Former Senator Sam Nunn and Senator Richard Lugar received the Distinguished Public Service Award from Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta at an all-day symposium December 3 honoring the 20th anniversary of the program that bears their names.
The award, the Department of Defense's highest civilian honor, was presented following a discussion with Nunn and Lugar and remarks by Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter.
During his remarks, Secretary Panetta said, “We can say that the course of history changed for the better because these two men helped the nation confront the threat of nuclear proliferation at the end of the Cold War. The world would have been, without question, a far more dangerous and threatening place were it not for these two patriots.”
The symposium culminated with an appearance by President Obama, who thanked the Senators for their vision in co-authoring the Nunn-Lugar legislation. He said, "Missile by missile, warhead by warhead, shell by shell, we’re putting a bygone era behind us. Inspired by Sam Nunn and Dick Lugar, we’re moving closer to the future we seek. A future where these weapons never threaten our children again."
President Obama, thanking Senator Nunn, also highlighted NTI's contribution to global threat reduction, saying, "And with your Nuclear Threat Initiative, you helped us ratify the New START treaty, rally the world to secure nuclear materials, strengthen the global nonproliferation regime, and create an international fuel bank for peaceful nuclear power."
Read the full speech.
Read media coverage from the Associated Press, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Ria Novosti and the Defense Department.