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Senators Nunn and Lugar leave the White House in 1991 after briefing President George H.
Bush on the Nunn–Lugar legislation

The Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) Program (occasionally known as Nunn–Lugar based on a 1992 U.S.marker law sponsored by Senators Sam Nunn and Richard Lugar) is an initiative housed within the Defense Threat Reduction Agencymarker (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."[81999]

CTR provides funding and expertise for states in the former Soviet Union (including Russiamarker, Ukrainemarker, Georgiamarker, Azerbaijanmarker, Belarusmarker, Uzbekistanmarker, and Kazakhstanmarker) to decommission nuclear, biological, and chemical weapon stockpiles, as agreed by the Soviet Unionmarker under disarmament 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.[82000]

Objectives and programs

According to the CTR website[82001], 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.[82002] 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, 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.[82003]


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:
  • 6,312 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

The impact of CTR, particularly as an aide to the Global War on Terrorism, is undeniable. By securing critical sources and technologies, in conjunction with increasing border security, CTR works to decrease the likelihood of WMD terrorism by denying actors many of the tools needed for wide scale devastation.

Problems and politics

The bill's implementation was carefully followed by its sponsors to ensure effectiveness. Senator Nunn left Congress but now heads the Nuclear Threat Initiative, a private organization concerned with nuclear proliferation issues.

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 general suspicion of Russiamarker.

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 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.

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 Oblastmarker, in the Ural Mountainsmarker, the site is expected to destroy some 5,500 tons of chemical agents, including Sarin and VX. About one-third of the funding to build the plant, roughly $1 billion, was provided by CTR.

See also


External links

Source: based on information found at Senator Richard G. Lugar's website on the Nunn–Lugar Program [82004].

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