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Speech

Presented at the U.S. Industry Coalition Annual Meeting - NNSA's Global Initiatives for Proliferation Prevention Program
Mar 7, 2007
Presented by William Tobey, Deputy Administrator, NNSA

Introduction

Good morning. I am pleased to be here. Six months ago, I came to NNSA from the White House, but prior to that I worked on Wall Street. So, I have deep respect for the private sector, especially its role in advancing U.S. nonproliferation goals. The Global Initiatives for Proliferation Prevention (GIPP) is unique as the only U.S. nonproliferation program that leverages the business community in this way. I know the patriotism of the American business community, and the strong desire of each of you to make the United States safer and more secure.

Today I would like to offer my perspectives on NNSA’s nonproliferation mission, and how your work with GIPP fits in with it.

Combating WMD Proliferation

We live in a dangerous and unpredictable world. The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction represents the most serious threat to the United States and the international community. The threat, while not new, is growing, and taking on new and more complex dimensions. Even where there are signs of progress, such as in North Korea, we know that only a long-term, global, and multifaceted commitment to prevent proliferation can ensure that successes are sustained and new problems are addressed.

Under President Bush’s direction, the Unites States is taking many steps to meet the evolving threat. A center-piece is the National Strategy to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction, which brings together all of our nation’s assets to keep these dangerous weapons away from rogue states and terrorists. Prevention plays an important role in our nonproliferation strategy, and yet we know from our experiences of the past decade that dramatic improvements are needed to preserve and strengthen the international nonproliferation system.

President Bush has recommended new efforts and actions that we are pursuing vigorously. This includes:

  • New legal authorities such as UN Security Council Resolution 1540 – that make proliferation a crime and require all states to control exports and secure at risk materials;
  • New cooperative initiatives to interdict WMD trade and counter nuclear terrorism, i.e., the Proliferation Security Initiative and the Global Threat Reduction Initiative; and
  • New arrangements to promote nuclear energy and strengthen nonproliferation, including the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership and the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism.

This also includes a long track-record of successful cooperation with Russia and countries of the former Soviet Union. NNSA has major responsibilities in the area of materials security and accounting, and I am pleased that these activities are on track and, in some cases, ahead of schedule. I also know that our threat reduction activities, which attract the bulk of our funds and therefore Congressional and public support, tend to grab the highlights, perhaps at the expense of other, quieter, but no less important successes.

GIPP is an example of that. We all know the dangers of WMD scientist recruitment. Foreign technical assistance is a choke point for proliferants. This pillar of our nonproliferation strategy is as essential as more visible, efforts to secure, detect, and eliminate nuclear materials. Even if we secure every kilogram of special nuclear material and radiological sources, the right kind of scientific expertise can be applied to generate more. Therefore, this work must continue.

GIPP has made significant contributions to nonproliferation in Russia and the former Soviet Union. The former Soviet Union's weapons complex remains the largest repository of WMD materials and expertise overseas. Ensuring that these scientists are not recruited by rogue states and terrorist organizations remains a priority. And this threat is not limited to former Soviet states. For this reason, we have begun new scientist engagement programs in Iraq and Libya.

I’ve been preparing for Congressional testimony on the full range of our programs and activities. I’ve been impressed not only by the number of scientists engaged, but also by the amount of both private-sector contributions to GIPP projects and private capital raised by USIC member companies. The unique public-private partnership forged by GIPP and USIC shows of how the innovation and creativity of the private sector can be extended to support our nation’s security.

Conclusion

A key to our nonproliferation efforts is ensuring that we plan, anticipate, and adjust our approaches to meet an evolving threat environment.

GIPP is doing this. We are adapting the business model developed for the former Soviet Union to be more flexible as we engage new countries of concern. Our relationship with Russia has evolved, and how we design and implement our national security and nonproliferation programs must change with it.

Let me emphasize: the work you do in the former Soviet Union is critical and it will continue to be so into the future. We remain committed to our nonproliferation mission in the region. The ability to bring commercialization opportunities to scientific institutes is an essential and unique element of the U.S.-F.S.U. approach to nonproliferation.

At the same time, we have opportunities to expand our scope of cooperation, even if the commercialization component is not evident right at the start. For example, the Administration has recently formed the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership. The GNEP mission is to promote the expansion of civilian nuclear energy worldwide in ways that are environmentally sound and promote nonproliferation objectives. For this effort to succeed, international technical collaboration will be essential and we plan to engage Russian scientific institutes in this endeavor. So, even as we move with Russia to a relationship of equal partnership, from one of donor and beneficiary, the relationships established by GIPP will be vital.

I congratulate and admire your 12 years of dedication to nonproliferation, and look forward to continued success. Thank you, and I am happy to take questions.