Kittrie book recommendations become U.S. law

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

 Orde Kittrie
A set of recommendations by Professor Orde Kittrie of the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University were signed into law on Dec. 26 by President Obama as Section 1304 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014. The section is titled, “Strategy to Modernize Cooperative Threat Reduction and Prevent the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction and Related Materials in the Middle East and North Africa Region.”


The recommendations were made in a chapter in the book, U.S. Nonproliferation Strategy for the Changing Middle East, which was co-authored by Kittrie and four other experts on preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East.


The recommendations were first included in S. 1021, the Next Generation Cooperative Threat Reduction Act of 2013, introduced by U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) in May 2013.  In her Congressional Record statement introducing the bill, Shaheen offered “special thanks to the Co-Chairs of the Project on U.S. Middle East Nonproliferation Strategy, including David Albright, Mark Dubowitz, Orde Kittrie, Leonard Spector and Michael Yaffe, whose report, ‘U.S. Nonproliferation Strategy for the Changing Middle East,’ served as the inspiration for this legislation.


Kittrie was lead author of the chapter titled, “Cooperative Nonproliferation Programs Applicable to the Middle East,” which included the recommendations that were adopted into law.  The chapter observes that many officials and experts in the Middle East and North Africa recognize the growing danger of extremists acquiring weapons of mass destruction, and are interested in strengthening regional cooperation, including across the Arab/Israeli divide. The chapter explains that while the need for, and interest in, such regional cooperation is growing, U.S. support for such cooperation has been shrinking.  The chapter identifies several cooperative nonproliferation projects with a proven track record of success in the Middle East and North Africa that have recently been curtailed for lack of relatively small amounts of funding.


The chapter also characterizes existing U.S. cooperative threat reduction projects in the Middle East and North Africa as "sometimes uncoordinated," with "no central mechanism or individual that tracks or coordinates all of the work being done in the Middle East." The chapter concludes that “it is imperative for the United States to develop and implement a comprehensive nonproliferation strategy for the Middle East” and provides specific recommendations for how such a strategy could improve coordination and ensure that programs are more creative, effective, and results oriented.


Section 1304 requires the U.S. Secretary of Defense, in coordination with the U.S. Secretary of State and the U.S. Secretary of Energy, to “establish a comprehensive and broad nonproliferation strategy to advance cooperative efforts with the governments of countries in the Middle East and North Africa to reduce the threat from the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and related materials.” The strategy and “a plan for the implementation of the strategy” must be submitted to Congress by March 31.


The section also sets forth detailed requirements for the strategy, including that it contain: “an assessment of gaps in current cooperative efforts,” “an estimate of associated costs required to plan and execute the proposed cooperative threat reduction activities under the strategy,” and “a discussion of the metrics to measure the success of the strategy.” It also requires that the Secretary of Defense, in establishing the strategy, “consult with governmental and nongovernmental experts in matters relating to nonproliferation that present a diverse set of views.


When it was released in January, the 154-page book that inspired the legislation, received coverage from more than 100 media outlets around the country, including Argentina, Azerbaijan, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Greece, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Lebanon, Malaysia, Maldives, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Romania, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United States and Vietnam.


Section 1303 of the new law extends by three years a different provision which Kittrie developed in 2008 as the sole attorney serving on a National Academies of Science commission, which recommended that provision in its report titled Global Security Engagement: A New Model for Cooperative Threat Reduction.  Section 1303 is titled, “Extension of Authority for Utilization of Contributions to the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program.” It provides special authority facilitating foreign contributions to cooperative threat reduction programs.


Kittrie is a leading expert on nonproliferation law and policy issues. Prior to joining the ASU law faculty, Kittrie served for 11 years in legal and policy positions at the U.S. Department of State. As the Department's lead attorney for nuclear affairs, he participated in negotiating five U.S.-Russia nuclear nonproliferation agreements and a U.N. treaty to combat nuclear terrorism. From 2008 to 2012, Kittrie served as chair of the Nonproliferation, Arms Control and Disarmament group of the American Society of International Law. He also has testified on nonproliferation issues before both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.


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