Fifth Panel Discussion Questions and Answers

Fifth Panel Discussion Questions and Answers

JOHN M. DEUTCH Questions

The Nunn-Lugar effort addresses an issue of broad international interest. To what degree have our allies taken actions of substance in this area, including commitment of resources? If the answer is none, why not? What is our position on pushing this issue with our allies?


The one area where we have had substantial support from allies has been in a program we have not described to you this morning, but it is an important and integral part of what we are doing here. This is setting up a science center in Moscow and Kiev to provide employment in nonweapons areas to nuclear scientists and technicians who were employed in the former Soviet nuclear program.

The objective of this program is to keep these scientists from wandering out of Russia into Libya, Iraq, and Iran by giving them alternative means of employment. We know for a fact that there is intensive recruiting going on in Russia to try to hire these scientists. This program was set up for that purpose and, it has substantial support from two of our allies. More of the half of the total support for it comes from allies.

SAM NUNN Answers

If I could add to that, I think we need to push that part of it. The Nunn-Lugar program focuses mainly on chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons and scientists who are dealing in those areas, as well as missile technology. I think we need a much broader look at the Soviet scientific community. I mean by "Soviet" the states of the former Soviet Union, not just Russia.

At the national level we need to encourage every university and scientific group in this country during this crucial period. So many former Soviet scientists are really without means to sustain themselves and their families. We need to get them over here and have our people over there. We need a maximum exchange program. I would like to see every university that is involved in research in the United States have at least former Soviet state scientists on board for the next year or two, maybe on a rotating basis. We need to have a national initiative in this regard. It will be a colossal failure of initiative if we let these scientists end up dispersed all over the globe doing all sorts of things that may not contribute to world stability.

JOHN M. DEUTCH Questions

Why has United States funding for United States/Russian scientist-to-scientist cooperative research been so meager and so slow in coming? Can and will this change? It seems that there is an ambiguity in Congress about their willingness to see Nunn-Lugar program resources used for scientists-to-scientists programs. Is that correct, Senator Nunn?

SAM NUNN Answers

We had to draw that program in a narrow way so that it would be aimed primarily at weapons of mass destruction. The further away you get from that, the more you jeopardize the program. This program is not sufficient. It is a very good start, but we either need to broaden some of its own applications, or we need to create other funds that would go beyond the weapons of mass destructions and scientists involved in that. That is what I was just alluding to. We need a major program, because there are all sorts of conventional weapons that can be used almost like weapons of mass destruction, and there are all sorts of scientists over there that know how to make conventional weapons or soon could. They have tremendous scientific talent in those former Soviet Union countries.


Saying that it was narrowly drawn certainly describes the situation politically. A good number of senators on both sides of the aisle were hostile. We drew up a program that targeted weapons of mass destruction, and it was a chaotic situation. We could not sell it.

From that point onward, we all learned much more about the conversion situation and about the science situation. We visited with a lot of these people. This was sort of a hands-on, on-the-ground type of operation, not legislation from afar. We have been working with our colleagues ever since to try to think through and understand what all is involved in this. That is why we come to you today with an appeal to help us. There has to be a much broader American understanding of our security interests. It clearly affects these scientists as well as transparency and accountability. I often see in my mind a large vat with all the highly enriched uranium which we know is there. You can count it and see it in both the United States and in Russia, and then we put pressures on others for accountability, working from the strength of that relationship with the Russians which is considerable amidst of all the headlines about turmoil and pragmatic politics and the end of the honeymoon. We have our work cut out for us. It is always missionary work, both here and abroad.


We have got a situation right now that will come up in the next week sometime. The logic will be that if Russia goes forward with the sale of reactors to Iran (which the Administration properly opposes and I think we need to vigorously oppose that,) that we ought to cut off Nunn-Lugar and all other funding. I suppose the logic is if we are going to see Russia sell weapons to Iran, we also want to keep Russian weapons pointing at us. That is the only logic I can see to cutting the Nunn-Lugar program as a retaliation. It would be an act of destruction in terms of our national security, but that is the logic we are in right now.

I think we have amendments on the floor of the House and Senate to cut off every single bit of aid to Russia based on this Iranian sale of reactors probably within two months. So we are really going to need the scientific community. I see this as similar to the time after World War II, from 1945 to about 1950. We are in a very formative period in terms of the next 20 to 30 years, and what we do in the next couple of years is going to determine a great deal about the future of our children and grandchildren.

We have never had a crisis like this in terms of the challenge, and we probably never had less public understanding about the nature of this challenge. It is a proliferation challenge of tremendous magnitude, but it is not commonly understood. I have never yet had an audience that I spoke to that did not understand it when I got through explaining it. It is something that is not hard to explain. It is awfully hard to have access to the media to get the mass information out there, and I think we are really going to need the scientific community to help explain the context of where we are in this point of history.


