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Bipartisan Committee Leaders Seek DOE Update on Nuclear Smuggling Deterrence Programs

May 2, 2016
Press Release
“Given the current threat environment, now is not the time to weaken our detection and interdiction programs overseas.”

WASHINGTON, DC – Bipartisan leaders of the Energy and Commerce Committee today sent a letter to Department of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz seeking further information on the current status of the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) Nuclear Smuggling Detection and Deterrence programs (NSDD).

“We write today because recent international developments – particularly the rise of well-funded terror groups and the curtailment of U.S.-Russian cooperation on nuclear material security – have underscored the importance of NNSA’s Nuclear Smuggling Detection and Deterrence programs. These developments have prompted us to take a closer look at the status of these programs,” wrote the bipartisan leaders. They noted that information reviewed to date has highlighted the importance of maintaining a strong deterrence and detection posture at foreign ports and border crossings, in partnerships with other nations.  

The NSDD has spent approximately one billion dollars over the past five years working with 59 partner countries, prompting the leaders to write, “the Committee seeks to increase its understanding of expenditures, technological development, and the progress of international cooperation with the program. Having full information about these matters is necessary to ensure any decisions concerning the course of this program do not inadvertently undermine its important security mission. Given the current threat environment, now is not the time to weaken our detection and interdiction programs overseas.”

The letter was signed by:

  • Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI);
  • Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA);
  • Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ); and
  • Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Ranking Member Diana DeGette (D-CO).

To read the letter online, click here.