cuts, then I fear that work that has already been done to secure U.S. security interests and establish project foundations would need to be done again at considerable financial, time, and political costs. These costs would be especially great for the high-priority dismantlement and navy sites that we are attempting to secure. For example, security of fresh highly enriched uranium naval fuels is at a crucial stage. It is the largest project with the Russian Ministry of Defense--a key player in the overall nuclear-material security picture. It is crucial to maintain the program momentum. Security upgrades at the first facility are underway, and 6 to 12 additional facilities will be targeted in the 1998-2002 timeframe.
Mr. President, the bottom line is that, in my judgment, the MPC&A Program is one of the two most critical programs the U.S. Government conducts for ensuring the strategic national security of this country. It ranks alongside the equally critical Stockpile Stewardship Program for maintaining the credibility and reliability of the U.S. nuclear deterrent.
Last, Mr. President, our amendment seeks to restore funds to the International Nuclear Safety Program. The Department of Energy is working with the international community to increase nuclear safety worldwide, particularly in those countries of Eastern and Central Europe and the former Soviet Union that operate Soviet-design nuclear reactors.
The program's focus is on projects that improve the operation, physical condition, and safety culture at nuclear power plants; the establishment of nuclear safety centers in the United States and countries of the former Soviet Union; and technical leadership to promote sound management of nuclear materials and facilities.
Mr. President, by way of background, it should be noted that the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear reactor disaster highlighted the dangers associated with all operating Soviet-designed nuclear power reactors, particularly those of the older, Chernobyl-type design. The safety of these reactors is very much in the interest of the United States. Another nuclear accident could well destabilize political and economic conditions in the nascent democracies of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe and cost the United States vast sums in relief assistance.
This International Nuclear Safety initiative is designed to address, through cooperative and technical innovation, the serious global problems in the interrelated fields of nuclear safety and nonproliferation. This activity involves engineers, manufacturers, and scientists from many countries, and upon the DOE expertise in nuclear matters and our national laboratories to conduct this cooperation.
Thus far, Mr. President, the Department of Energy has implemented under this program more than 150 plant-specific safety projects, involving 17 plant sites throughout the former Soviet Union and Eastern and Central Europe, eight design and scientific institutes, and 21 United States commercial companies. Already, under this program, a number of key activities have been completed, including:
Establishing nuclear safety training centers in Russia and Ukraine; transferring United States-style emergency operating procedures to a major Russian plant; completing nuclear safety system improvements at three Russian plants; and establishing the Ukraine International Research Center on Nuclear Safety, Radioactive Waste, and Radioecology.
Mr. President, this last program activity is particularly important. The objectives of the Ukraine Center, located near the Chernobyl plant, include: Providing support for safety improvements for all nuclear power plants in Ukraine; to providing a focal point for international cooperation in addressing the environmental, health and safety issues created by the Chernobyl accident; and reducing the socioeconomic impacts of closing the Chernobyl plant.
Mr. President, the Department of Energy also implements the United States program to assist Ukraine in shutting down the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, including measures for dealing with the deteriorating sarcophagus covering the damaged unit. These activities, however, are funded through another program.
Mr. President, unless we restore the moneys to this program as this amendment seeks to do, we will be unable to proceed with some priority activities in 1998, that include:
Management and operational safety improvements at Soviet-designed nuclear power sites; engineering and technology upgrades at Soviet-designed nuclear power sites; additional detailed plant-specific safety assessments; assistance in the development of an independent nuclear regulator; and support for international nuclear safety data exchanges and cooperative research and development between the Russian International Nuclear Safety Center and the United States Center at Argonne National Laboratory in Idaho.
This program is part of a larger international effort designed to reduce the risks inherent in these Soviet-designed reactors in the near term and to assist Russia and the newly independent states to implement self-sustaining nuclear safety programs and to achieve international nuclear reactor safety norms.
Mr. President, I cannot assure this body that if we fully restore the funding for this program, another Chernobyl will never take place. But I can say that this program request is one of the best policy instruments available to reduce the risk that the world will face another Chernobyl-like disaster.
In summary, our proposed amendment would restore the cuts made by the committee to these programs: $60 million in the cooperative threat reduction programs; $25 million to the MPC&A Program; and $50 million to the International Nuclear Safety Program.
In my view, failure to restore these funds to these important programs could have severe consequences. It could diminish our ability to further reduce the prospect that terrorist or rogue states would acquire weapons-grade material; it could diminish our ability to assist in the permanent removal of missiles , launchers, and other delivery vehicles from the former Soviet strategic arsenal; and it could handcuff our ability, in cooperation with others, to improve operating safety at high-risk nuclear reactor sites in the former Soviet Union and elsewhere, and thus dramatically reduce the risk of further Chernobyls.
I am most hopeful that all of my colleagues will support this amendment.
Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to lay aside the Grams amendment.
The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Thomas). Without objection, it is so ordered.
Mr. LUGAR. Mr. President, I send my amendment to the desk and ask unanimous consent it be made in order.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered. The clerk will report.
The bill clerk read as follows:
The Senator from Indiana [Mr. Lugar], for himself, Mr. Hagel, Mr. Jeffords, Mr. Chafee, Mr. Specter, Mr. D'Amato, Mr. Frist, Mr. Gorton, Ms. Snowe, Ms. Collins, Mr. Kennedy, Mr. Biden, Mr. Kerrey, Mr. Lieberman, Mr. Byrd, Mr. Reed, Mr. Daschle, Mr. Robb, Mr. Bingaman, Mr. Domenici, and Mr. Levin proposes an amendment numbered 658.