Senator, I would ask you not to answer the questions until I have read them! Should the Russian deal with the nuclear reactor deal with Iran, assuming it goes through, be allowed to derail the CTR program?


I would like to add just one additional comment on the broader problem with the broader set of Russian scientists and engineers, besides those narrowly tied to the nuclear weapon program. These have been described rightly as a potential problem for United States security, but I want to also emphasize that there are opportunities there as well as problems. I have met many of these scientists and engineers. I have been to many of their research facilities and laboratories. This is an amazingly competent, diverse, broad group of talented technical people. The opportunity to use them in an effective way for the good not only of their country, but of our country as well, is very real. Indeed they pose a problem, but there is an opportunity there to be seized as well.

JOHN M. DEUTCH Questions

Do you believe that the cooperative threat reduction program will prosper under the new plan to parcel out key components to the Departments of Energy, Commerce, State, and other agencies? Will this Balkanization process make it more difficult for the President to use the cooperative threat reduction effort in pursuit of broad United States foreign policy objectives? Will it also become more difficult for the different government agencies to secure funding for these programs if they are no longer within the DOD budget?


I am not terribly concerned about the Balkanization as described in the question. It would probably surprise many in the audience to know that the different government agencies working in this problem in Defense, State, National Security, and Energy actually are working very closely together and have a clear and common vision about what it is we are trying to do. I described one of my trips to the Russian Ukraine. I have made actually two or three trips in the last year and a half and I am making another one this weekend. With me on this trip will be senior representatives from those other agencies. We are working together with a very clear vision and a common purpose for what we are trying to accomplish. For that reason, I am not concerned about what you are describing.


Here is a different question. It appears that the Nunn-Lugar funds are being used to prop up Russia's nuclear weapons program. I have heard the statement that 20 percent of the Russian nuclear weapons laboratory budget is now being paid for by the United States. Can this be in our interest?


I had intended to answer that question with my talk. The brief opening comments that I made noted that what we are doing with those funds is forming joint alliances between American companies and segments of Russian defense enterprises, the purpose of which is commercial production. The funds do not I repeat, do not go to the Russian enterprise. They go to the American company who then uses them specifically develop this commercial production. The American company also is required in the proposal they make to us to provide their own funds, as well typically on a 50-50 matching basis sometimes as much as two or three to one matching.

The reason for that requirement is not only to get more for the government dollars we are spending, but most importantly so that the criteria about what is being done will be basically a judgment made by the American company. If they were simply applying for grant money, they could think all of sorts of reasons for doing this program, but if they are spending their own money as well, then they have to be persuaded that there is business merit to the proposal.

The business merit revolves around the commercial product that is being manufactured. No, this is not in any sense propping up components of the Russian defense industry. It is converting them. It is causing both the people and the facilities to be diverted over into other enterprises which result in development and production of commercial products.

JOHN M. DEUTCH Questions

In these days of budgetary authority and deficit reduction efforts in Congress, is Congress willing to provide the funds needed to make the Nunn-Lugar successful? What steps can be taken to improve the program presentation to Congress in this regard?


One of the purposes of our panel today is to try to gain a larger forum. As Senator Nunn said, we need a mass understanding of the criteria and priorities of this. I think the budget situation will be a very difficult battle. We are bound to have an ongoing debate throughout the entire end of the year. We may revisit it again and again, but I think we are of a mind that this is vital to our national security, and therefore it needs to remain at least at the current level of funding. That certainly will be our quest in a bipartisan way.

JOHN M. DEUTCH Questions

How about the balance between the chemical and biological efforts and nuclear efforts in Nunn-Lugar, Senator? Is there a sense of what you think that balance should be?

SAM NUNN Answers

I think that it is not as balanced as I would like to see it. More focus has been on the nuclear side mainly because the Russian nuclear side has been more willing to work with us and as have the Kazakhstan, Belarus, and Ukraine nuclear side. The chemical side has been more difficult because of the personalities of some of the people we are dealing with.

To me, the chemical side is the area where the whole world has much at stake. The Tokyo subway tragedy was a good example of what I am afraid may be the terrorist choice of weapons in the future. I think the chemical side deserves a great deal of attention, not just in the program but worldwide to determine how we are going to try to deal with this situation. Biological is much more difficult, because the Russians basically do not acknowledge some of the things that we suspect have happened in the biological area. We are not quite sure how much some leaders really know about that, but Bill could probably take it from there.


The situation is as Senator Nunn describes it. In the last four to five months we have made some real progress in the chemical area, particularly in assisting the destruction and demilitarization of chemical weapons. I see that as a potential major breakthrough in the chemical area.

