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Strengthening Long-Term Nuclear Security: Protecting Weapon-Usable Material in Russia
would have made it extremely difficult to initiate the cooperation. Fortunately, when the MPC&A program began, scientists were building trust on both sides of the ocean; it was these scientists who helped convince the governments of the proposed program’s value.
The difficulties encountered in implementing a program that lacked widespread political support in Russia are understandable. Despite these circumstances, the program has nevertheless achieved a remarkable degree of success and has laid a substantial foundation for further progress. Now the challenge is to shift emphasis from economic motivation to political motivation. Russian champions are the key to responding to this challenge.
If MPC&A programs are to be truly effective in the long term, committed Russian champions must mobilize broadly based political and financial support for the current cooperative program. Without such support, upgrading MPC&A systems will be of interest only to the extent that the U.S. government is willing to finance such activities. And once upgrades have been installed, the readiness of Russian organizations to continue to support modern systems with their own funds will be less than certain.
As discussed in Chapter 1, common perceptions of the nuclear threat, of facility vulnerabilities, and of the importance of modern systems in responding to that threat are essential for making the transition from cooperation to effective indigenization. There must not only be shared perceptions among U.S. and Russian counterparts, but also common perceptions within Russia. Without strong Russian champions, an internal consensus on the importance of modern MPC&A systems and their implementation will not be achieved.
The Department of Energy (DOE) has consistently given high priority to the cooperative MPC&A program, and the Congress has steadfastly supported the program for more than a decade. U.S. support stems from a desire to protect the United States and the world from a nuclear catastrophe. Many influential political leaders believe that the United States is an especially likely target of catastrophic terrorism, thus creating concern about the security of weapon-usable material in Russia. However, it is hard to convince Russian authorities that they should use their limited resources to help protect the United States if they do not perceive benefits for Russia. A much better approach is to pose the threat in broad global terms, arguing with good justification that a nuclear explosion anywhere would have political, economic, and health repercussions that would adversely affect all countries. It should also be emphasized that the technological capabilities of terrorist groups, including those in Russia, are advancing with each passing year. The threat will only increase with time.
CHAMPIONS AT THE HIGHEST LEVELS
Leaders at the highest levels—the Russian president, the prime minster, and leading Duma members—should be informed of Western views of the vulnerabilities of Russian facilities. During international meetings they should be en-