by Kingston Reif and Duyeon Kim NUCLEAR SECURITY SUMMIT 1 YEAR ANNIVERSARYBy Duyeon Kim and Kingston Reif, April 11, 2011 One year ago, President Barack Obama hosted a historic Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, DC aimed at preventing nuclear terrorism. The Summit proved to be a success in that it raised international awareness at the highest […]
As some of you may already know, on Thursday the Center’s sister organization Council for a Livable World launched a national ad campaign targeting six Republican leaders in the House and Senate to highlight their support for reckless cuts to vital nuclear security programs that keep our nation safe from the threat of nuclear terrorism. The current stopgap Continuing Resolution that is currently funding the government cuts approximately $550 million from the President’s FY 2011 request for the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Account. The year long CR proposed by House Republicans in February would cut funding for this account by nearly $650 million below the FY 2011 request.
Rachel Maddow had a nice segment on the campaign on her show Thursday night. More info on the ads can be found here. More info on the essential programs and budget cuts that are the subject of the ads can be found here.
In response to the ad that ran in Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
“Washington can cut spending without compromising our national defense, and the continuing resolution simply prevents further spending increases from taking hold. Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, warned last year: ‘I think the biggest threat we have to our national security is our debt.’ As we act to get our fiscal house in order, it is critical that we prioritize spending and address our nation’s most pressing fiscal, economic, and security challenges.”
Ryan’s claim that the cuts to nuclear security programs do not compromise our national defense is demonstrably false. If Ryan gets his way, hundreds of kilograms of dangerous nuclear weapons usable material would remain unsecure. Ryan simply dodges the fact that vital programs within the Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Account counter the most serious threat confronting our national security; namely, the threat of nuclear terrorism.
But don’t take NoH’s word for it.
A day after Ryan insisted that he’s protecting national security by cutting the nuclear security budget, Republicans and Democrats on the House Strategic Forces Subcommittee issued a strong rebuke to the new Budget Committee Chairman.
In a March 23 letter to Ryan spearheaded by Subcommittee Chairman Mike Turner (R-OH), 9 Republicans and 7 Democrats expressed their “deep concern about the effects H.R. 1 will have on the Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 and possibly FY 2012 funding for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA).” These budget cuts can’t be sustained, the letter concludes, “without jeopardizing nonproliferation efforts to reduce the risk of nuclear terrorism.”
The message the Subcommittee is sending to Ryan is clear: Short changing the budget for vital nuclear security programs makes America less safe.
Much attention is on the U.S. and South Korea that they may resume food aid to North Korea as UN food agencies prepare to release a report this week. Questions have already been raised as to whether it will help warm diplomatic ties that would then lead to an eventual resumption of diplomatic dialogue over Pyongyang’s nuclear programs.
The U.S. and North Korea are said to be planning a meeting next month to discuss a possible resumption of rice to the North. The meeting is said to be aimed at discussing the conditions required before Washington makes a decision on feeding the North after massive food aid was halted in 2008. Such conditions include proper monitoring mechanisms to ensure that the rice would reach those in need and not to the North’s military.
The World Food Programme is expected to release a report on Friday, March 25th in Rome on the North’s food situation. Some North Korea watchers suspect Washington will eventually send food shipments in the name of humanitarian aid, but the question is how much.
Some critics even say it is a U.S. attempt to pay the North for a resumption of diplomatic dialogue, but Washington officials have consistently reiterated that they will not pay for talks.
Until now, the U.S. has refrained from sending food aid to the North after apparently having assessed the hunger situation as far less serious than that of previous years, and suspecting Pyongyang’s intentions. Many believe the North’s plea to the international community for food and citation of its economic woes are an attempt to stock up on massive gifts for its people next year. 2012 is when Pyongyang claims the doors will open to becoming a “mighty and prosperous nation” and is also the 100th birthday of the regime’s late founder, Kim Il-sung.
South Korea is also reportedly considering the continuation of food assistance but in the form of “branded food” including corn, beans, and vitamins, which are perishable and cannot be stored for long periods of time like rice. North Korea has constantly been scrutinized for siphoning off rice aid to feed its military and not the hungry. One senior Seoul official has called the potential branded food provisions “smart aid” to be delivered to babies, children and the malnourished. Seoul had halted aid to the North after the sinking of the Cheonan naval corvette and shelling of Yeonpyeong Island last year.
But the nuclear menace we face is broader than simply that of traditional nuclear weapons. The crisis in Japan is a dramatic demonstration of the real-world threat resulting from nuclear material over which we have lost control. A radiological bomb tha…
by Duyeon Kim Published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists on March 18, 2011. Fukushima and the Seoul 2012 Nuclear Security Summit By Duyeon Kim | 18 March 2011 In considering the implications of Fukushima for the 2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Summit, many experts in the United States would probably argue that there are […]