“to provide for sustained United States leadership in a cooperative global effort to prevent nuclear terrorism, reduce global nuclear arsenals, stop the spread of nuclear weapons and related material and technology, and support the responsible and peaceful use of nuclear technology.”The bill builds on the recommendations outlined in the January 4, 2007 Wall Street Journal op-ed, A World Free of Nuclear Weapons, by George Shultz, William Perry, Henry Kissinger and Sam Nunn.
It emphasizes that
"securing nuclear weapons and weapons-usable material at their source is the most direct a reliable way to disrupt efforts by terrorist organizations to acquire such material.”and urges that
“nuclear weapon states should reaffirm their commitment to Article VI of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty”The bill authorizes:
-$50 million for an international nuclear fuel bank (same funding level as proposed in the Senate energy & Water Appropriations bill)
-$15 million annually until 2012 for strengthening the inspection capabilities of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as recommended by Matthew Bunn and Anthony Wier in Securing the Bomb 2006
-an additional $20 million for the Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI) for FY2008-FY2010
-$15 million for FY 2008 and $10 million for FY 2009 for a nuclear forensics program
It also fulfills an important oversight role by mandating:
-a plan for ensuring that all nuclear weapons and weapons
-usable material at vulnerable sites worldwide are secure by 2012, and annual progress reports
-a report by the National Academy of Sciences on a verification regime for an effective Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty
-two reports on the 2010 NPT Review Conference: one in 2009 detailing objectives, strategy and policies for the Conference and one detailing its outcomes
Lastly, it creates a Commission of 15 Members:
-to provide recommendations on the threat of the spread of nuclear weapons, nuclear weapons technology and nuclear terrorism
-to report on efforts to reduce global nuclear arsenals, the development of new nuclear weapons, the need for nuclear energy, and the contribution of existing multilateral entities
At a time when the United States has walked back from many of its commitments under the NPT, this kind of legislation serves as an important reminder and re-affirmation that successful US leadership and long-term US security depend on maintaining a viable and credible non-proliferation and arms control regime in place, which over time will require substantial, prudent and verifiable progress toward the ultimate objective of a world free of nuclear weapons.
As Congress prepares to finalize the funding levels for non-proliferation and arms control issues (in the Defense Authorization bills and the Energy & Water Appropriations bills), several other important and useful bills have been introduced in the Senate recently.
Among them is S.1914, a bill introduced by Sen. Feinstein (D-CA) with Sens. Collins (R-ME), Durbin (D-IL), Kennedy (D-MA), Feingold (D-WI), Casey (D-PA), that would prevent funding for the design and development of a new generation of nuclear weapons, the so-called Reliable Replacement Warhead, until the new Presidential administration completes a nuclear posture and policy review.