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Nonproliferation and Threat Reduction Assistance: U.S. Programs in the Former Soviet Union

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Congressional research rept.

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Congress passed the Nunn-Lugar amendment, authorizing U.S. threat reduction assistance to the former Soviet Union, in November 1991, after a failed coup in Moscow and the disintegration of the Soviet Union raised concerns about the safety and security of Soviet nuclear weapons. The annual program has grown from 400 million in the DOD budget to over 1 billion per year across three agenciesDOD, DOE, and the State Department. It has also evolved from an emergency response to impending chaos in the Soviet Union, to a more comprehensive threat reduction and nonproliferation effort, to a broader program seeking to keep nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons from leaking out of the former Soviet Union and into the hands of rogue nations or terrorist groups, to a global program to address the threat of weapons of mass destruction. The Department of Defense manages the Cooperative Threat Reduction CTR Program, which provides Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan with assistance in transporting, storing, and dismantling nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. U.S. assistance has helped these nations eliminate the delivery systems for nuclear weapons under the START Treaty, secure weapons storage areas, construct a storage facility for nuclear materials removed from weapons, construct a destruction facility for chemical weapons, and secure biological weapons materials. The State Department manages the International Science and Technology Centers in Moscow and Kiev. These centers provide research grants to scientists and engineers so that they will not sell their knowledge to other nations or terrorist groups. The State Department has also provided assistance with export and border control programs in the former Soviet states. The Department of Energy manages programs that seek to improve the security of nuclear warheads in storage and nuclear materials at civilian, naval, and nuclear weapons complex facilities.

Subject Categories:

  • Government and Political Science
  • Nuclear Weapons

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