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

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Nunn-Lugar Reforms Included in Defense Budget Bill

A defense authorization bill moving through Congress contains language that would update a program established in 1991 to secure and eliminate weapons of mass destruction in former Soviet states, U.S. Senator Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) announced yesterday (see GSN, April 24).

The legislation, set for consideration by the Senate and House of Representatives, would authorize the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction program to take financial support from foreign governments and other international entities. The bill would also enable the Defense Department in some cases to spend as much as one-tenth of the program's budget on unanticipated nonproliferation operations.

Lugar proposed comparable reforms in a bill introduced last April.

In addition, language in the budget legislation would enable Congress to provide as much as $424 million for the program in the fiscal year that began Oct. 1, $20 million more than the Obama administration had requested.

"This important increase in funding will permit Nunn-Lugar to take on new tasks in new countries, principally in the area of biological threat reduction," according to a Lugar press release.

The Cooperative Threat Reduction program to date has eliminated 7,514 strategic nuclear warheads, along with thousands of other weapons and related systems (see GSN, Sept. 29; U.S. Senator Richard Lugar release, Oct. 15).

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