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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 509-99
November 01, 1999

Nuclear Weapons Security Assessment and Training Center Opens

The Department of Defense (DoD) and the Russian Ministry of Defense (MOD) 12th Main Directorate established the Security Assessment and Training Center (SATC) today in a ceremony at Sergiev Posad, Russia. The center will serve as the central site for testing security technologies and procedures, including interior and exterior physical security equipment. This equipment will be deployed to Russian nuclear weapons storage sites to facilitate further security enhancements. Russian guard forces will be trained to operate and maintain this equipment at the center.

The SATC will also incorporate related capabilities to support MOD's Personnel Reliability Program (PRP). The PRP will help the MOD to assure the reliability of its personnel charged with safeguarding nuclear weapons. DoD has provided drug and alcohol field testing kits, and polygraph systems and training. The SATC will also include a small arms training center, as well as a software tool for assessing the integrity and vulnerability of nuclear weapons storage sites.

The center is located approximately 30 miles northeast of Moscow near Sergiev Posad. Officials attending the opening ceremony include General Colonel Igor N. Valynkin, chief of the 12th Main Directorate of the Russian MOD, and retired U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Thomas E. Kuenning Jr., director of the Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) program, Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA).

This effort is a part of the weapons protection, control, and accounting project, under the DoD CTR program. The CTR program began in 1992 as a result of an initiative by former Sen. Sam Nunn and Sen. Richard G. Lugar to provide assistance to eligible states of the former Soviet Union to dismantle weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and to reduce the threat of WMD proliferation. In 1995, DoD and the MOD signed an agreement concerning cooperation in nuclear weapons storage security through the provision of material, services and related training. Through fiscal 1999, Congress has appropriated $133.2 million for this agreement, which has fostered a variety of projects to assist the MOD in upgrading the security of its nuclear weapons while in storage.

Nuclear weapons security has been a key element of DoD's CTR program from its beginning. To date, DoD has contracted for 123 kilometers of an alarmed fence and microwave security system called "Quick Fix," which is the first phase of the comprehensive site security enhancements system. Other efforts under the program include development of a nuclear warhead automated inventory control system to improve accounting for nuclear weapons.

The early phase of this cooperation focused on improving safety and security for the movement of nuclear weapons when the Russians were consolidating their arsenal in central storage sites. To assist this effort, DoD delivered 3,020 armored blankets from 1992 to 1993 to provide ballistic protection for weapons during shipment. From 1995 to 1996, CTR provided and helped install modification kits to upgrade safety and security for 100 nuclear weapons cargo railcars and 15 guard railcars. DoD has also delivered 150 supercontainers to enhance protection against fire and small arms assaults during weapons shipments.

DTRA consolidates and streamlines all aspects of management and implementation of the CTR program. This initiative to help deal with the legacy of the former Soviet Union provides the United States with crucial "defense by other means" to complement other DoD programs.

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