For Immediate Release: May 4th, 2009

Our Best Weapon Against Nuclear Proliferation? A Pen

Obama Administration's First Major Test on Nonproliferation Promises

Washington, DC - A bipartisan group of top foreign policy and national security officials has offered a concrete list of actions the Obama Administration can take to improve nuclear nonproliferation efforts.  As the 189 signatories to the NPT meet at the Preparatory Committee in New York this week, Republicans and Democrats agree that the Obama Administration needs to give top priority to working with our international partners to achieve our critical nonproliferation and disarmament goals.  This meeting is the Obama Administration's first major test on nonproliferation and disarmament.  There has been a lot of U.S. rhetoric on these issues; the world is waiting to see how it will be put into practice.

The statement, released by the Partnership for a Secure America (PSA) in Roll Call today, is signed by thirty high-ranking former officials, including nine former Senators, four former Secretaries of Defense, two former National Security Advisors, and a former Secretary of State.  The signatory list also includes both the Chair and Vice Chair of the 9/11 Commission.  For a PDF of the Roll Call ad, click here.

"Our key nonproliferation and disarmament challenges -- reducing nuclear forces with Russia, denying WMD to terrorists, preventing Iran's acquisition of nuclear weapons -- can and must be addressed in the context of the grand bargain of the NPT," said PSA Advisory Board co-chair former Rep. Lee Hamilton (D-IN).

"The benefits to the U.S. of being able to present new nonproliferation and disarmament ideas to the majority of the world through the lens of the NPT cannot be discounted," said PSA Advisory Board co-chair former Sen. Warren Rudman (R-NH).  "The flipside is that if the U.S. is perceived as continuing to not be fully committed to the NPT, it will negatively impact all of our other objectives on nonproliferation and disarmament."

Recommendations include supporting an international fuel supply mechanism, providing greater inspection authority to the IAEA, working to reduce nuclear weapons arsenals and strengthening enforcement against countries in violation of the NPT.  Signatories also agree that the U.S. should work to address the key concerns - stockpile reliability and verification mechanisms - that could allow for the support of a comprehensive ban on nuclear testing.

PSA was created in 2005 by Rep. Hamilton and Sen. Rudman to foster bipartisan, consensus driven solutions to the major national security and foreign policy challenges facing our country.  More information on PSA and bios of our distinguished bipartisan Advisory Board, can be found at www.psaonline.org.  This project is made possible by the generous support of Ploughshares Fund.

CONTACT: Michael Landweber (202-293-8582), or landweber@psaonline.org.



--Text of Statement --


Our Best Weapon Against Nuclear Proliferation

We don't need a new grand bargain.  We need to support the one we signed 4 decades ago.

For nearly 40 years, the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have provided the stability and the structure necessary to control the spread of nuclear weapons.   Without the NPT, there is no doubt that more countries would possess nuclear weapons.  Without the IAEA, which has functioned as the indispensable watchdog monitoring civilian nuclear activities and reporting on potential violations of IAEA safeguards, the world would certainly be more dangerous. 

Still, there are many challenges, which were amplified by the contentious NPT Review Conference in 2005.  But now is the time to strengthen the treaty's core principles and reinforce the mechanisms that support them, rather than lament their shortcomings.  With renewed dedication and leadership from the United States, the NPT and IAEA can continue to be important tools for the global community to confront countries that develop nuclear capabilities in violation of their commitments and to reduce the risk that terrorists will acquire these devastating weapons.

As we prepare for the NPT Review Conference in 2010, we, the undersigned Republicans and Democrats, strongly encourage the Obama Administration to take the following steps to support the NPT and the IAEA:
  • Reaffirm the NPT as the cornerstone of global nonproliferation and disarmament efforts by sending a high-level delegation to the 2010 Review Conference.
  • Strengthen enforcement mechanisms for use against countries deemed in violation of their NPT obligations.
  • Commit to work with all states possessing nuclear weapons to reduce arsenals to the minimum achievable level.  Enhance U.S.-Russian cooperation and joint leadership on non-proliferation and disarmament, including renewal or replacement of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START).
  • Promote measures to ensure that all countries have access to peaceful nuclear energy without creating additional risks of proliferation and terrorism.
  • Establish multilateral arrangements, such as assured international fuel supply mechanisms, to discourage the spread of enrichment and reprocessing capabilities.
  • Support the IAEA safeguards mission through an increase in resources, training, equipment and personnel, and assist other states in using peaceful nuclear applications to address poverty and the challenges associated with underdevelopment.
  • Work with NPT and IAEA member states to increase the IAEA's authority for greater access to suspect nuclear sites and universal implementation of the Additional Protocol.
  • Encourage countries to participate fully with IAEA nuclear security programs to help ensure that nuclear materials are not accessible to terrorists.
  • Work aggressively to complete a verifiable, irreversible, and nondiscriminatory Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty (FMCT).
  • Continue to work aggressively to ensure high confidence in stockpile reliability and multilateral verification mechanisms compatible with a comprehensive ban on nuclear testing.
Signatories

Howard Baker, US Senator (R-TN) 1967-85
Lucy Wilson Benson, Under Secretary of State 1977-80
Samuel Berger, National Security Advisor 1997-2001
Harold Brown, Secretary of Defense 1977-81
Frank Carlucci, Secretary of Defense 1987-89
John C. Danforth, US Senator (R-MO) 1977-95
Kenneth M. Duberstein, White House Chief of Staff 1988-89
Slade Gorton, US Senator (R-WA) 1981-87, 1989-2001
Thomas Graham, Jr., Special Representative of the President for Arms Control, Non-proliferation and Disarmament 1994-97
Lee Hamilton, US Congressman (D-IN) 1965-99, PSA Co-Chair
Gary Hart, US Senator (D-CO) 1975-87
Rita E. Hauser, Chair, International Peace Institute
Carla Hills, US Trade Representative 1989-93
Nancy Kassebaum-Baker, US Senator (R-KS) 1978-97
Thomas Kean, Governor, New Jersey 1982-90, 9/11 Commission Chair
John Lehman, Secretary of the Navy 1981-87
Richard Leone, President, the Century Foundation
Robert McFarlane, National Security Advisor 1983-85
Donald McHenry, US Ambassador to the UN 1979-81
Robert S. McNamara, Secretary of Defense 1961-68
Sam Nunn, US Senator (D-GA) 1972-96
William Perry, Secretary of Defense 1994-97
Thomas Pickering, Under Secretary of State 1997-2000
Warren Rudman, US Senator (R-NH) 1980-92
George Shultz, Secretary of State 1982-89
Alan Simpson, US Senator (R-WY) 1979-97
Theodore Sorensen, White House Special Counsel 1961-63
John Whitehead, Deputy Secretary of State 1985-88
Timothy E. Wirth, US Senator (D-CO) 1987-93
Frank Wisner, Under Secretary of State 1992-93