Richard G. Lugar, United States Senator for Indiana - Press Releases
Richard G. Lugar, United States Senator for Indiana
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Press Release of Senator Lugar

Obama, Lugar Secure Funding for Implementation of Nonproliferation Law

$48 million funding increase to be used to destroy conventional weapons stockpiles, intercept weapons of mass destruction and respond to proliferation emergencies

Thursday, June 28, 2007

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Barack Obama (D-IL) and Richard Lugar (R-IN) today announced that the Senate Appropriations Committee accepted their request to provide funding to implement the Lugar-Obama nonproliferation initiative.  The Appropriations Committee expressed support for the initiative and provided $48 million for Lugar-Obama, $36 million for programs to destroy heavy conventional weapons, $10 million for efforts to intercept weapons and materials of mass destruction, and $2 million for rapid response to proliferation detection and interdiction emergencies.  This is the culmination of an 18 month effort to authorize and fund the Lugar-Obama initiative.
First introduced in November 2005 and enacted in 2007, the Lugar-Obama initiative enhances U.S. efforts to destroy conventional weapons stockpiles and to detect and interdict weapons and materials of mass destruction throughout the world. 
“I applaud the decision to provide funding to implement the Lugar-Obama initiative – a major step forward in addressing critical security challenges faced by the United States and our allies,” said Senator Obama. “Much of this funding will prevent conventional weapons from being used against our service members in places such as Iraq and Afghanistan and from falling into the hands of terrorists and fueling civil wars around the world. This funding will further strengthen our ability to detect and intercept illegal shipments of weapons and materials of mass destruction, enhancing efforts to prevent nuclear terrorism. I commend Senators Leahy and Gregg for their support on this critical issue.”
“We believe that eliminating conventional weapons stockpiles and assisting other nations in detecting and interdicting weapons of mass destruction has been underfunded, fragmented and in need of high-level support,” Lugar said. “For example, we want to ensure that our government has the capacity to deal quickly with vulnerable stockpiles of shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles, otherwise known as Man-Portable Air-Defense Systems (MANPADS). Such weapons could be used by terrorists to attack commercial airliners, military installations and government facilities here at home and abroad. Al Qaeda reportedly has attempted to acquire MANPADS on a number of occasions.”  
The Lugar-Obama initiative is modeled after the Nunn-Lugar program that focuses on weapons of mass destruction in the former Soviet Union. Lugar and former Senator Sam Nunn (D-GA) authored the program in 1991. It has provided U.S. funding and expertise to help the former Soviet Union safeguard and dismantle its enormous stockpiles of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, related materials, and delivery systems. Among many accomplishments, the program has deactivated 7,000 nuclear warheads and reemployed 58,000 scientists in peaceful research. Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan are nuclear weapons free as a result of cooperative efforts under the Nunn-Lugar program. They otherwise would be the world's the third, fourth and eighth largest nuclear weapons powers, respectively.
The Senate Appropriations Committee report language on the Lugar-Obama initiative is as follows: “Materials of Mass Destruction.---The Committee supports sections 10-12 of Public Law 109-472 which strengthens U.S. efforts to interdict illicit shipments of weapons or materials of mass destruction and secure vulnerable stockpiles of conventional weapons.  The Committee provides $48,059,000 to implement these programs, of which $10,000,000 is under Export Control and Related Border Security Assistance, $36,059,000 is under the Small Arms and Light Weapons Destruction program, and $2,000,000 is under the Nonproliferation and Disarmament Fund.”
Lugar and Obama traveled together to Russia, Ukraine and Azerbaijan in August 2005 to oversee a number of Nunn-Lugar projects. Obama and Lugar introduced the legislation in November 2005. 
Operative sections of Lugar-Obama became law in January 2007.  Later in 2007, Lugar and Obama pressed the Appropriations Committee to provide funding for its implementation.  
Senators Obama and Lugar are members of the Foreign Relations Committee.  Lugar serves as the Committee’s Ranking Member.  Obama is Chairman of the European Affairs Subcommittee.