Skip to comments.Lugar, Hunter Lock Horns on Threat Reduction (Duncan throttles a RINO)
Posted on 03/20/2007 6:19:29 AM PDT by pissant
For Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) and the Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) program that he helped inaugurate, this should be a crowning moment. A heightened awareness of potential terrorist and rogue state threats has drawn increased attention to the CTR effort, which helps Russia and former Soviet states secure and dispose of biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons materials.
Over the past decade, Lugar has escorted the program through its numerous successes and trials as Congress battles over how much money to provide to its former Cold War adversary. Now newly reinstalled as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Lugar is poised to put into action a bigger agenda: expand the CTR program to countries beyond the former Soviet Union and incorporate more extensive threat reduction projects.
Republican members of the House of Representatives, however, might deny Lugar his long-sought prize. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, spoke recently about his dissatisfaction with the programs oversight and projects, drawing attention to two facilities for destruction of weapons components that wasted nearly $200 million. His comments indicate that the scope of CTR projects and the money for them might undergo intense scrutiny as Congress deliberates over the program budget.
Presently funded at $416.7 million, the Pentagons CTR program offers Russia assistance and technical expertise to maintain its excess stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) safely. A recent report from the Nuclear Threat Initiative and Harvard University calls for even more U.S. investment in threat reduction efforts worldwide. However, the future of the program in many ways rests in the hands of Lugar and Hunter, who offer differing outlooks and priorities for the CTR program.
Congress Poses Procedural Hurdle
The CTR program grew out of the Soviet Nuclear Threat Reduction Act of 1991, spearheaded by Lugar and then-Senator Sam Nunn (D-GA). It was designed to forestall the theft or illicit transfer of biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons and materials as the Soviet Union crumbled. Not long after the programs founding, it grew to include a comprehensive array of goals addressing all aspects of the former Soviet WMD complex. From the beginning, the Department of Defense administered the CTR program to handle dismantlement and destruction of the weapons, but later the Energy and State Departments launched associated nonproliferation initiatives to tackle fissile material control, scientific brain drain, and the safe shutdown of production facilities for the weapons. This year, the United States will invest more than $1 billion in these programs.
Proponents of CTR, however, often have had difficulty securing the necessary funding from Congress. Deep-seated distrust of the former Soviet Unions biological and chemical weapons programs spurred lawmakers in 1993 to attach conditions to U.S. funding allocated to Defense-run CTR programs. The conditions required presidential certification of Russias compliance with arms control and human rights agreements and Moscows own investment in disposing of its stored weapons. Despite the conditions, since the programs inception, Congress has annually allocated funding to secure and dispose of nuclear and biological weapons materials.
However, suspicions of Russias chemical weapons stockpile declarations persisted. In 2001, Congress added another set of conditions specific to the chemical weapons demilitarization efforts, requiring certification that Russia had declared its chemical weapons stockpile in full and would implement a plan to help destroy its stockpiled nerve agents.
Yet, Congress still held the purse strings. With pressure from Republican House members prevailing, lawmakers eliminated funding for the chemical weapons destruction program in 2000 and 2001. In 2002, Congress finally approved $50 millionafter the House Armed Services Committee tried to delete itto help build a chemical weapons destruction facility in Shchuchye. But the conditions for the CTR chemical demilitarization program had caused an unintended obstacle to the program: President George W. Bush neither certified nor waived the extra conditions set out for Russias chemical weapons stockpile, freezing the projects funding once again.
In 2002, prospects for CTR efforts brightened a little. After a nine-month delay, Congress agreed in July on program funding for fiscal year 2002, releasing the nonproliferation funding. In November, lawmakers passed funding for 2003 and authorized the president to waive the conditions for the nuclear and biological weapons programs for the next three years. Congress also granted the president authority to waive the chemical weapons program conditions for fiscal years 2002 and 2003 to release the projects stalled funding, freeing up more than $183 million to help construct the Shchuchye facility. Bush signed the waivers for all CTR programs January 10, and, after formal notification to Congress, the fiscal year 2002 and 2003 funding was released March 19.