Mr. LUGAR. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that reading of the amendment be dispensed with.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
The amendment is as follows:
On page 272, between lines 1 and 2, insert the following:
SEC. 1009. COOPERATIVE THREAT REDUCTION PROGRAMS AND RELATED DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY PROGRAMS.
(a) Decrease in Authorization of Appropriations for Environmental Management Science Program.--Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, the amount authorized to be appropriated by section 3102(f) is hereby decreased by $40,000,000.
(b) Decrease in Authorization of Appropriations for Environment, Safety and Health, Defense.--Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, the amount authorized to be appropriated by section 3103(6) is hereby decreased by $19,000,000.
(c) Decrease in Authorization of Appropriations for Other Procurement, Navy.--Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, the amount authorized to be appropriated by section 102(c)(5) is hereby decreased by $56,000,000.
(d) Decrease in Authorization of Appropriations for Operation and Maintenance, Defense-Wide.--Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the amount authorized to be appropriated by section 301(5) is hereby decreased by $20,000,000.
(e) Increase in Authorization of Appropriations for Former Soviet Union Threat Reduction Programs.--Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, the amount authorized to be appropriated by section 301(22) is hereby increased by $60,000,000.
(f) Increase in Authorization of Appropriations for Department of Energy for Other Defense Activities.--Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, the total amount authorized to be appropriated by section 3103 is hereby increased by $56,000,000.
(g) Increase in Authorization of Appropriations for Department of Energy for Arms Controls.--Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, the amount authorized to be appropriated by section 3103(1)(B) is hereby increased by $25,000,000 (in addition to any increase under subsection (e) that is allocated to the authorization of appropriations under such section 3103(1)(B)).
(h) Authorization of Appropriations for Department of Energy for International Nuclear Safety Programs.--Funds are hereby authorized to be appropriated to the Department of Energy for fiscal year 1998 for other defense activities in carrying out programs relating to international nuclear safety that are necessary for national security in the amount of $50,000,000.
(i) Training for United States Border Security: Section 1421 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1997 (Public Law 104-201; 110 Stat. 2725; 50 U.S.C. 2331) is amended--
(1) by striking out `and' at the end of paragraph (2);
(2) by striking out the period at the end of paragraph (3) and inserting in lieu thereof `; and'; and
(3) by adding at the end the following:
`(4) training programs and assistance relating to the use of such equipment, materials, and technology and for the development of programs relating to such use.'.
(j) International Border Security Through Fiscal Year 1999.--Section 1424(b) of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1997 (110 Stat. 2726; 10 U.S.C. 2333(b)) is amended by adding at the end the following: `Amounts available under the proceeding sentence shall be available until September 30, 1999.'.
(j) Authority To Vary Amounts Available for Cooperative Threat Reduction Programs.--(1) Section 1502(b) of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1997 (110 Stat. 2732) is amended--
(A) in the subsection heading, by striking out `Limited'; and
(B) in the first sentence of paragraph (1), by striking out `, but not in excess of 115 percent of that amount'.
(2) Section 1202(b) of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1996 (Public Law 104-106; 110 Stat. 469) is amended--
(A) in the subsection heading, by striking out `Limited'; and
(B) in the first sentence of paragraph (1), by striking out `, but not in excess of 115 percent of that amount'.
Mr. LUGAR. Mr. President, I thank the Chair, I thank Members for allowing me to offer this important amendment at this time, and I reiterate my hopes that all colleagues will support this activity. I point out the debate describes the substantial achievements of the cooperative threat reduction programs. The difficulty is always getting moneys through the pipeline, but I believe the statement I have given is self-explanatory with regard to these major issues.
Mr. LEVIN. Mr. President, I wonder if the Senator from Indiana would respond to this question before I make my own statement in strong support of his amendment, in gratitude for his amendment, and his leadership in this area. Did I understand the Senator said that he asked consent to lay his amendment aside?
Mr. LUGAR. No. May I respond to the distinguished Senator. I asked the Grams amendment be laid aside and then, having gotten agreement by the Chair, I sent my amendment to the desk and asked for unanimous consent it be made in order, which the Chair granted.
Mr. LEVIN. I thank the Senator. We are hopeful this amendment can be accepted, so I am glad this amendment would not be laid aside. Again, I commend the Senator from Indiana for the extraordinary leadership that he and Senator Nunn, when Senator Nunn was in this body, have shown in this area which contributes so much to the security of this Nation.
One of the most cost-effective and successful defense programs that we have to reduce threats to our country and to enhance our national security is the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program that Senator Lugar and Senator Nunn started in 1991. This program at the Department of Defense, and its companion programs at the Department of Energy, have produced important results in reducing the threat of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and their materials. I was disappointed that the bill before the Senate, as it came before the Senate, does not authorize the funding level requested by the administration for these important programs, so I fully support the Lugar amendment.
In addition to commending Senator Lugar, I particularly want to commend Senator Bingaman for his effort to restore these funds during the Armed Services Committee markup process. Since 1991, these threat reduction programs helped three Newly Independent States, Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan, to completely rid themselves of some 6,000 nuclear weapons that they inherited from the former Soviet Union. The CTR programs have also permitted Russia to implement the START I treaty ahead of schedule, helping eliminate over 800 Russian nuclear missiles and bombers. These are weapons that will never again threaten the United States.
