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U.S. Global WMD Security Efforts Cut Under Obama Budget: Analysis

A rail portal monitor at Belgium's Port of Antwerp, one recipient of radiation detection equipment under the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration's Second Line of Defense program. The Obama administration has proposed cutting the effort's funding by 65 percent in fiscal 2013 (U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration photo). A rail portal monitor at Belgium's Port of Antwerp, one recipient of radiation detection equipment under the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration's Second Line of Defense program. The Obama administration has proposed cutting the effort's funding by 65 percent in fiscal 2013 (U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration photo).

Federal programs to lock down or eliminate stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction and related materials in other nations would be significantly scaled back under the White House's new budget, a nonproliferation group said this week (see GSN, Nov. 16, 2011).

A Partnership for Global Security analysis of the administration's fiscal 2013 spending proposals found that planned allocations to National Nuclear Security Administrations efforts to secure foreign WMD-related materials are down 23.3 percent compared to enacted fiscal 2012 levels (see GSN, Feb. 14).

The NNSA International Nuclear Materials Protection and Cooperation initiative, which is involved in nuclear security and antitrafficking efforts in countries of concern, would see its funding levels decreased by $206 million to $311 million for the fiscal year that begins on Oct. 1. The initiative's Second Line of Defense program, which provides radiation detectors to foreign nations, would see a 65-percent funding drop.

The semiautonomous Energy Department branch's efforts to protect and retrieve stocks of nuclear and radioactive materials would be slashed by $34 million. The Global Threat Reduction Initiative is budgeted at $466 million for fiscal 2013, which includes a nearly 20-percent drop in funding for the Nuclear and Radiological Material Removal program.

The Defense Department's Cooperative Threat Reduction program would receive an extra $10.9 million from this budget year, raising its appropriation to $519.1 million, according to the PGS analysis. However, the program's Global Nuclear Security initiative would receive a $21.3 million reduction to $99.8 million. The department's efforts to improve biological security in Africa and to maintain biodefense activities in Asia and Eastern Europe would be upped by $16.9 million to $276.4 million for fiscal 2013.

Separately, the State Department's program to improve export controls in partner states would be cut by close to 10 percent, receiving only $55 million. Meanwhile, Foggy Bottom's Global Threat Reduction initiative would receive $64 million, a reduction of 7 percent from the present budget cycle. Additionally, a program intended to prevent acts of terrorism involving weapons of mass destruction would also receive a 16 percent budget cut to $5 million (Partnership for Global Security report, Feb. 14).

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