The Need for Coordination of U.S. Government Efforts

The U.S. government supports a growing array of efforts involving defense scientists (see Table E-1). In addition to the CTR and ISTC programs discussed previously, there are related projects of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Initiatives for Proliferation Prevention, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Institutes of Health (including the Fogarty International Center), Civilian Research and Development Foundation, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and DOE's Chemical/Biological Non-Proliferation Program. At the highest level, the Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission has considered a few related programs through its three committees on health, science and technology, and defense conversion. To date, these activities have involved only limited engagement with the personnel and facilities of the former Soviet BW complex, but interest in such engagement appears to be growing.

CTR and ISTC now have more than five years of experience working with the defense scientists of Russia, but other U.S. organizations do not have comparable experience. As other programs undertake research activities with former BW scientists, systematic coordination among related programs is exceedingly important so that national security objectives are considered fully and that tax and customs exemptions with the Russian government are utilized whenever possible.30 President Clinton created a special position, at the rank of ambassador, with the responsibility of coordinating these cooperation or assistance efforts.31 Effective use of this or an alternative coordination mechanism is essential to ensure that the substantial potential benefits of cooperation with the former Soviet BW complex are realized and the risks that collaborative research efforts could contribute to illegal activities are minimized.


This chapter has provided the context and rationale for U.S.-Russian cooperation involving specialists and facilities of the former Soviet BW complex. Chapter 2 describes the initial NAS experience with a number of pilot projects designed to test the feasibility of such collaborative arrangements, while developing plans for long-term cooperation. This experience provided the basis for the five-year Pathogens Initiative outlined in Chapter 3. Chapter 4 describes a model for a subsequent sustained program of cooperation encompassing activities across a wider range of work on dangerous pathogens.

The framework for bilateral activity recommended in this report in time could become a basis for expanded cooperation among a number of key countries. Ultimately, enhanced international security and global health can be achieved only through broadly based multinational networks incorporating many of the elements stressed in the Pathogens Initiative.


Representative Floyd Spence. Letter to the editor. Washington Post, July 7, 1997.


White House. 1995. Memorandum for the heads of executive departments and agencies on charter for special adviser to the president, April 4.

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