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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 55, March 2001

Bush Administration Plans DOE Non-Proliferation Funding Cuts

In mid-March, the US media reported that the Bush administration was finalising plans to cut around $72 million in Fiscal Year (FY) 2002 from Department of Energy programmes to safeguard Russian nuclear materials. According to the reports, the Energy Secretary, Spencer Abraham, has been arguing for a substantial increase in funding from the FY2001 level of $872 million. The Clinton administration had planned a boost in FY 2002 funds to around $1.2 billion. Within the overall figures, severe cuts are reportedly being contemplated to programmes to increase security at Russian facilities housing nuclear materials - down to $170 million from $200 million - and to the 'nuclear cities' programme providing non-weapons employment for former nuclear scientists - down to only $7 million from $27 million. On March 15, the Associated Press quoted a letter from Democratic Representative Ellen Tauscher to National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, warning: "Dramatic cuts to these programmes...may cripple our efforts to secure nuclear material in Russia and ensure that Russia's nuclear physicists are gainfully employed in non-defence related industries..."

Note: on March 13, figures were released outlining the Bush administration's FY 2002 proposed budget for State Department spending on international affairs. According to a Department fact sheet, a total of $332 million is being requested for assorted Non-Proliferation, Anti-Terrorism and Demining (NADR) programmes, an increase of $21 million from the FY 2001 level.

Report: Fact Sheet - Fiscal Year 2002 international affairs budget proposal, US State Department (Washington File), March 13; White House to cut aid to Russia, Associated Press, March 15; Budget cut for Russia nuke program, Associated Press, March 16.

© 2001 The Acronym Institute.