The Department of Energy has worked to secure tons of nuclear weapons materials, primarily plutonium and highly enriched uranium, that were and to a significant extent still are under inadequate safeguards and vulnerable to theft or diversion. Keeping these dangerous materials out of the hands of would-be proliferators reduces the likelihood that nuclear weapons will threaten us. There is just no more important thing that we can do for our Nation's security than to secure these nuclear materials and to eliminate these missiles .
The job, though, is only partly finished, and much more needs to be done. That is why it was so disappointing that the committee bill reduced the budget request for these programs by $135 million, including a reduction of $60 million for the Department of Defense cooperative threat reduction programs; a reduction of $25 million for the Department of Energy Materials Protection, Control and Accounting Program; and a reduction of $50 million, which was the total amount requested for the DOE International Nuclear Safety Program.
Given the great concern that the committee has appropriately expressed for the danger of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and materials and the committee's interest in taking steps to reduce this danger, those reductions were surprising indeed. In my view we should be considering what additional efforts we can take to reduce these threats. While the threat from such proliferation is more likely and immediate than the threat from a ballistic missile attack on the United States, Congress has pushed to increase funding for national missile defense while reducing funding for cooperative threat reduction. We are underfunding the latter program at our clear peril.
There are numerous cooperative threat reduction programs that need to be funded on an urgent basis. For example, Ukraine decided in mid-May to eliminate all of its SS-24 intercontinental ballistic missiles , a decision which the United States encouraged and welcomed. We should help Ukraine eliminate these missiles so that they can never again be used.
Furthermore, there remain large quantities of nuclear materials that need to be secured and accounted for. The list of unfunded cooperative threat reduction and related DOE projects is long and it represents an urgent opportunity for the United States to take tangible and permanent steps to reduce
threats to our security. For a tiny fraction of the defense budget we can accomplish extraordinary gains. The proliferation in nuclear safety problems remains considerably larger and more serious than the response has been so far.
One of the allegations which was made which supported these cuts in committee was that there was $700 million in unobligated cooperative threat reduction funds floating around, and thus it was argued that the cooperative threat reduction programs could absorb a $60 million cut. But that is not the case. The cooperative threat reduction has $513 million in unobligated funds but of this, $200 million will be obligated by the end of the year and all of the remaining $313 million has been committed to specific countries by signed agreements.
On another part of this program, which was the reduction in the DOE Materials Protection, Control and Accounting Program, by the end of June 1997, all of the fiscal year 1997 funds were obligated and sent to the laboratories for implementation.
The assumption that the 1998 fiscal year request can be reduced and offset with uncosted balances from fiscal year 1997 or fiscal year 1996 without programmatic impact is incorrect. The net result of a reduction of fiscal year 1998 funds would be a reduction in the planned programmatic activities. There is a critical need for this program. The materials protection, control and accounting programs have a clear and direct relationship to the national security policy of reducing the amount of fissile material available for threat or diversion.
So, I hope we can be fully up to the challenge of taking advantage of this opportunity to eliminate some of the most serious threats to our security. In order to take advantage of this opportunity, we must at least fully fund these threat-reduction and safety programs at the requested level. I hope in the future the administration and the Congress will agree to provide higher levels of funding for these programs, which, again, are as important to our national security as any programs that I know. So, I am pleased to join as a cosponsor of the Lugar amendment and I hope all of our colleagues will support this amendment.
I yield the floor.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Indiana.
Mr. LUGAR. Mr. President, behind me are some charts that may help Members understand the issues that we are discussing today. I cited, in my opening statement, as did the distinguished Senator from Michigan, the extraordinary work that has been done with cooperative threat reduction over the years. This chart makes it graphically clear--4,500 warheads deactivated. The background of this situation was one that, at the end of the Soviet Union, the time of the dissolution of the Soviet Union, a number of military officers came to this country from Russia, a number came from Ukraine and Belarus, Kazakhstan and other new states--but the four that I cite originally were all nuclear states, and the questions they posed to the administration of our country and Members of Congress who are interested in this, was strictly, we believe--they said, `You have a vested interest in working with us to deactivate warheads,' and indeed we did. Mr. President, these 4,500 warheads that have been deactivated were all aimed at us. That is the heart of the cooperative threat reduction programs--cooperation in reducing the threat to us, of warheads aimed at us.
Likewise, 99 ICBM's have been destroyed. They are no longer in the picture at all, in the process of working through, especially, the nonnuclear status for Ukraine, for Kazakhstan; 140 ICBM silos have been eliminated, they are totally out of the picture, in cooperative threat reduction; 20 bombers have been destroyed, and so forth.
From time to time over the 6 years of the cooperative threat Nunn-Lugar reduction program debates, Members come on this scene--perhaps new to the entire argument--and ask why are we spending money in Russia? Why are we working with Russians on nuclear matters? Mr. President, we are working with Russians to destroy ICBM's, silos, warheads that are aimed at us. In my judgment we ought to do as much of this as we can. I would simply say the thought that some moneys might be nibbled away from the program simply does not meet the security needs of our country. Clearly, we ought to have a high-priority reactivation of all projects that will lead to our security in this area.
