US Rep James McGovern (D, Massachusetts) hosted a briefing titled ‘Global Security Priorities in the 21st Century’ on February 6, 2008, in Washington, DC. Panelists who participated in the briefing called for the United States to reduce its nuclear weapons arsenal and use the savings to increase funding for non-proliferation programs and international assistance for children as a means of strengthening US national security.
The panelists included:
* Major General William F Burns, US Army (ret, Director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency under President Reagan and special envoy to Russia and other Former Soviet Union nations during President George HW Bush’sAdministration;
* Dr Lawrence Korb, Assistant Secretary of Defense under Reagan and currently known for his expertise on defense budgets at the Center for American Progress;
* Dr Stephen Colecchi, Director of the Office of International Justice and Peace in the Department of Social Development and World Peace at the US Conference of Catholic Bishops;
* Ms Sullivan Robinson, former Executive Director of the Congress of National Black Churches, Inc;
* Mr Dennis W Frado, Director of the Lutheran Office for World Community of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; and
* Mr Marty Rendon, Vice President of Public Policy and Advocacy for the US Fund for UNICEF.
During the briefing, Rep McGovern and the panelists repeatedly mentioned the two Wall Street Journal op-eds by the Hoover Group (former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and George Shultz, former Secretary of Defense William Perry, and former Senator Sam Nunn) and the Group’s call for the elimination of nuclear weapons, as helping to create an opening for their advocacy.
The briefing was held in advance of Rep. McGovern and Rep. Dan Lungren (Republican, California) announcing a bill titled the ‘Global Security Priorities Act’, which will call for improving US national security by reducing the nuclear arsenal and to use some of the resulting savings to increase US funding for nonproliferation programs and foreign aid programs that help children.