There is very great potential for conversion in the biological area. We have not made progress there, because we have not been able to get a full and open discussion of what the biological program is (or was) or how it could be dismembered. I am by no means pessimistic on that. I have continued to work that program, and I continue to believe we will have success there. In sum, most of the progress has been in nuclear. Just in the last few months we have started a major program in chemical demilitarization. The biological program is important, but there is no progress to date. We must still continue to try.


Slowness in initial implementation of the Nunn-Lugar program resulted in a negative psychological effect in states of the former Soviet Union, since their hopes were first elevated and then dashed. What is the impact of the slow implementation on expectations in the states of the former Soviet Union?


That is a very good point. Expectations were not only higher than we have achieved, but probably higher than we ever had any possibility of achieving. In just the six months, there have been substantial projects started in this area. One of the purposes of my visit over there is to highlight them to the Russian and Ukrainian public so they can see the progress that is being made in this area.

We have joint ventures now underway that are actually manufacturing dental equipment, manufacturing air traffic control equipment, bottling soft drinks, and conducting scientific research in areas of interest in the medical field. All of these programs are now underway. We see tangible progress coming out of it, so I think that highlighting these programs will be a substantial help.

In terms of expectations, we are talking about a relatively small amount of resources to deal with a very large problem. The 20 percent or so of the Nunn-Lugar funds amounts to about $80 million a year dealing with a defense industry which is substantially larger than the United States defense industry it spent tens of billions of dollars a year for defense programs.

From the beginning we have taken the position and have tried to explain to the Russians that the Nunn-Lugar program cannot convert this defense industry. We do not have enough resources to do that. We can only serve as a model for how the conversion should take place and as a magnet for attracting other funds.

The real test will be whether these small model programs we started, the pilot programs, are successful in attracting large sources of private funds. I am taking with me on this trip, ten CEOs of major United States companies who either have investments in Russia or in Ukraine or are contemplating making major investments focused on defense conversion. I am also taking Ruth Harkins with me, who is president of OPIC, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation. She has set a fund of $500 million specifically for investments in defense conversion in those countries.

This provides the amplifying funds necessary to follow up on what I would call first-round seed capital investments being made with Nunn-Lugar. From a venture capitalist point of view, the venture capitalist makes the seed capital investments, but then some large source of funds is needed to come in for the second and third rounds of investments. That is what we see coming from private industry and OPIC. The purpose of bringing the CEOs and OPIC along on this trip is to let them see with their own eyes the early stages of what we are doing with Nunn-Lugar so that when the second round of investments much larger sources of funds become necessary next year, they will be there and they will be ready.

The expectation problem has two aspects to it. First of all, we were slow getting off the block, for the reasons that have already been discussed, but we are now functioning. Secondly, and more importantly, we are only a small part of what needs to be done. The second and third round of financing is still ahead of us, and we are trying to accelerate the date. We hope to pass the baton quickly and efficiently from what we are now doing on Nunn-Lugar to private and OPIC-type investments, which will make the second and third round.


There is a widespread impression that the Defense Department is not very interested in conversion of the defense industry in the former Soviet Union to civilian purposes. How broad do you make this Nunn-Lugar effort in the Defense Department?


If I had my way, I would make it very broad. I think we are in a crucial period of time. The more we can give them the incentive to convert their own defense industry, the better off the world is going to be whatever regime may emerge two, three, or four years from now.

Looking at the reality on Capitol Hill, to enlarge the purposes of the Nunn-Lugar program or to move much further down the line on defense conversion than we have already gone would jeopardize the whole program. I do not want to jeopardize the whole program. I think we have got to keep the core program focused and narrowed toward weapons of mass destruction. I think we have to make sure that everyone understands it is not a perpetual program that we are going to have it expire around the turn of the century. If we do not, the whole program could be shot down in the atmosphere we are in at the moment.

Yes, we ought to have a much broader focus. We have a tremendous vvstake in the kind of world that our children and grandchildren are going to face. The years to come are going to be determined by what Russia ends up being, in terms of a democracy and a market economy-- if they make it. History tells us that it is going to be difficult. Some people take the fatalistic view that historical reading indicates that it is hopeless. I do not view that. That is self-fulfilling prophecy, and history will judge us harshly if we do not do what we can on the margins and I admit it is on the margins to give them assistance where assistance can help.

The main thing, though, is private development. What Bill Perry is doing in terms of taking CEOs over there is the key. Government funding is going to do only a limited amount here. The main thing in terms of the overall economy is going to be the question of private investment. That requires a whole set of things they have to do in terms of rule of law and getting control of some of their crime problems which are very serious and overlap into this proliferation area.

