Energizing the Vision & Steps Agenda

Thank you all for coming today.

In January of 2007, George Shultz, Henry Kissinger, Bill Perry and I published the first in a series of op-eds in the Wall Street Journal.  We called for reversing reliance on nuclear weapons globally as a vital contribution to preventing their proliferation into potentially dangerous hands, and ultimately ending them as a threat to the world. 

The global response to our op-eds was dramatic – and surprised us all.  Leaders from 13 countries responded with similar statements in support.  We have since seen the creation of networks of leaders who have come together around the world committed to help build on that global momentum in reducing nuclear risks and moving toward the goals of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. 

This meeting in Singapore these last two days is the first time members of these leadership networks have come together to discuss how we can join forces, learn from each other and bring a renewed sense of urgency and focus on nuclear dangers in our region and globally.

We face a new era of threats – driven by technology and economics – and the possibility that the material and know-how for making weapons of mass destruction becomes available to both new states and non-governmental actors.

We are especially pleased to be here in Singapore for this meeting.  Your country’s remarkable accomplishments can serve as both an example and inspiration to us all as we seek to chart a course over difficult terrain. 

We were honored to have your Foreign Minister join us for our opening session, and George, Bill and I had a great meeting with Prime Minister Lee. 

The leaders gathered here in Singapore represent more than 200 former senior cabinet officials and leaders across the Asia-Pacific, Europe – including Russia -- Latin America and the U.S.

George Shultz, Bill Perry and I are very pleased by this group, which includes:  Gareth Evans (former Australian Foreign Minister), Des Browne (former UK Defense Minister), Irma Arguello (President, NPS Global/ Argentina), Gary Roughead (former U.S. Chief of Naval Operations),  Brooke Anderson (Ambassador and former top official on the National Security Council staff) and Ambassador Kishore Mahbubani.
Having the proper perspective is important.  In our discussions over the past two days, we have discussed areas where the international community has made progress, including the September 2009 United Nations Security Council meeting, the New START agreement and securing nuclear materials.  Twenty years ago, 50 countries had weapons-usable nuclear materials.  Today, there are 25 countries with this material -- and since 2012, seven countries have removed all or most of these materials from their territories. 

We have also discussed a number of broad areas for deeds.  These include: 

  • Securing nuclear materials globally with appropriate assurances;
  • Moving toward nuclear force postures that increase warning and decision time for leaders, finding ways to take nuclear weapons off of prompt launch and also voicing strong support for ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty;
  • There is strong sentiment to move toward nuclear doctrines where the sole purpose of nuclear weapons is to deter any nuclear use – accompanied by actions that make this doctrine more than mere words. 

Finally, we discussed the importance for both regional and global security of making progress on the issues of Iran and North Korea.  In my view, an agreement with Iran that allows us to test and verify Iran’s claim that it has no intention of producing nuclear weapons is absolutely essential.

I’d now like to turn to my colleague and friend George Shultz. 

November 20, 2013

NTI Co-Chairman Sam Nunn addresses a news conference in Singapore on the heels of a meeting of global leaders on reducing nuclear risks.

Sam Nunn
Sam Nunn

Co-Chair, NTI