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U.S. Department of State
96/11/21 Statement: Assessment of Intl Science and Technology Center
Office of the Spokesman
Press Statement by Glyn Davies/Acting Spokesman
November 21, 1996
Assessment of the International Science and Technology Center
The National Academy of Science, through the National Research Council,
yesterday released an assessment of the International Science and
Technology Center (ISTC). The Science Centers program -- which includes
the ISTC and the Science and Technology Center in Ukraine (STCU) -- is a
nonproliferation program that the United States, the European Union,
Japan, and Russia initiated following the collapse of the Soviet Union.
The main objective of the program is to give former Soviet weapons
scientists and engineers, particularly those with expertise in weapons
of mass destruction and delivery systems, opportunities to redirect
their talents to peaceful activities. The Department of State is the
U.S. coordinator for this effort, working closely with the Departments
of Defense and Energy.
The Academy assessment, done at the request of the Office of the
Secretary of Defense, concludes that the ISTC has been successful and
effective in meeting its primary objective -- reducing the risk of
weapons proliferation through brain drain. The report also concludes
that the program has been successful in addressing secondary objectives,
including solution of national and international technical problems;
support of basic and applied research and technology development for
peaceful purposes; and reinforcement of the transition to market
economies of participating NIS countries.
The report also notes, however, that the proliferation risk remains high
and that this program continues to have an important role in mitigating
that risk. The report notes the progress made through the ISTC to
engage and redirect biological and chemical weapons expertise, but calls
for an expansion of activity in these areas.
We believe that this program is an outstanding example of U.S.
interagency and international cooperation and that it is making a
valuable contribution to reducing proliferation risk. It is extremely
rewarding to see that the National Academy of Science shares this
assessment. We will be reviewing the findings and recommendations of
the assessment with our interagency and international partners.
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