|George Washington University|
May 9, 2016 - Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter hosted a ceremony commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program (CTR) in the Pentagon auditorium on Monday, May 9. Former U.S. Senators Sam Nunn and Richard Lugar were guests of honor. The ceremony included the presentation of the Department of Defense Nunn-Lugar Trailblazer Award, a panel discussion with SECDEF Carter, Senators Nunn, and Lugar as participants and the dedication of a Pentagon conference room in honor of the former Senators.
December 12, 2016 is the actual date that marks the 25th anniversary of the Soviet Threat Reduction Act legislation introduced by Senators Nunn and Lugar. The program was intended to aid former Soviet Union countries in dismantling their inherited weapons of mass destruction (WMD) arsenals after the end of the Cold War. This Department of Defense program is executed by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency and is considered one of the most successful postwar efforts since the Marshall Plan aided Europe's recovery from World War II.
"The Cold War -- and even the post-Cold Era -- is history," said Secretary Carter, "but the threat of unsecured and loose weapons of mass destruction endures. Thankfully so does the Nunn-Lugar idea and the CTR Team."
To date the program has destroyed a combination of over ten thousand warheads, missiles, missile launchers, chemical weapons, long-range bombers and submarines. Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine are all nuclear-free today and Albania has eliminated all of her chemical weapons.
"I am incredibly proud of the employees here at the Agency/Center who have contributed so much to the success of this great program and brought it to where it is today," remarked Acting DTRA/SCC-WMD Director Major General John P. Horner.
The Nunn-Lugar CTR program has continued to evolve with the WMD threat, spreading its reach beyond the former Soviet Union and its WMD arsenal to more than forty countries worldwide. Advances in science and technology place an increased importance on countering the threat of biological and chemical weapons, and CTR continues work with partner nations to mitigate these dangers.
Addressing the audience during the panel discussion, both Senators Nunn and Lugar lauded the efforts of those connected to the CTR program. "There are a lot of heroes sitting in this audience. I tip my hat to all of you and your counterparts in other countries… you are the ones who made it happen. "
Added Lugar, "I am grateful for the contributions of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency and the remarkable national security successes they have achieved over the past 25 years of the Nunn-Lugar Program."