Lugar Rallies for Improvements
Since 1997, the Republican-dominated House and the more evenly divided Senate have demonstrated differing visions for CTRs future through their funding priorities. House leaders consistently authorized less funding than requested, especially for chemical weapons programs, which were considered environmental problems, according to a March 2002 Congressional Research Service report. In contrast, the Senateprodded by program cofounder Lugarapproved funding at the requested level or higher for the same programs.
Lugar, frustrated over the frequent funding delays and annual arguments over waiver authority, unsuccessfully urged his colleagues as they considered funding for 2002 and 2003 to extend permanent waivers for all conditions on CTR programs.
Elections in November 2002 changed the balance of Congress once again, and Lugar assumed the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Vested with newly acquired authority on a committee that influences programming for international programs, Lugar began circulating plans for securing additional funding for, and even expansion of, CTR projects.
In December 2002, shortly after assuming the chairmanship, Lugar wrote in Arms Control Today that we must broaden our capability to address proliferation risks in other countries and build a global coalition to support such efforts, we must prioritize our nonproliferation goals, and we must overcome remaining political obstacles in our own country to efficient implementation. To do this, he proposes once again to provide permanent waivers for the conditions saddling CTR programs, encouraging other governments to offer more financial assistance to secure weapons of mass destruction, and expanding CTR projects to extend beyond the borders of the former Soviet Union.
The administrations fiscal year 2003 supplemental appropriations request submitted to Congress March 25 offered an early sign of Lugars success. The bill requested using up to $50 million of CTR assistance for nonproliferation efforts beyond the former Soviet states. The current CTR program would provide the guidelines for establishing agreements arranged with the new recipient countries.
CTR Faces Difficulties
Considerable obstacles stand in the way of Lugars ambitions for the program. Joseph A. Christoff, director of international affairs and trade for the General Accounting Office (GAO), testified March 4 to the House Armed Services Committee about the critical problems that the U.S.-sponsored program faces. Christoff underscored Russias refusal to allow access to its sites with nuclear and biological weapons holdings as a significant obstacle, as well as Russian reluctance to fund its agreed-upon portion of the program expenses.
At the same hearing, David Steensma, the Defense Departments deputy assistant inspector general for auditing, reported that a study conducted on construction of a CTR-funded liquid propellant disposition plant showed significant flaws in the U.S.-Russian planning and insufficient accounting for stages of work throughout the facilitys construction. Russia also refused to grant adequate access to U.S. officials to verify Russias stocks of the propellant, he said.
In addition, unbeknownst to U.S. officials, Russia used nearly all its stocks of the liquid propellant in the countrys space program rather than destroying the fuel at the U.S.-built facility, as the two countries had agreed. Russia claimed it had to use the propellant because the facility was taking years to build, according to media reports. The plant will not be used for its intended purpose, according to Steensma. The Defense Department must now decide what to do with the constructed plant, in which the department invested $137.2 million.
Recent reports indicate that the CTR program requires greater attention and funding in order to provide the security that it promises. A March 12 report by the Nuclear Threat Initiative and Harvards Managing the Atom Project revealed that the pace of the programfrequently interrupted by congressional squabbles over waiver authority and fundingand its scope cannot meet the threat reduction needs that it promises. It called progress on keeping nuclear materials out of terrorist hands unacceptably slow and recommended more funding from the United States and other Western governments to finance a broader palette of programs to secure nuclear material worldwide.
The report called for other initiatives, such as appointing a nonproliferation czar both in the United States and in Russia to facilitate planning and program execution (See ACT, March 2003); strengthening surveillance and detection capabilities related to the transport of nuclear material; and improving data exchanges on U.S. and Russian nuclear stockpiles.
