A decade after the end of the Cold War, we still live under the threat of nuclear catastrophe — though more likely now from terrorist attack by organizations like al Qaeda, miscalculation, accident, or unauthorized use than from a global conflict.
The goal of the Nuclear Threat Reduction Campaign (NTRC) is to turn the promise of a safer world into reality by pursuing realistic and effective steps to reduce the very serious threats associated with nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.
WHY WE DO IT
The concern about terrorists’ use of a nuclear weapon is not new. As the 9/11 Commission noted in its final report, in 1998 U.S. officials were “worriedly discussing … reports that Bin Ladin’s associates thought their leader was intent on carrying out a ‘Hiroshima.’” The reality of this danger is chillingly portrayed in the Commission’s observation that “a trained nuclear engineer with an amount of highly enriched uranium or plutonium about the size of a grapefruit or orange and with commercially available material, could fashion a nuclear device that could fit in a van … [and] level Lower Manhattan.”
The threat of nuclear proliferation also arises from the danger of additional countries, such as North Korea and Iran, developing indigenous capabilities to produce weapons usable material (HEU or plutonium). At the same time, the U.S. is hampered in its ability to rouse world opinion against such developments in these nations by its own efforts to develop a new generation of nuclear weapons and its apparent intention to maintain its massive nuclear arsenal in perpetuity.
As the events of September 11, 2001, and subsequent anthrax attacks exhibited, the end of the Cold War did not eliminate the threat of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. The existence and proliferation of these weapons of mass destruction increase the likelihood that they will fall into the hands of terrorists or terrorist states that could stage a catastrophic attack on Americans, our deployed troops, or our Allies.
In July 2004, the 911 Commission released its Final Report. The publication provides a full and complete account of the circumstances surrounding the September 11th, 2001, terrorist attacks, including preparedness for and the immediate response to the attacks. It also includes recommendations designed to guard against future attacks including an attack using nuclear, biological or chemical weapons. Read the Commission’s recommendations.
THE CONGRESSIONAL HALL OF FAME
The following Congressional offices are on the forefront of the war on terrorism, working tirelessly on Capitol Hill on legislation to prevent nuclear, biological and chemical weapons from falling into the hands of al Qaeda and other terrorist groups:
- Congressman Ellen Tauscher (D-CA)
- Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA)
- Congressman Chet Edwards (D-TX)
- Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM)
- Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN)