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US, EU Participate in Trans-border Field Training Exercise Series with Armenia, Georgia

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Departments of State, Defense, and Energy and the European Commission participated in a series of field training exercises with the Republics of Armenia and Georgia from July 9-13, 2012. The exercises used realistic scenarios to demonstrate and strengthen internal, bilateral and international notification and response procedures that are activated in the event of illicit trans-border movement of weapons of mass destruction (WMD)-related materials.

The governments of Armenia and Georgia work collaboratively with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Second Line of Defense Program, the U.S. Department of Defense’s International Counterproliferation Program and Proliferation Prevention Program, the U.S. Department of State’s Export Control and Related Border Security Program and the European Commission Joint Research Centre to prevent the illicit trafficking of WMD, WMD-related items, and advanced conventional weapons. This week’s exercises strengthen this collaboration and build on existing protocols of the governments of Georgia and Armenia for cross border communication and coordination procedures for response to the detection of the movement of nuclear and other radioactive materials.

“The field training exercises represent a significant milestone in the U.S., EU, Armenia, and Georgia’s shared efforts to combat nuclear terrorism,” said Anne Harrington, Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation at the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. “The radiation detection efforts in Georgia and Armenia demonstrate the need to work with our partners in the international community to reduce the risk of nuclear terrorism, President Obama’s key nuclear security objective. We look forward to our continued work with our international partners to make the world a safer place.”

These exercises follow the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, South Korea, where world leaders, including representatives from both Georgia and Armenia, reaffirmed commitments to international nuclear security. U.S. and EU cooperation with Armenia and Georgia reflects a shared commitment to preventing nuclear and other WMD-related materials from falling into the hands of terrorists, smugglers and proliferators. This exercise also demonstrates the U.S.’s commitment to working with international partners to meet President Obama’s ambitious nuclear security agenda.          

For additional information on the programs involved in the exercise, please see the links below:

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Established by Congress in 2000, NNSA is a semi-autonomous agency within the U.S. Department of Energy responsible for enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear science. NNSA maintains and enhances the safety, security, reliability and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear testing; works to reduce global danger from weapons of mass destruction; provides the U.S. Navy with safe and effective nuclear propulsion; and responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the U.S. and abroad.