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Daily News on Nuclear, Biological & Chemical Weapons, Terrorism and Related Issues

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Lugar to Promote Expanding CTR to Southeast Asia

U.S. Senator Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) is in Southeast Asia this week where he intends to make the case for regional participation in his signature Senate achievement -- the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, which aims to stop the global spread of weapons of mass destruction, according to a release from his office.

"Cooperation is essential to identifying and interdicting the flow of weapons of mass destruction through Southeast Asia," the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said in released comments. "Southeast Asia is a major intersection of global trade and commerce by water and air. U.S. strategic economic and foreign policy needs to become more robust in the Asia-Pacific region and Nunn-Lugar Global Cooperative Threat Reduction will be an important tool for our diplomatic and military leaders as we seek a more integrated approach to the region."

Lugar, who will end his decades-long career in the Senate at the end of the year, is slated to meet with government officials in the Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand from Oct. 22 through Nov. 2

Cooperative Threat Reduction was originally created as a means of delivering U.S. assistance to Russian efforts to secure and destroy Soviet-era nuclear arms and other unconventional weapons. While the future of the Russian component is uncertain due to recent announcements by Moscow that it is unwilling to extend the current agreement that enables the program to operate in that country, Nunn-Lugar also funnels U.S. monetary and technical aid for nonproliferation efforts to other nations around the world. Lugar has traveled to Africa to promote participation in the CTR initiative. He has also made multiple trips to Europe on behalf of the program. 

As of September, the CTR initiative had assisted in deactivation of 7,659 strategic nuclear warheads and destruction of 902 ICBMs, 498 ICBM silos, 191 mobile ICBM launchers, 684 submarine-launched ballistic missiles, 492 SLBM launchers, 33 ballistic missile-capable submarines, 155 strategic bombers, 906 nuclear air-to-surface missiles and 194 nuclear test tunnels.  The program has also aided the establishment of 39 biological agent monitoring sites and the destruction of Albania's arsenal of chemical weapons. Perhaps most significantly, the program has supported the Russian withdrawal of all nuclear warheads from Belarus, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan.

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