Mr. President, let me describe a process that has been discussed in each of the last 6 years. It is namely how do you get from the priority of what you want to do, to money that is available, obligated, and spent? The cooperative threat reduction programs each year have many challenges to overcome before funds can be obligated. In my opening statement I cited the fact it was April of this year before the funds the Congress appropriated last October could get into action. Why? Because, from the very beginning of the Nunn-Lugar CTR program, an extraordinary number of procedural challenges have been placed in the legislation.
They were placed there by those who were, frankly, skeptical that money ought to be spent with the Russians for any purpose. But, in any event, by April of this year, we finally had gone through all the hoops of that situation.
The program requires government-to-government agreement, negotiations then with Russia, with Ukraine, with Kazakhstan, with Belarus, to establish the legal framework for each of these transactions. Each of the implementing agreements has to be negotiated for each project with the ministry responsible in that country for the project.
Once the agreements are in place by country, by project, by ministry, then a definition phase of the project can begin and that can be lengthy as the Department of Defense negotiates the details with the recipient country.
Then a contracting process follows. The Department of Defense uses its standard Federal acquisition regulations for all CTR assistance, normally contracting with United States firms to provide that assistance. That assistance mandates free and open competition and maximum protection of taxpayer dollars, but it is lengthy, Mr. President, having gone through all the hoops of the implementing arrangements and the requirement definitions, then the contracting process, identically the same as it is with the Department of Defense for everything else in the world with U.S. firms, open competition. All of that must occur.
Finally, on an annual basis, DOD must certify the recipient nations are still eligible. We have heard now that Belarus is not, for a variety of reasons, but may become eligible again as its politics and situation may change. Our security problems, with regard to Belarus and those weapons, have not changed, I might add. But once certification, again, is complete, DOD must notify Congress in considerable detail as to how it intends to obligate the appropriated funds. After that notification, and only after that notification, can new agreements of amendments to the existing implementing agreements be negotiated, and only then can DOD obligate the funds which begin the procurement cycle.
Mr. President, from time to time during this 6-year period of time, this lengthy process of certification and notification and renegotiation and bidding and notification of Congress has taken so long that the whole fiscal year is complete, appropriations committees have taken the moneys off the table, and we go back through the whole process of reappropriating what already had been appropriated.
I do not argue with the procedures. I simply say they are tediously careful to make sure that everybody has a very good idea of precisely what is occurring, how U.S. firms, in competition with each other, might deal with it and with full notification of the Congress of all of this.
I reiterated this because I heard in the distinguished other body debate during which it was blandly asserted that there is plenty of money in the pipeline. The argument in the other body no longer centered around the validity of the program but simply said there is lots of money available, no need, really, to further appropriate any more.
I am asserting there is no more money available, as a matter of fact, for a long list of priority things our country should do for our own security, and to nibble away and cut pieces here and there is not in our national interest, it is not good public policy, and that is why it is time to take time to simply reiterate, through the charts, that dollar for dollar, year for year the money is obligated, it is called for, it is spoken for, it is competed for, and it is examined.
Mr. President, we ought to get on with the process so that there is no ambiguity if we want to continue to work with the Russians to destroy ICBM's, take warheads off ICBM's, if we want to contain fissile material that is dangerous, if we want to work with Chernobyl-type reactors so they don't explode, not only creating damage in the countries in which the explosion occurs, but through the fallout damage throughout the world.
This is grim and serious business. For these reasons, I really ask strong support of our amendment. I thank the Chair.
Mr. BINGAMAN addressed the Chair.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New Mexico.
Mr. BINGAMAN. Mr. President, I want to speak briefly in support of this amendment that Senator Lugar has offered and commend him for his leadership on this very important issue. Senator Lugar and Senator Nunn established this program, promoted this program, and have led the Senate in gaining support for this program over these last several years. I see it as one of the few shining examples that we can point to to indicate that we are aware of the new reality, the new post-cold-war reality that we face with Russia and with other former Soviet Union countries.
Let me briefly describe, as Senator Lugar has and Senator Levin has, what the amendment does. It would add or restore to the bill before us amounts that were cut at the subcommittee level to get it back to the level of funding that the administration requested in three different areas. One is what is referred to as MPC&A funds--that stands for materials
protection control and accounting funds--for the Department of Energy. The second is $50 million being restored for the International Nuclear Safety Program, again, in the Department of Energy. And the third item is $60 million that is being restored in the cooperative threat reduction programs which are operated and administered by the Department of Defense.
Mr. President, the legislative provisions that accompany this provide greater flexibility in administering the CTR Program. They allow fiscal year 1997 funds for international border security to be available for obligation for 3 years and allow the Customs Service to use fiscal year 1997 funds that were provided to purchase new equipment to also be used to provide assistance to employees to allow that new equipment to be fully integrated into the operations of the Customs Service.
This amendment and the funds that these programs contain are intended to reduce the danger of so-called loose nukes, or nuclear weapons that might fall into the hands of terrorists, might fall into the hands of people not authorized to have those weapons; also, to help reduce the danger that fissile material, material that is essential to making of new nuclear weapons, not fall into those same hands. The funds are intended to help destroy ICBM silos and launchers in the former Soviet Union and to generally help reduce the risk in the near term from the operation of Soviet-designed nuclear powerplants.
