Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction

Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction

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The Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) Program (occasionally known as Nunn–Lugar based on a 1992 U.S.
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 law sponsored by Senators Sam Nunn
Sam Nunn
Samuel Augustus Nunn, Jr. is an American lawyer and politician. Currently the co-chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Nuclear Threat Initiative , a charitable organization working to reduce the global threats from nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, Nunn served for 24 years as a...

 and Richard Lugar) is an initiative housed within the Defense Threat Reduction Agency
Defense Threat Reduction Agency
The Defense Threat Reduction Agency is an agency within the United States Department of Defense and is the official Combat Support Agency for countering weapons of mass destruction . DTRA's main functions are threat reduction, threat control, combat support, and technology development...

 (DTRA). According to the CTR website, "the purpose of the CTR Program is to secure and dismantle weapons of mass destruction and their associated infrastructure in former Soviet Union states."

CTR provides funding and expertise for states in the former Soviet Union (including Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

, Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

, Georgia
Georgia (country)
Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

, Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan , officially the Republic of Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to...

, Belarus
Belarus , officially the Republic of Belarus, is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe, bordered clockwise by Russia to the northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest. Its capital is Minsk; other major cities include Brest, Grodno , Gomel ,...

, Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan , officially the Republic of Uzbekistan is a doubly landlocked country in Central Asia and one of the six independent Turkic states. It shares borders with Kazakhstan to the west and to the north, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to the east, and Afghanistan and Turkmenistan to the south....

, and Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan , officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a transcontinental country in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Ranked as the ninth largest country in the world, it is also the world's largest landlocked country; its territory of is greater than Western Europe...

) to decommission nuclear
Nuclear weapon
A nuclear weapon is an explosive device that derives its destructive force from nuclear reactions, either fission or a combination of fission and fusion. Both reactions release vast quantities of energy from relatively small amounts of matter. The first fission bomb test released the same amount...

, biological, and chemical weapon stockpiles, as agreed by the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 under disarmament
Disarmament is the act of reducing, limiting, or abolishing weapons. Disarmament generally refers to a country's military or specific type of weaponry. Disarmament is often taken to mean total elimination of weapons of mass destruction, such as nuclear arms...

 treaties such as SALT II. Under the scrutiny of American contractors, nuclear warheads would be removed from their delivery vehicles, then decommissioned or stockpiled at designated sites in Russia.

In recent years, the CTR program has expanded its mission from WMD at the root source to protecting against WMD "on the move" by enhancing land and maritime border security in the Former Soviet Union.

Objectives and programs

According to the CTR website, CTR has four key objectives:
  • Objective 1: Dismantle FSU WMD and associated infrastructure
  • Objective 2: Consolidate and secure FSU WMD and related technology and materials
  • Objective 3: Increase transparency and encourage higher standards of conduct
  • Objective 4: Support defense and military cooperation with the objective of preventing proliferation

These objectives are pursued and achieved through a variety of programs. Briefly, these include:
  • Biological Threat Reduction Program (BTRP)
  • Chemical Weapons Elimination Program
  • Nuclear Weapons Storage Security Program (NWSS)
  • Strategic Offensive Arms Elimination Program (SOAE)
  • Weapons of Mass Destruction-Proliferation Prevention Initiative (WMD-PPI)

The CTR program is authorized by Title 22 of the United States Code
Title 22 of the United States Code
Title 22 of the United States Code outlines the role of foreign relations and intercourse in the United States Code.—Diplomatic and Consular Service Generally—Consular Courts—United States Court for China—Passports—Preservation of Friendly Foreign Relations Generally—Foreign Diplomatic and Consular...

, chapter 68a.

The FY 2007 CTR Annual Report to Congress provides a status update on the program as a whole and individual initiatives. It also details future planned endeavors in each area.


