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Cooperative Threat Reduction Programs Should Be Upgraded

WASHINGTON -- March 6, 2009 -- The White House should lead the reformulation of U.S. Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) programs to focus on combating international terrorism and other current threats, says a new congressionally mandated report from the National Research Council. The government's first CTR programs were created in 1991 to eliminate the former Soviet Union's nuclear, chemical, and other weapons and prevent their proliferation. Originally designed to deal with immediate post-Cold War challenges, the programs must be expanded to other regions and fundamentally redesigned as an active tool of foreign policy that can address contemporary threats from groups that are that are agile, networked, and adaptable.

"A bold vision is again required," said Ronald F. Lehman, director of the Center" for Global Security Research at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and co-chair of the committee that wrote the report." The Department of Defense and the entire federal government should re-examine what CTR has already accomplished and refocus efforts to promote global security engagement in the 21st century." The report calls this new approach CTR 2.0. "The programs need a broad upgrade to meet the magnitude of new security challenges, particularly at the nexus of WMD and terrorism," said co-chair David R. Franz, vice president and chief biological scientist at the Midwest Research Institute in Frederick, Md.

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