Mr. President, the arguments have been well laid out by Senator Lugar and Senator Levin, as well. This is a program that has accomplished a tremendous amount already in reducing the risk of nuclear weapons.
I had the good fortune earlier this year, about 2 months ago, to travel to Russia and to visit some of the facilities that we are spending funds at to work on these cooperative programs with the Russians. I traveled there with Mr. Paul Robinson, who is head of Sandia National Laboratory, and with others who work with him at Sandia National Laboratory on these cooperative threat reduction programs and Department of Energy programs. I also traveled there with others from the Department of Energy Los Alamos National Laboratory. The general impression I received in visiting Chelyabinsk-70, which is one of the closed cities that the Russians established in order to develop and promote their nuclear weapons activity, the general impression was that these funds are being extremely well used and are, in fact, increasing the security that surrounds fissile materials and other materials that could be used in connection with nuclear weapons.
We met with Minister Mikhaylov who is head of the Ministry of Atomic Energy, MINATOM, and, again, I was impressed with the willingness to continue the cooperation to work with our own Department of Energy in making progress on these programs.
We met with admirals from the Russian Navy. They have a very significant problem of fresh uranium that can be used as fuel in their nuclear reactors, how to secure that, how to protect it from possible seizure by terrorists. They clearly wanted our help. They are obtaining our help. They need substantially more help in the years ahead. I felt good about the level of cooperation that is occurring there.
My general conclusion from the trip was the same as the one stated by Senator Lugar in his statement earlier, and that is that there is a long list of useful projects that funds in these programs can be put to. We are not short of useful activities to work on. The contrary is the case. There are a great many things that the Russians need to do to protect and to reduce the risk of theft of nuclear materials. We are just now beginning to make serious progress on that. The funds that will be restored by this amendment are essential to making that progress. I very much believe that when you look at the entire U.S. defense budget and say, which of the funds are the most cost-effective, where are we getting the most national security return for the dollars spent, the funds being spent in these programs are clearly very high on that list.
So I urge my colleagues to support this amendment, and I hope that we can get a unanimous vote. This is a program that needs bipartisan support. This is not a program that should become the subject of partisan dispute in the U.S. Senate. It is too important to our safety and to our future and to the future of the world for us to find ourselves in some kind of partisan dispute over funds like this or programs like these.
Mr. President, in concluding, I ask unanimous consent that a letter to me from the Secretary of Energy, Federico Pen˙AE6a, dated June 19, expressing his strong support for this amendment be printed in the Record.
There being no objection, the letter was ordered to be printed in the Record, as follows:
The Secretary of Energy,
Washington, DC, June 19, 1997.
Hon. Jeff Bingaman,
Ranking Minority Member, Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, Committee on Armed Services, U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
Dear Senator Bingaman: I am writing to offer my strong support for an amendment that I understand will be offered in the Senate to restore the Administration's budget request for the Department of Energy's Materials Protection, Control and Accounting and International Nuclear Safety programs. Additionally, I support restoration of funds for the Department of Defense Cooperative Threat Reduction program. These programs serve vital U.S. national security interests and seek to forestall the far greater costs that could result from inadequately secured nuclear material and weapons or a nuclear accident like Chornobyl.
The Materials Protection Control and Accounting (MPC&A) program is working to secure hundreds of tons of weapon-usable nuclear materials in the former Soviet Union that are inadequately secured and at risk of falling into the hands of criminal elements, terrorist organizations and rogue nations. If the program were reduced by $25 million as recommended by the Committee, there will be a significant increase in total program costs and a delay in achieving the program objectives by approximately two years. Time and program momentum matter. Less than three years ago, we secured kilograms of material at one site in Russia. Today, the MPC&A program has secured tens of tons of material at 25 sites, and is working at a total of 50 sites where nuclear material is at risk in Russia, the Newly Independent States, and the Baltics. However, unless funds are restored to this program, the work that could secure hundreds of tons of nuclear material at the largest defense-related sites will be in jeopardy. I urge your support for full funding to continue this vital work.
The International Nuclear Safety program is the best policy instrument available to ensure that the world will not face another Chornobyl-like disaster.
It is vital to our overall national security goal of helping to stabilize the former Soviet Union. It supports the independence of Ukraine and Lithuania and the emerging free market democracies of Central and Eastern Europe. The focus is on projects that improve the operation and physical condition of nuclear power plants in the region. The program also enhances the nuclear safety culture and regulatory infrastructure of countries with Soviet designed reactors. Such reactors left behind by the Soviet government continue to operate with deficiencies that, if not corrected, could result in a serious nuclear accident that would severely impact the region's political and economic stability, the environment and our national interests. Restoration of the $50 million program request is essential to help prevent that from happening.
The Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) program has been essential to destroying and dismantling hundreds of ballistic missile launchers, silos, heavy bombers and removal of warheads from strategic systems. Without this program, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakstan might retain nuclear weapons, instead of being nuclear weapons free. The CTR program also supports implementation of an agreement between the U.S. and Russia to ensure that production of weapons-grade plutonium in Russia is stopped by converting the three plutonium production reactors exclusively to a power-producing mode. I support the complete restoration of funds to this vitally important program.
In each of the three areas mentioned, the costs of preventive are much less than the costs of inaction. I urge you to uphold America's leadership, interests and commitments by preserving and fully funding these essential programs.