Under CTR, the U.S. and recipient states have made considerable advancements in global security against the threat of WMD. For example, weapons deactivated and destroyed under this program include:
  • 7,551 nuclear warheads
  • 537 ICBMs
  • 459 ICBM silos
  • 11 ICBM mobile missile launchers
  • 128 bombers
  • 708 nuclear air-to-surface missiles
  • 408 submarine missile launchers
  • 496 submarine launched missiles
  • 27 nuclear submarines
  • 194 nuclear test tunnels

Other milestone results include:
  • 260 tons of fissile material received security upgrades
  • 60 nuclear warhead storage sites received security upgrades
  • 208 metric tons of Highly Enriched Uranium were blended down to Low Enriched Uranium
  • 35 percent of Russian chemical weapons received security upgrades
  • 49 former biological weapons facilities were converted to joint U.S.–Russian research
  • 4 biological weapons sites received security improvements
  • 58,000 former weapons scientists employed in peaceful work through International Science and Technology Centers (of which the U.S. is the leading sponsor)
  • 750 projects involving 14,000 former weapons scientists and created some 580 new peaceful high-tech jobs; The International Proliferation Prevention Program has funded
  • Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan are nuclear weapons free

Problems and politics

The bill's implementation was carefully followed by its sponsors to ensure effectiveness. Senator Nunn left Congress and now heads the Nuclear Threat Initiative, a private organization concerned with nuclear proliferation
Nuclear proliferation
Nuclear proliferation is a term now used to describe the spread of nuclear weapons, fissile material, and weapons-applicable nuclear technology and information, to nations which are not recognized as "Nuclear Weapon States" by the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons, also known as the...


Opponents have worried about costs, whether the bill is a Defense Department welfare program, whether money could be better spent on U.S. military capability including weapons and troops, and also their general suspicion of Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...


Proponents of CTR say it can be considered defense by other means. Enhancing the security of Soviet successor partner states increases U.S. security because it enables countries to prevent the proliferation of dangerous goods and technologies into the hands of rogue states and non-state actors. The September 11, 2001 attacks
September 11, 2001 attacks
The September 11 attacks The September 11 attacks The September 11 attacks (also referred to as September 11, September 11th or 9/119/11 is pronounced "nine eleven". The slash is not part of the pronunciation...

 and the ongoing concern over possible future terrorist activities are also claimed to show the utility of CTR efforts.

Russian initiatives

Volunteers within the Russian social activist network translate or edit English translations of articles on decommissioning, though Western media give it scant attention.

One Nunn–Lugar site, Pavlograd, has dedicated itself beginning in June 2004 to the decommissioning of nuclear missiles without burning their solid rocket fuel, thus preventing dioxins from threatening the local environment and human population. The Pavlograd missile factory PMZ has converted to an advanced astronautics "Space Clipper" program.

One element of Nunn-Lugar established the Defense Enterprise Fund (DEF), intended to be a self-sustaining fund, creating profitable joint ventures with Soviet firms agreeing to convert from production of weaponry to other businesses. An August, 2000 DoD audit revealed that the fund's original $67 million was then worth around $31 million, that mismanagement was widespread, and that no plan for sustainability had been developed or implemented. DEF was eventually closed, with its entire $67M grant apparently lost. A DEF employee, Matthew Maly, has claimed he was demoted and eventually fired, and "blacklisted", for his efforts to alert US officials to the fraud he alleged was taking place within the DEF in Russia. DEF originally claimed to have employed 3,370 former Soviet WMD scientists. Matthew Maly disputed this figure, claiming that no more than 200 of them could have been employed. After an article in Defense Week, the figure was reduced to 1,250, but Matthew Maly kept the pressure on, until the figure was reduced to "there has been a clerical error".

In May 2009, Russia announced the opening of a major facility to decommission its chemical weapons reserves. Built near vast reserves of the former Soviet Union's weaponry at Shchuchye, Kurgan Oblast
Shchuchye, Kurgan Oblast
Shchuchye is a town and the administrative center of Shchuchansky District of Kurgan Oblast, Russia, located on Lake Shchuchye, west of Kurgan...

, in the Ural Mountains
Ural Mountains
The Ural Mountains , or simply the Urals, are a mountain range that runs approximately from north to south through western Russia, from the coast of the Arctic Ocean to the Ural River and northwestern Kazakhstan. Their eastern side is usually considered the natural boundary between Europe and Asia...

, the site is expected to destroy some 5,500 tons of chemical agents, including Sarin
Sarin, or GB, is an organophosphorus compound with the formula [2CHO]CH3PF. It is a colorless, odorless liquid, which is used as a chemical weapon. It has been classified as a weapon of mass destruction in UN Resolution 687...

 and VX
VX may refer to:* VX , a neurotoxic chemical warfare agent* ACES Colombia, a now-defunct airline, IATA code* vx, an airplane's best angle of climb airspeed; see V speeds...

. About one-third of the funding to build the plant, roughly $1 billion, was provided by CTR.

External links