Hunter, Lugar Trade Accusations
Reports on the CTR programs failures stirred up criticism from Hunter, who argued at the March 4 hearing, The CTR program has strayed from its original purpose at the same time that deeply disturbing instances of mismanagement and negligence are emerging. Offering fact sheets on the liquid propellant plant project failure and a similar case involving a solid rocket motor disposition facility, Hunter criticized the practice of diverting billions of dollars from the U.S. defense budget for these activities.
Hunters recent remarks are not the first time he has weighed in on the program. At an October 9, 2002 hearing, Lugar pointed to Hunters work in the House as detrimental to CTR program efforts overall. Questioning past delays in securing CTR waiver authority, Lugar noted that Representative Norm Dicks (D-WA) said its on the Republican side that the difficulty lies. He identified Duncan Hunter and Curt Weldon. It comes down to these House members. A December 2 Los Angeles Times report points to Hunter and Weldon as instrumental to eliminating funding for the Shchuchye facility for two years and holding back financing for nuclear and biological weapons disposal projects.
Asked at a March 12 press briefing about the friction with Hunterchairman of a committee that is instrumental to securing CTR fundingLugar replied, To the extent that I have caused any ripples of unfortunate unhappiness over there, Ill try to be more diplomatic. He also encouraged his congressional colleagues to learn more about the benefits of the CTR program to help it flourish.
Duncan Hunter is what a Republican should be. He is also the type of President we need now and he will continue to show that he IS the best. http://www.gohunter08.com
Hunter shows no fear against the treasonous Demonrats and their media minions. That's just part of the reason why he will make the strongest possible GOP nominee.
Just some background info on Hunter and his outspoken nature to go where not many(I don't think any) Republicans go with their spineless nature.
Hunter on Abu Ghraib(courtesyhttp://www.larouchepub.com/other/2004/3128goss_hunter_block.html : )
Probably the single loudest obstructionist voice in the House of Representatives in support of the Cheneyac "Beastman" policy in Iraq has been Armed Services Committee chairman Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.). Hunter has been able to use his position to block any meaningful inquiry into the Abu Ghraib prison scandal and at every public opportunity, has railed against those who are demanding such an investigation. He even went after his GOP counterpart in the Senate, John Warner (Va.), for holding three hearings in two weeks on the scandal, practically accusing Warner of treason.
Under great public pressure, Hunter has since held one hearing, for part of one day, and has no intention of having any more. During debate on the Fiscal Year 2005 Defense Authorization bill, on May 19, Hunter declared, "We have had enormous publicity the last number of days about the mess at Abu Ghraib. I estimated we have probably devoted as much media attention to that mess involving now, as identified, some seven personnel, as we did to the Normandy invasion. And that is an imbalance. It is time to refocus." What did he want to refocus on? "The 135,000 great personnel doing their job in Iraq."
On June 14, when the committee took up a resolution of inquiry sponsored by some 40 Democrats, demanding the Pentagon be more forthcoming with documents relating to the prison scandal, Hunter placed the 6,000 pages of the report on the abuse and torture of prisoners filed by U.S. Army General Anthony Taguba (the Taguba Report) on a table at the head of the hearing room and railed at the Democrats, "Isn't that enough for you?"
Hunter on Guantanamo(courtesy http://washingtontimes.com/upi-breaking/20050613-033125-4935r.htm:)
California Republican Duncan Hunter held a press conference to discuss the treatment of detainees at the island jail, and spent his opening statement going over a daily menu for prisoners that included oven-fried chicken and fresh fruit.
"This is what Osama bin Laden's bodyguards will eat several times a week. Lemon chicken, rice, broccoli, carrots, bread and two types of fruit," Hunter said, inviting a reporter to come eat with him.
Hunter was digging himself out of small hole he got into over the weekend when he said on a news program that the White House is divided over whether to close the jail.
