Secretary of Defense Commemorates 25th Anniversary of Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program

Posted May 9, 2016

The U.S. Department of Defense commemorated the 25th anniversary of the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) legislation in a special program at the Pentagon on May 9, 2016. With Sam Nunn and Dick Lugar present, Defense Secretary Ash Carter presented the inaugural Nunn-Lugar Trailblazer Awards and dedicated a key Pentagon conference room to the two former senators. The ceremony was followed by a panel discussion among Secretary Carter, and Senators Nunn and Lugar.

Carter honored five members of the team that implemented the Nunn-Lugar Program of 1991 which resulted in the reduction or elimination of substantive numbers of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons world-wide. The Nunn-Lugar Trailblazer recipients were Dr. Gloria Duffy, President of Commonwealth Club of California; Ms. Laura S. H. Holgate, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Weapons of Mass Destruction Terrorism and Threat Reduction; Dr. Susan Cook Distinguished Research Fellow at the National Defense University Center for the Study of Weapons of Mass Destruction; Dr. Elizabeth Sherwood Randall, Deputy Secretary of Energy; Ms. Jane Wales, CEO of the Global Philanthropy Forum, president and CEO of the World Affairs Council and Vice President, Philanthropy and Society of the Aspen Institute and Executive Director of its Program on Philanthropy and Social Innovation.

Carter called the implementation of Nunn-Lugar Program to safeguard and dismantle weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems worldwide an historic moment of change that the world came through safely.

“It certainly didn’t look likely or possible at the time. It shows that visionary statesmanship by people like Sam Nunn and Dick Lugar  ̶  and bipartisan, by the way  ̶  and superb execution by our honorees can do things that look impossible.”

Carter also dedicated a conference room across from the Defense secretary’s office in the pentagon as the Nunn-Lugar Room.  The space is used for meetings of defense department senior leaders, discussions among strategic military and experts, and has been used by National Security Council meetings led by President Obama.

 “From this day on, anyone who enters the Nunn-Lugar room  ̶   presidents and policy makers, military and civilian officials, scholars, business leaders  ̶   will walk past a plaque that reminds them of the forward thinking programs, the bipartisan cooperation, and the enduring legacy of Senators Nunn and Lugar,” said Secretary Carter. “And their example will inspire today’s leaders, and tomorrow’s, to take novel and even paradoxical steps to develop new ways of thinking and operating to continue to keep the nation safe and leave our children a better world.”

CTR continues today, though, Carter noted, its mission has “gone global” and extends beyond disintegrated states to include terrorism, and beyond nuclear, to include chemical and biological weapons.

The ceremonies and the panel discussion may be viewed at:

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Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, Sam Nunn, and Dick Lugar

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