Mr. BINGAMAN. Mr. President, 6 years ago, the Congress voted to take some dramatic steps to reduce the threat of nuclear terrorism when it approved the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program--CTR. Since that time, as a result of work being done by CTR programs, over 1,400 nuclear warheads that were aimed at the United States or our allies have been removed; 64 submarine ballistic missile launchers have been eliminated; 54 intercontinental ballistic missile silos, 61 SS-18 ICBM's, and 23 strategic bombers have been eliminated. Today, Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan no longer have any nuclear weapons with which to threaten the United States or our allies.
Support for the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program has run high and enjoys bipartisan support. Last year in the Senate, in a 96-to-0 vote, we enacted the Nunn-Lugar-Domenici Defense Against Weapons of Mass Destruction. This program and its companion programs in the Department of Energy have repeatedly withstood attempts to undo the progress that has been made in reducing the threat of nuclear terror. Legislators from both sides of the aisle are able to see the important benefits to the United States, and to understand the need to move beyond cold war attitudes that prevent us from meeting today's national security needs to prevent nuclear terrorism.
This year, the Senate Armed Services Committee voted along partisan lines to cut $135 million from the CTR Program, the Materials Protection Control and Accounting Program, and the International Nuclear Safety Program. The benefits gained from those programs are so important that I must appeal to my colleagues on the floor of the Senate to restore those funds so we can continue the valuable work being done to minimize the possibility that some person or some rogue country could threaten the United States or any other nation with nuclear weapons.
I've already mentioned some of the benefits gained through the CTR Program. Much more work remains to be done to dismantle Russian missile launchers, silos, and aircraft. I urge my colleagues to continue to support this program which reduces the threat to the United States in such a direct manner. The $60 million cut by partisan vote in the committee should be restored in order to continue work that is essential to our national security interests.
The Materials Protection Control and Accounting--MPC&A--Program in the Department of Energy--DOE--is intended to prevent theft of smuggling of nuclear materials that could be used in nuclear weapons or for other forms of terrorism. DOE has put security equipment in place at 18 sites to safeguard those nuclear materials, and agreements are in place to expand security procedures and equipment at 30 additional sites. I recently observed the work being done by this program first hand during a visit to Russia's nuclear research facilities. I felt relieved to know that the Russians are now better able to control and monitor their own nuclear materials than ever before. I am also aware, however, that the Russians have hundreds of nuclear sites needing additional security measures to prevent theft and unauthorized use. A great deal of work needs to be done, and it is important that the Congress continue to fully fund the MPC&A Program in our own national security interest. I ask my colleagues in the Senate to support our amendment to restore $25 million to the MPC&A Program so that this valuable work can continue without pause.
The committee also voted on partisan lines to cut all of the funding requested for the International Nuclear Safety Program--INSP. This program began in the wake of international concerns over the damage done by the Chernobyl nuclear reactor disaster. The Russians continue to operate reactors that are similar in design to the one at Chernobyl, and that pose a similar risk of a catastrophic accident. The INSP Program, managed by the Department of Energy, is designed to reduce those risks for Russia's older reactors and to help Russia and Newly Independent States to establish self-sustaining nuclear safety programs that enable them to reach international nuclear reactor safety standards. It is in our national and international interest to do what we can to ensure that those reactors are safe. I urge my colleagues to vote to restore this important program.
As I suggested earlier, the Congress has repeatedly demonstrated its conviction that CTR, MPC&A, INSP, and related programs serve our national security interests. To those who say these programs are a form of foreign aid to the Russians, I concur that ultimately the Russians must assume full responsibility for these programs. Until they are financially and technologically capable of doing so, it is essential to our own interests that we assist them in putting effective security programs into place. We know how expensive it is to support the strategic offensive and defensive weapons systems designed to ensure our security against nuclear weapons. We also know how dangerous and vulnerable this country could be to nuclear terrorism which, in some cases, we may not be able to effectively protect ourselves from. For those modest expenditures for CTR, MPC&A, and INSP, we buy ourselves a significant measure of security worth many times the funds invested. I urge my colleagues in the Senate to continue their bipartisan support for these programs and vote to restore their funding.
Mr. President, I yield the floor.
Mr. LUGAR addressed the Chair.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Indiana.
Mr. LUGAR. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that a strong letter of support from the Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, and a strong letter of support from William Cohen, Secretary of Defense, for our amendment be printed in the Record.
There being no objection, the letters were ordered to be printed in the Record, as follows:
The Secretary of State,
Washington, DC, June 24, 1997.
Hon. Strom Thurmond,
Chairman, Committee on Armed Services,
Dear Mr. Chairman: I am writing to urge you to support restoration of the $135 million cut from the FY 98 Defense Authorization Bill by the Senate Armed Services Committee for three key arms control and nonproliferation initiatives: the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, the Material Protection Control and Accounting program and the International Nuclear Safety program.
Reducing threats to U.S. national security from the former Soviet arsenal of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons continues to be one of our highest security priorities. Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakstan are today nuclear weapons-free, largely through encouragement and direct assistance from the DOD Cooperative Threat Reduction program. This program has been essential to the destruction and/or dismantlement of nuclear weapons.
