NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 1998 (Senate - July 09, 1997)

[Page: S7093]

AMENDMENT NO. 658

Mr. LEVIN. Mr. President, on behalf of Senators Lugar, Bingaman, and other cosponsors, I ask to call up amendment No. 658 that would restore the funds requested in the President's budget for the Department of Defense Cooperative Threat Reduction Program and related programs at the Department of Energy.

I ask unanimous consent at this point that Senator Glenn be added as a cosponsor.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

MODIFICATION TO AMENDMENT NO. 658

Mr. LEVIN. I send a modification to the desk. I believe this amendment has been cleared by the other side.

Mr. WARNER. That is correct, Mr. President.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, the amendment is so modified.

The modification follows:

On page 2 of the amendment change line 12, which currently reads `$56 million' to `40 million dollars'.

Mr. GLENN. Mr. President, I rise to speak as a cosponsor of the amendment offered by my colleagues, Messrs. Bingaman, Levin, Lugar, Domenici, and others, to restore $60 million to the Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) Program, $25 million to the Department of Energy's Materials Protection Control and Accounting [MPC&A] Program, and $50 million to the International Nuclear Safety Program. The administration requested these funds because they are needed to serve our national security interests. I have heard or seen nothing to dispute this basic conclusion and therefore strongly support the full requested amounts.

These funds serve our interests because they work to alleviate one of the gravest national security threats facing our nation. Acknowledged by the President and Congress, by liberals and conservatives, by the House and the Senate, by Republicans and Democrats alike--indeed by all thinking Americans--this threat arises from the dangers all of us would face from the further erosion of Russia's ability to protect its weapons-usable nuclear materials and the technology and dual-use goods needed to produce them. In light of this broad national consensus, I find it hard to understand why we are here today debating a proposal to slash the funds for the programs designed to alleviate this very threat.

Congress should, of course, give close scrutiny to all Federal programs to see if further economies can be made. No one should look upon the Nunn-Lugar program as immune from vigorous congressional oversight. But when one considers the magnitude of the potential threats our country faces from these deadly materials, and considers these threats in light of the genuine progress that has been made (thanks to Nunn-Lugar) in reducing clear and present nuclear dangers in the former Soviet Union, it should be clear to all that Congress has, if anything, short-changed this program rather than over-funded it.

I find these proposed cuts all the more remarkable given the committee's apparent determination to shovel hundreds of millions of additional taxpayer dollars at the National Missile Defense Program, despite the disturbing implications of that program for the future of the Antiballistic Missile [ABM] Treaty, and despite any serious accounting for precisely how these additional funds will be spent.

In 1991, a far-sighted bipartisan coalition gathered to support a proposal offered by our colleagues, Messrs. Nunn and Lugar, to curb present and potential future proliferation threats emanating from the collapse of the Soviet Union. In 1997, there continues to be a strong consensus both in Congress and across America that it is in our collective national interest to address these threats. Some misinformed commentators have attacked the CTR and MPC&A programs as a form of `subsidy of Russia's nuclear security' or `foreign aid.' Perhaps what the critics fear most is that the programs might actually succeed in achieving their ambitious goals, and thereby reduce the need for our government to spend additional billions more to address these grave foreign threats.

I will leave it for others to speculate further about what must be motivating critics of the Nunn-Lugar program--and some of these criticisms might occasionally even be on target--but I remain convinced that the modest funds our country is allocating to CTR and MPC&A efforts are not only well within our means, but vital to our long-term national security and nonproliferation interests. And these funds are truly modest, compared against the billions we continue to spend on such programs as the B-2, the ever-expanding National Missile Defense program, the airborne and space-based laser programs, and other dubious programs that are well funded in the present bill. A $135 million cut to these Nunn-Lugar activities is the last thing this program needs. What, after all, has the program already accomplished?

The CTR Program has worked and continues to work to ensure that significant numbers of strategic Soviet nuclear weapons will not be available for use against the United States and its friends and allies around the world. The program has worked to help reduce the risk of nuclear materials finding their way into black markets in unstable regions around the world. The program has worked to facilitate the removal of all nuclear weapons from Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakstan. The program has worked to help remove over 1,400 nuclear warheads from Russia's strategic weapons systems, and to eliminate hundreds of delivery vehicles for such systems, including submarine launched ballistic missile launchers, ICBM silos, and strategic bombers.

The committee has claimed that the CTR Program can be cut because the loss could be made up with prior years' funds. Yet, Defense Secretary Cohen wrote to the chairman of the committee on June 19 that `All unobligated CTR funds have already been earmarked for specific projects'. The CTR Program continues to serve the national interest by helping to eliminate strategic arms programs in Russia and Ukraine--if anything, Congress should be debating today measures to accelerate these efforts rather than to chop them back. The committee's proposal would only work to convert the CTR Program into a competitive threat renewal program.

A few years before Congress made the mistake of eliminating the Office of Technology Assessment, that organization produced an excellent report entitled, `Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction: Assessing the Risks' (OTA-ISC-559, August 1993). On page 6 of that report, readers will find the following unambiguous finding:

`Obtaining fissionable nuclear weapon material (enriched uranium or plutonium) today remains the greatest single obstacle most countries would face in the pursuit of nuclear weapons.'

Those were OTA's words, `the greatest single obstacle' to proliferation. Now, what kept Saddam from getting the bomb sooner than he could have? Access to special nuclear material. What is America's leading defense against future nuclear terrorism? Limiting access to special nuclear materials. We should not be cutting programs that help Russia to serve our common interest in limiting international trafficking in special nuclear materials. We should instead be reaffirming and even

expanding such programs. Helping Russia to serve our interest in these ways is not foreign aid, it is part and parcel of our national defense strategy.

The MPC&A programs run by the Department of Energy work specifically on this problem of enhancing controls over these special nuclear materials, plutonium and highly enriched uranium. I have seen the letter that the Energy Secretary sent to the chairman of the committee on June 19--Secretary Pen˙AE6a wrote that the proposed $25 million cut in the MPC&A program would lead to a 2-year delay in achieving key program objectives. This program deserves our full support. After all, as Secretary Pena says, this program has secured `tens of tons' of nuclear material at 25 sites, and is working on enhanced controls at a total of 50 sites where this material is at risk in Russia, the Newly Independent States, and the Baltics. When we consider that we are dealing with a problem involving hundreds of tons of such material, it hardly seems wise for us now to be cutting back on our efforts to address this formidable threat to our national security.

Another program cut by the committee is the International Nuclear Safety Program. That program is essentially an investment to reduce the risk that fallout from a future Russian nuclear reactor accident will not once again--only a few years after the disastrous Chernobyl accident--be falling down from the sky on United States citizens and other people around the world. There is no fallout defense initiative--or FDI, so to speak--in this bill that would offer any shield over our country or the territory of our allies against such radioactive debris from a future reactor explosion in Russia. The best initiative of this nature is the one in this amendment, to restore the funds needed to enhance the safety and security of certain old Soviet-designed power reactors in the Newly Independent States and Russia.

So, in conclusion, I believe that the bipartisan consensus behind Nunn-Lugar, which is represented in this bipartisan amendment offered today, is alive and well because it addresses genuine threats to our security. I hope all Members will support full funding for these programs.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, the amendment is adopted.