Nonproliferation Budget Sees Some Hikes

by Cole Harvey and Daniel Horner

The Obama administration is asking Congress for significant funding increases in programs designed to secure nuclear material in Russia and detect radioactive material passing through the world's busiest ports, according to budget documents released in May.

But the proposed budget would also reduce funding for some other nonproliferation initiatives, including the Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) program. The request partially reflects President Barack Obama's pledge, made during his April 5 speech in Prague, to "set new standards, expand our cooperation with Russia, [and] pursue new partnerships" in order to "secure all vulnerable nuclear material around the world within four years." However, Thomas D'Agostino, who heads the Department of Energy's semiautonomous National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), said in congressional testimony that the fiscal year 2010 budget request is not fully representative of the president's four-year plan because budget planning for that fiscal year already was well under way when Obama took office and spelled out his goals to the NNSA. Fiscal year 2010 begins Oct. 1, 2009.

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