The Department of Energy's Material Protection and Accounting (MPC&A) program and its International Nuclear Safety program are also providing essential assistance. The MPC&A program is targeted at improving the security of nuclear material at 40 facilities in the former Soviet Union. Over time, this could prove just as productive as the initial Cooperative Threat Reduction programs in eliminating nuclear weapons. The International Nuclear Safety program, a principal instrument of our efforts to improve the safety of Soviet-era civilian nuclear power reactors, could head off another Chernobyl in the New Independent States and the countries of Eastern and Central Europe.
Congressional reductions in these programs risk eroding our ability to come up with solutions to important security problems and undermine the effectiveness of our initiatives in this region. These programs are making a difference against today's threats to the American people. I urge your support in restoring these funds.
Madeleine K. Albright.
The Secretary of Defense,
Washington, DC, June 19, 1997.
Hon. Strom Thurmond,
Chairman, Committee on Armed Services,
U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
Dear Mr. Chairman: The Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) reduced by $60 million the President's budget request for the Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) program during its consideration of S. 450, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1998. This cut to CTR funding undermines our ability to accomplish the program's important national security goals for FY98, and will put at risk the objectives for fiscal year 1999. I strongly urge the Senate to restore the full CTR request.
The CTR program has been essential to the reduction of hundreds of submarine-launched ballistic missile launchers, intercontinental ballistic missile silos and heavy bombers in the former Soviet Union, and to the removal of 4000 warheads from strategic systems. Without CTR, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakstan might still have thousands of nuclear weapons; instead, they are all nuclear-weapons-free. Although the CTR program has accomplished much, essential work remains to be done. This includes: the elimination of intercontinental ballistic missiles and silos, submarine-launched ballistic missile launchers and heavy bombers under START I, followed by START II and III; increased safety and security for the transport and storage of remaining Russian nuclear warheads; an end to production of weapons-grade plutonium; chemical weapons destruction; and other efforts to reduce weapons of mass destruction in the former Soviet Union and the threat of their proliferation.
Contrary to the SASC rationale for the cut, the loss to the program cannot be made up with prior years' funds. All unobligated CTR funds have already been earmarked for specific projects. The FY98 budget request of $382.2 million is a bare-bones request based on a difficult prioritization of a long list of potential projects. Indeed, there are several worthwhile projects, which would accelerate our strategic arms elimination program sin Russia and Ukraine, that we are not able to fund at even the $382.2 million level. The CTR program is achieving demonstrable results with a very tight budget.
Again, I strongly urge the Senate to support this important national security program.
Mr. LUGAR. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to modify my amendment. On page 2 of the amendment, change line 12, which currently reads, `$56 million' to `$40 million.' I send that modification to the desk.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, the amendment is so modified.
The modification follows:
On page 2 of the amendment change line 12, which currently reads `$56 million' to `40 million dollars'.
Mr. LEVIN. Mr. President, Senator Biden of Delaware, who is a cochairman of the Senate's NATO Observer Group, is necessarily absent to attend the NATO summit in Madrid. Senator Biden is an initial cosponsor of Senator Lugar's and my amendment, and I ask unanimous consent that his statement of strong support for this amendment be printed in the Record.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
The administration's request for the important Nunn-Lugar program is for $382.2 million. Last week, the Armed Services Committee cut $60 million from that important program. At the same time, the House National Security Committee cut $97.5 million from the Nunn-Lugar account, and reportedly those cuts were from different parts of the program. Thus, over 40 percent of the Nunn-Lugar program is now at risk.
The Armed Services Committee also cut $25 million from the Energy Department's program of international assistance in nuclear materials protection, control and accountability, as well as all $50 million in its program of international nuclear safety assistance. The former program is vital to protecting the American people against the diversion of nuclear material from former Soviet laboratories to countries like Iran, Iraq or Libya that would like to build or buy nuclear weapons. It also helps keep nuclear material out of the hands of terrorists, who could use it to poison innocent people in Moscow or Tokyo or Tel Aviv--or right here in Washington. Nuclear safety assistance helps guard against future Chernobyl incidents, which pose fallout dangers far beyond the borders of the former Soviet countries in which they might occur.
The Nunn-Lugar program makes significant contributions to the national security of our country. Through this program, we have helped Russia to remove over 1,400 strategic nuclear warheads from deployment sites to storage areas, to await dismantlement. We have helped Russia to eliminate 64 SLBM launchers, 54 ICBM silo launchers, 61 SS-18 ICBM's and 23 strategic bombers. And we have helped Belarus, Kazakstan, and Ukraine to eliminate their strategic nuclear forces and to repatriate all their nuclear warheads to Russia.
But the work of the Nunn-Lugar program is far from completed. Over 400 Russian SLBM launchers remain to be eliminated. Nearly 100 ICBM silo launchers must still be destroyed, along with over 190 SS-18 missiles and another 7 strategic bombers. Over 130 tunnels must be closed at a former nuclear test site in Kazakstan. Massive stocks of old, but still very dangerous, chemical weapons must be destroyed. And security must be improved in Russian storage and transportation of nuclear material.
There are two basic ways to increase our national security. One is to maintain the finest military and intelligence services in the world. We do that, and I am very glad that we do.
But we do that at great expense, and at some risk. For none of us can guarantee that nuclear deterrence will work forever, especially in a Russia where troops and officers and nuclear scientists go for months without pay--Russia where, within the past year, generals and lab directors have closed the door to their offices and put bullets through their heads, out of despair over what has happened to their programs and their personnel.
