U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff
(D-Calif.), in a Feb. 10 speech on the floor of the House of Representatives, said North Korea's announcement that it possesses nuclear weapons "has again reminded us of the most pressing national security challenge that we face: the proliferation of nuclear weapons and the possibility that a
terrorist group will acquire a nuclear bomb and use it against the United States."
He noted that along with Rep. Christopher Shays (R_Conn), he has introduced the "Omnibus Nuclear Nonproliferation and Anti-Nuclear Terrorsism Act" which would create an office of non proliferation programs in the White House to "centralize budgetary and policy authority" and
to grant the President and the Secretary of Defense more authority to undertake non-proliferation projects outside the former Soviet Union.
Schiff said the bill also would ask the White House to catalog impediments to non-proliferation programs with Russia, with the hope being "that by identifying them all, the Congress and the administration can better solve them quickly."
"The bill asks the President to address the issue of unresolved liability protections for U.S.
firms doing nonproliferation work in Russia," Schiff said. "This bill will enhance the Global Threat Reduction Initiative, announced by former Secretary (Spencer)Abraham last May, to accelerate the global clean-out of the most vulnerable stockpiles of nuclear
material. At its current pace, it will take more than a decade to clean up the most vulnerable
nuclear sites around the globe.
"The bill also urges the President to expand the Proliferation Security Initiative beyond its
current members and to engage the U.N. Security Council to provide the specific legal authority to
interdict WMD material. It also provides funding for training and exercise with our PSI partners,
especially the new members."
Schiff said that at present "there are no international standards regarding the securing of nuclear weapons. The
Schiff-Shays bill urges the President to develop a set of internationally recognized standards and
to work with other nations and the IAEA to get such standards adopted and implemented."
The congressman said that Russia's tactical nuclear arsenal "is considered the most likely place from which a nuclear
weapon would be stolen and sold or given to terrorists.: The bill would permit "U.S. assistance to Russia to conduct an inventory of tactical and nonsecured
weapons. Our bill also requires the DOD to support a report on past U.S. efforts to help Russia
account for and secure its tactical and nonsecured nukes and to recommend ways to improve such
He said further that the bill deals "with the problem of scientists in the former Soviet Union and work to prevent them
from selling their services to North Korea, Iran and al Qaeda.
"We also encourage the President to deal with the problem of the NPT's loophole that allows
nations like Iran to pursue nuclear weapons through the guise of a nuclear energy program. Our bill
asks the President to submit a report outlining strategies to better control fuel cycle
technologies and possible ways to close the loophole in Article IV without undermining the overall
integrity of the treaty." —Donald