"I think they've come to the conclusion, some members of the White House have come to the conclusion that the legend now, that the legend is different than the fact, and when that's the case you go with the legend that somehow Guantanamo has been a place of abuse and you close it down and you shorten the stories, you shorten the heated debate and you get it off the table and you move on," he said.
Why would we spend $137.2 million to build a building to destroy liquid propellant when at the same time we are working jointly with the Russians on the international space station and Russia keeps having funding issues with doing their share.
It sounds like the continued government stupidity of doing something worthless or counterproductive, just so they can say they did something.
The Russians on the other hand are just sucking in US tax dollars to build provide jobs in their bad economy.
...but later the Energy and State Departments launched associated nonproliferation initiatives to tackle fissile material control, scientific brain drain, and the safe shutdown of production facilities for the weapons.
In other words we are funding Russian weapons research in order to keep their weapons scientists from leaving Russia to work in another country. However, since Russia keeps selling weapons to our enemies, we are in truth funding development of the weapons that are used against us.
There have been very few in congress to call the dems to the carpet for wanting to demonize the USA and our military for how we treat terrorist captives. Hunter almost singlehandedly shoved this manure back down their throats, while so many GOPers cowered in the shadows and other retarded ones (John McCain) joined the democrat slanders.
Not any more, thanks to Hunter and a few others.
His soul may not be lost, but it is not hanging out in the Reagan wing of the party.
Yes, that is a Hunter mainstay. The GOP needs a leader like him. No one gets it and says it better. He is onto the threats we are facing from China and Russia along with the terrorists. With our national security being the main issue in the forseeable future and with the public being influenced by the propaganda we had better have a strong messenger who can get through to the people and Duncan Hunter is the man. He also has the strong credentials to take on national security in the election and as President. I would love nothing better than for Hunter to put Hillary or Obama or whomever the Demonrats put up and just show them for what they are and with Hunter you would get it. There is no doubt he is the man.
Yes, and he was on Laura Ingraham's show again this AM, though I missed it.
Do either of you know if Laura does transcripts?
Once again: is there anyone more qualifed to be our next COMMANDER-in-Chief?
Lugar is a pathetic RINO who sold his conservative soul (assuming he ever had one) many moons ago. He once fancied himself running for president, but had all the charisma of a mashed potato sandwich. But he's still trying to crate a legacy for himself by pouring billions of dollars into this CTR boondoggle.
BIG bravo for Congressman Duncan Hunter who has the cajones to not only put the spotlight on this farce, but to fight to put a stop to it.
THAT is the kind of patriot we need in the White House!
Unclear why you're posting a 2003 article. Pro-Duncan Hunter?
Yup. It may have made sense to help the ruskies in 1993, but not now.
With all the whining "Who is he?" it is to show Hunter has been an active, no nonsense, influential member of Congress even though his face may not always be plastered on your tv like the media lovefests with McCain and Rudy. It's to show his positions and his nature. And it just so happens people should be aware there is FINALLY a Republican up that will take on the Demonrats and media. Not since Reagan!
Don't know but we'll have to find out! Great to know at least Laura is giving him a chance and letting people know what he has to offer, unlike some of the other 'conservative voices'.
Umm, unlike Rudy and McCain, there are not 20 writers each day in the MSM or the CMSM (that's conservative MSM) writing about Hunter's history. They are too busy putting perfume on the turds known as the frontrunners to pay attention to conservative man who should be president.
FR will soon become a real treasure trove of info on this guy. Beats the hell out of reading 5 Rasmussen/CNN/Time polls each day here telling us a year before the primaries that Rudy can beat Hillary in Pennsylvania, doesn't it?
I know Levin likes him. Bennet has had him on twice in the last month. Now we need to work on el Rushbo. Hunter is Rush's kind of guy.
That sounds like a big sucking money draining hole.
Although I voted for him many years ago, he's been in the beltway way too long. It's way past time for Dick to retire to his Marion County farm.
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