The other basic way to increase our national security is to work with potential foes to reduce the threat that they pose to U.S. interests or U.S. forces. We do some of this through arms control agreements, but often we wonder whether other countries are obeying those agreements.
The Nunn-Lugar program is a way to make sure that Russia and other former Soviet states actually do reduce their bloated strategic nuclear forces. It isn't free. The administration has asked for $382 million for this program in fiscal year 1998.
But let's put that in perspective. The defense budget reported out by the Armed Services Committee is $268 billion. So a fully-funded Nunn-Lugar program would cost only one-seventh of 1 percent of the defense budget. The Armed Services Committee added $2.6 billion to the administration's request for defense spending. So the Nunn-Lugar program costs only 14 percent of the increase. And the Armed Services Committee's cut in this program could be restored using only 2.3 percent of that increase.
The Energy Department's program of international assistance in nuclear materials protection, control and accountability--known as MPC&A--is similarly vital to our national security. Just as the Nunn-Lugar program helps the Russian military to improve its security for nuclear materials, the MPC&A program helps dozens of laboratories in the former Soviet Union to improve their security for nuclear materials.
What are we talking about here? Often it's as simple as bars on the windows, locks on the doors, and doors that will take more than a crowbar to open. Just as often, however, the need is for completely revised accountability schemes so that institutions with nuclear materials will always know where those materials are. That is a complicated task, and it requires a change in mind-set as much as changes in forms or procedures.
DOD personnel who participate in Nunn-Lugar programs can relate to the military officers who man Russia's strategic nuclear forces. But it takes scientists to build peer relationships at former Soviet laboratories and spread the word about nuclear control.
Just last month, a committee of the National Research Council [NRC]--an arm of the National Academy of Sciences--reported that the MPC&A program is beginning to have some real success. The NRC committee says: `progress attributable to the joint efforts of U.S. and Russian specialists in MPC&A greatly accelerated in 1995 and 1996' and calls that `a significant political and organizational achievement.'
At the same time, however, the NRC committee found that `the task has not been completed at any Russian facility and serious efforts are only beginning at most facilities.' The committee says that `much remains to be done.' Its principal recommendation on this program is as follows:
For the near term it is essential that the United States sustain its involvement until counterpart institutions are in a position to assume the full burden of upgrading and maintaining MPC&A programs over the long term.
This program is just taking off. If you cut it back now, it may crash. But if, instead, we sustain and encourage this program, we can help former Soviet scientists to turn around what remains, frankly, a truly dangerous situation.
President Yeltsin can assure us, as he does, that Russia would never give or sell a nuclear weapon to another state. But he cannot assure us today that the dozens of Russian laboratories with nuclear materials will not let potential weapons material leak out to criminals, or to terrorists, or to rogue states that we know are willing to pay good money for the material and technology that would enable them to threaten the peace of the world and of our country.
President Yeltsin cannot, by himself, turn this situation around. But we can help him, and that is what the MPC&A program does.
I do not pretend to know what should be cut in the defense bill. But I do know that Nunn-Lugar and the similar Energy Department program are not cash cows to be milked for other defense purposes.
Just as Senator J. William Fullbright will always be remembered for the Fullbright fellowship program, so will Senators Sam Nunn and Dick Lugar be remembered for the simple, brilliant idea that it's more humane and a lot cheaper to pay for destroying Russian weapons than it is to fight against them. Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction projects and the Energy Department's MPC&A and International Nuclear Safety assistance are vital programs. They are successful programs. And they deserve our full support.
I urge my colleagues to vote for Senator Lugar's amendment, which will help make this a safer world for all of us.
Mr. LEVIN. I suggest the absence of a quorum.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
The assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
Mr. HAGEL. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum call be rescinded.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
Mr. HAGEL. Mr. President, I returned with six of my colleagues over the weekend from a day in Bosnia. Majority Leader Lott and five of our other colleagues spent the Fourth of July early in the morning until late at night with our troops and officials in Bosnia.
I think it is appropriate that as we debate the fiscal year 1998 defense authorization bill we reflect just for a moment on the men and women on the ground in Bosnia and the men and women who secure our liberties around the world.
Much of the debate, much of the policy reflect numbers, reflect general overall direction. Increasingly, that policy direction is debated, and should be. But we tend to forget the humanness, the very men and women of what our Armed Forces are all about.
As my colleagues and I, on the Fourth of July in Bosnia, spent a great deal of time with the 8,500 American men and women who are part of that large contingent in Bosnia, I could not help but reflect on what an outstanding job these men and women do for this country, for peace, stability around the world.
I want to add the human dynamic to this debate today, and that will go into tomorrow, on the DOD authorization bill. Because, after all, it is the men and women who are on the ground who are there every day and every night who secure those liberties, for not only this country but for the people in the area of Bosnia.
I tend to think also, when I was an infantryman in Vietnam in 1968, our policy in Vietnam might have been better served, Mr. President, if the Secretary of Defense and more Members of the House and the Senate had come to Vietnam, had spent time with the troops, listening to what they think, listening to their issues and concerns and qualifications, and not unlike wars and peacekeeping missions throughout our history it still is the man and the woman on the ground that we count on to secure those liberties.
Mr. President, I appreciate the time.
I suggest the absence of a quorum.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
The assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
Mr. THURMOND. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum call be rescinded.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
Mr. THURMOND. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to lay the amendment of Senator Lugar aside temporarily, and we will come back to it.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.