The ultimate horror is a combination of proliferation, broke scientists, disgruntled miliary, and organized criminal elements operating not just in Russia, but all over the world. That is the ultimate kind of danger we face. There is a law enforcement issue here. The FBI has a big role to play. I have talked to FBI Director Louis Freeh about it a number of times. He recently made a trip to Russia. We are only on the margins there, but it is imperative that we help them develop a better law enforcement system.


This question of economic development in Russia and other related nations is very important. The answer to that problem is not expanding Nunn-Lugar. The program for dealing with that (to the extent that we are making an important contribution to the United States government) is a different vehicle called the Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission. This is a joint United States-Russian Commission chaired by Vice President Gore on the United States side and Prime Minister Chernomyrdin on the Russian side. It is specifically directed to promote cooperation leading toward economic development in Russia. This has been a very active and very productive Commission.

The defense conversion which is being done in Nunn-Lugar is just one of the committees of the Commission and works in cooperation with the other committees. It involves an activity in the Department of Energy which is focused toward cooperation in developing the vast energy resources in Russia.

There is a committee chaired by Ron Brown of the Commerce Department which is developing the sort of things we are doing in defense conversion but not related to defense as specifically. It has an area of cooperation in science and technology that is chaired by Jack Gibbons and Jane Wales, and it has the involvement of Ruth Harkins of OPIC. That is how we first got together and got Ruth to agree to support the work we are doing in defense conversion with OPIC funds. This is the vehicle for making broader advances in the economy in Russia and having the United States and Russia cooperate. It has been a very successful activity, and I have high hopes it will continue to be successful.


Is it possible that NATO expansion would undo Nunn-Lugar from the Russian side?


There are a whole host of geopolitical issues and controversies that are going to be a problem between the United States and Russia in the months and years ahead. Our Administration's position is that we cannot let them derail us from doing things which are in our best security interest. Sam has already given an example of how we can seize on any given issue (in this case the example he gave was the sale of a reactor to Iran) and let it derail the things which are in our best interest to do. It would be foolish on our part.

Certainly that is going to be one of the issues I will be discussing with officials in the Russian government on this trip. It is an issue which will be discussed with the President at the summit meeting in a month or two. It has been discussed at the meeting of the Gore- Chernomyrdin Commission. I do not believe we should let other issues derail us in doing the cooperative ventures which are in our mutual, best interest.


We have a whole array of very interesting questions we have not been able to address here this morning, reflecting a lot of interest and a lot of incisive views. I am sorry that we have not addressed them all. I think the main point of the morning is the importance of the Nunn- Lugar program and how new, different, and important it is for stability in Russia and for moving Russia away from nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons.

First Bill, and then Sam, please share any final points you have about the overall purpose of the Nunn-Lugar program.


The Nunn-Lugar program is focused on how to deal with the problem posed by the scientific and technological capabilities in the former Soviet Union. It has been quite successful and will continue to be quite successful in doing that. Besides associated problems, there are potentially great opportunities in the scientific and technological capability in the former Soviet Union. What I would urge the scientific community to do is to seize on what we can do in the United States to take better advantage through cooperative programs of the science and technological capability in Russia and Ukraine today. That would be an enormous benefit which would supplement the sort of things we are doing on the Nunn-Lugar program.

SAM NUNN Summary

Universities and research institutes throughout the country need to have an affiliation with Russian scientists in some fashion: Some exchange program would be enormously helpful for the next 10 years. I know resources are a problem. I do not see the governmental resources to do that beyond what is already out there, but I do think it is very much in our national interest.

It would be enormously helpful for those of you who believe this program has merit to get as familiar with it as you can. I know Ash Carter and others are available to brief the scientific community on what is happening in terms of details. Constructive criticism is not only welcome, but very helpful. Capitol Hill also needs a lot of support. We need letters to the editor. Most letters to the editor now or most op ed pieces are critical. People who are defending a program that seems to be going along pretty well usually do not speak up. If that continues to be the pattern, we will have a very difficult time sustaining this program. I thank you all for your interest and invite your continued assistance and constructive help.

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Forum - Session Three

Professor, Rockefeller University

Dr. Frank Young Introduction

John Holum Introduction

Josh Lederberg Introduction

Director of Office of Emergency Preparedness and National Disaster Medical System

Fifth Panel Discussion Questions and Answers

Sixth Panel Discussion Questions and Answers

Vice President, Institute for Contemporary Studies

Under Secretary of Energy, United States Department of Energy

Deputy Secretary, United States Department of Defense

Director, Arms Control and Disarmament Agency

Richard G. Lugar - U.S. Senator

Sam Nunn - U.S. Senator

United States Secretary of Defense

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