Earlier this year, both relevant House and Senate subcommittees decided to fully fund non proliferation programs despite competing funding demands.
However, the Continuing Resolutions passed to keep the government running through December funded most government programs, including non-proliferation programs, at last year’s levels.
In response, the Fissile Materials Working Group (FMWG) put together a letter to members urging them to fully fund these crucial programs at FY-2011 levels.
Below is the full text of the Fissile Material Working Groups letter to Congress.
We urge you to support funding for threat reduction and nonproliferation programs at FY 2011 requested levels in the next continuing resolution oromnibus appropriations bill that Congress must pass to fund the government. This funding is a necessary step to achieve the cooperative international effort to secure all vulnerable nuclear, chemical and biological materials in the foreseeable future.
Most experts agree that the threat of nuclear terrorism is the greatest peril facing our country today. Twenty countries are believed to possess bombgrade nuclear material that is not secure. Nuclear security will require a global effort, but U.S. leadership is critical.
In April 2010, the President convened an unprecedented Nuclear Security Summit in Washington D.C. during which the leaders of 47 nations pledged their support for the four-year goal and made promises to take concrete measures toward achieving it. Numerous bipartisan reports have outlined the urgency of the danger and warned that more needs to be done to ensure that terrorists never obtain a nuclear weapon or materials usable for a nuclear device.
In FY 2011, the Obama administration requested $3.1 billion for international WMD security programs, a $320 million increase over the FY 2010 budget. The FY 2011 request includes significant increases for key threat-reduction and nonproliferation programs at the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and the Department of Defense, including the Global Threat Reduction Initiative, the International Material Protection and Cooperation Program, and the “Nunn-Lugar” Cooperative Threat Reduction Program.
Earlier this year, both relevant House and Senate subcommittees decided to fully fund these important programs despite the current economic climate and competing funding demands.
However, the first Continuing Resolution passed at the end of September to fund the government through December 3 funded most government programs at FY 2010 levels, including programs to secure and safeguard nuclear weapons and materials. This was a setback to efforts to prevent nuclear terrorism because the overall funding request and congressional appropriations for threat reduction in FY 2010 was actually less than the amount Congress appropriated in FY 2009.
There is a bipartisan consensus that limiting access to vulnerable nuclear weapons-usable materials will greatly reduce the threat of nuclear terrorism.
The global financial cost and terrible destruction of a nuclear terrorist attack would dwarf the costs of preventing such an attack.
We urge you to ensure that threat reduction and nonproliferation programs at NNSA and the Department of Defense are funded at the FY 2011 level for the remainder of the fiscal year. Our national security demands it.
Project on Managing the Atom
Harvard Kennedy School of Government
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Federation of American Scientists
Howard L. Hall
The University of Tennessee
Council for a Livable World
Daryl G. Kimball
Arms Control Association
Alan J. Kuperman
University of Texas at Austin
Partnership for Global Security
The Stanley Foundation
Global Green USA
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Peter Wilk, MD
Physicians for Social Responsibility
The Fissile Materials Working Group (FMWG), as it explains on the website, is a coalition of over 40 U.S. experts representing many of the top nonproliferation and nuclear security organizations in the country and also includes several international partner organizations. Members of the FMWG collaborate in a series of meetings designed to create consensus behind top fissile materials priorities, develop actionable policy proposals, and package recommendations for implementation by the U.S. administration and foreign government officials.