The Oct. 26 front-page story "Unprecedented Peril Forces Tough Calls" understated the work of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) in securing nuclear weapons materials in Russia.
The story repeated the assertion by Sen. John F. Kerry in the first presidential debate that at the current rate of securing material, the program will take 13 years to complete.
That is nonsense. That 13-year figure does not consider the rate of sites being secured. To date, we have completed security improvements at nearly 70 percent of the sites, and by the end of 2005, we will have secured more than 80 percent.
The NNSA started with securing the most vulnerable sites, which tend to be smaller. Our work will be complete by 2008.
This accelerating trend is already evident. In 2003 and 2004, the NNSA secured more vulnerable material in Russia than during any other two-year period since the program began.
for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation
National Nuclear Security Administration