Thursday, May 22, 2008

Congress Announces Appointments to WMD and Terrorism Commission

Last Friday, Congressional leadership announced their appointments to the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism.

The commission's creation was a recommendation of the independent 9/11 Commission. It is assigned to assess the United States' current non-proliferation and anti-terrorism efforts and provide a "clear comprehensive strategy" with "concrete recommendations" to achieve both goals.

Commission members are:

  • Former Senator Bob Graham, Chairman (Chair, Graham Center for Public Service, University of Florida and University of Miami)
  • Former Senator Jim Talent, Vice-Chairman (Distinguished Fellow, The Heritage Foundation)
  • Former Congressman Timothy J. Roemer (President, Center for National Policy)
  • Ambassador Wendy R. Sherman (Principal, The Albright Group LLC)
  • Dr. Graham T. Allison (Director, Harvard University Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs)
  • Mr. Richard Verma (Partner, Steptoe & Johnson, LLP)
  • Mr. Henry Sokolski (Executive Director, Nonproliferation Policy Education Center)
  • Mr. Stephen Rademaker (Senior Counsel, BGR Holding, LLC)
  • Ms. Robin Cleveland, (Principal, Olivet Consulting, LLC)
In a report due in 180 days, the Committee is tasked to examine:
  • Efforts to secure loose nukes and weapons-usable material
  • U.S. and international efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and materials to terrorists and rogue states
  • The role of various U.S. departments in these matters, and inter-agency coordination
  • U.S. commitment to and cooperation with international regimes
  • The threat of WMD proliferation to America and its allies
  • The suggestions of the earlier Baker-Cutler Report
With the wealth of expertise and experience on this commission, it would be a shame for their report to fail to "step outside the box" in its analysis of and proposals for U.S. efforts - both unilateral and multilateral - to curb the proliferation of nukes and other WMD and to address problems of terrorism around the world.

For the most part, they're far enough outside of actual government work to avoid falling victim to some of its bureaucratic limitations, and to instead provide conceptual alternatives to addressing the problems of WMD and terrorism. In addition, they have the experience and credibility to offer specific ways in which these plans can be implemented. There's no down-playing the potential of this group's collective wisdom to help guide the next administration.

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