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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 639-97
November 25, 1997

DEFENSE DEPARTMENT REPORT ON PROLIFERATION

Secretary of Defense William Cohen today released the second edition of a report entitled "Proliferation: Threat and Response 1997." The first was released in April 1996. This report details the nature of the security challenge posed by the proliferation of nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) weapons and their delivery systems and the Department of Defense's response to the challenge.

The report contains updated information about the countries that have or may be developing NBC weapons and the means to deliver them. It also described the threat of NBC terrorism, including the efforts of the Aum Shinrikyo cult in Japan, to disseminate chemical weapons.

"The Department of Defense Counterproliferation Initiative contributes to government-wide efforts to prevent nations or terrorists from obtaining, manufacturing, or retaining these weapons," said Secretary Cohen. "The initiative also equips, trains, and prepares U.S. forces to prevail over an adversary who could use these weapons."

The report describes DoD's efforts since the end of the Gulf War to ensure that U.S. forces are equipped and trained to fight and win in NBC-contaminated environments. It highlights acquisition programs in seven key functional areas: proliferation prevention; strategic and tactical intelligence; battlefield surveillance; passive defense; active defense; counterforce and countering paramilitary, covert delivery, and terrorist NBC threats.