Symposium at Indiana University to mark Nunn-Lugar 25th anniversary

  • Dec. 1, 2016


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Former U.S. Sen. Richard G. Lugar and two of his successors representing Indiana in the U.S. Senate will discuss efforts to secure nuclear and chemical weapons in a Dec. 9 symposium marking the 25th anniversary of the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program.

The event, at Indiana University Bloomington, is sponsored by the School of Global and International Studies and the School of Public and Environmental Affairs. It will include a 3:30 p.m. panel discussion in the Global and International Studies Building auditorium. The discussion is open to the public.

Panelists will include Lugar, now a professor of practice and Distinguished Scholar at the School of Global and International Studies; Sen. Joe Donnelly; and Sen.-elect Todd Young, currently the U.S. representative for Indiana's 9th District. Lee A. Feinstein, dean of the School of Global and International Studies, will moderate the discussion.

Lauren Robel, provost of IU Bloomington and executive vice president of Indiana University, will welcome the panelists and introduce the event. In addition to the public discussion, panelists will meet for conversation with selected IU students. A reception will follow the panel discussion.

“Of the many achievements in Richard Lugar’s distinguished career of service to our nation, perhaps the most significant and long-lasting have been his efforts to reduce nuclear and chemical weapons around the world,” Robel said. “We are honored to host Sen. Donnelly and Sen.-elect Young to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Nunn-Lugar Act, and we commend their commitment to continuing the legacy of this historic act.”

The Nunn-Lugar program dates from December 1991 with the enactment of the Soviet Threat Reduction Act, authored by then Sen. Lugar, R-Ind., and Sen. Sam Nunn, D-Ga. The program was established to aid the former Soviet states in dismantling their nuclear arsenals and weapons of mass destruction after the end of the Cold War. Based at the Defense Department's Defense Threat Reduction Agency, it is considered one of the most successful postwar foreign policy efforts since the Marshall Plan.

To date, the program has deactivated more than 7,600 nuclear warheads, neutralized chemical weapons, safeguarded fissile materials, converted weapons facilities for peaceful use and redirected the work of former weapons scientists and engineers. Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine are nuclear-free and Albania has eliminated its chemical weapons as a result of the program.

The program has evolved as the Cold War has receded, spreading its reach to more than 40 countries and working with partner nations to mitigate the threat of biological and chemical weapons as well as the potential for unsecured nuclear materials.

Lugar, a fifth-generation Hoosier and the longest-serving member of Congress in Indiana history, is recognized as a gifted local leader as well as a respected national and international statesman. During his tenure in the Senate, from 1977 to 2013, he exercised leadership on food security, nuclear nonproliferation, energy independence and free trade. A former two-term mayor of Indianapolis, he currently leads The Lugar Center in Washington, D.C.,  a nonprofit think tank established to address global issues in the 21st century.

"I am especially proud of the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program and the men and women who have implemented the program to eliminate 7,600 nuclear warheads and many other dangers in the former Soviet Union," Lugar said. "Now, at the 25th anniversary of the program, is an occasion to recognize its achievements and to rededicate ourselves to working in a bipartisan manner to address the threats to our security in the 21st century."

Donnelly has represented Indiana in the U.S. Senate since 2013. He previously served three terms in the House, representing northern Indiana's 2nd District. A member of the Armed Services Committee, Donnelly serves as ranking member of the Strategic Forces Subcommittee, leading oversight of the U.S. nuclear‎ arsenal, missile defense and non-proliferation programs. Donnelly has championed updates of the Nunn-Lugar program in recent years to keep it flexible in the face of ever-evolving global threats. 

"The Nunn-Lugar program has made our country and the world a safer place," Donnelly said. "After recently seeing firsthand this program in action overseas, I am more committed than ever to maintaining the Nunn-Lugar program and to keeping it flexible and effective in the face of today’s increasingly complex threats. It is a tremendous honor to serve Hoosiers and carry on the bipartisan work begun by Sen. Lugar 25 years ago.”

Young is completing his third term representing south-central Indiana's 9th District. He serves on the House Ways and Means Committee and previously served on the Armed Services and Budget Committees. A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, he served in the U.S. Marine Corps as a rifle platoon commander and intelligence officer. He practiced law in Paoli, Ind., and worked as a management consultant before being elected to the House. On Nov. 8, he was elected to represent Indiana in the U.S. Senate.

“The Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program illustrates the value of bipartisanship and congressional leadership in foreign policy," Young said. "This program, thanks to the leadership of Senators Nunn and Lugar, has been crucial to reducing the threat of nuclear weapons and providing stability in the aftermath of the Soviet Union’s collapse.”

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Former Sen. Richard Lugar

Former Sen. Richard Lugar

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Sen. Joe Donnelly

Sen. Joe Donnelly

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Sen.-elect Todd Young

Sen.-elect Todd Young

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