Dave O’Connor Jeff Michaels

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Dave O’Connor

Jeff Michaels

Revised Proposal

Science, Technology and National Security

Professor DesienoDeSieno

Dave, Jeff, This is a superb topic and you’ve identified nicely an issue to debate as each of you write your research papers for the course. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Use footnotes within your text and cite sources that support the evidence and assertions that you express.

  • Consult with the College Writing Lab about your writing style. I’ve noted several instances of style that need attention within the text.

  • Write in shorter paragraphs, limit the topic of a paragraph to one issue.

Grade for this segment of your research: B+

The Problem: The collapse of the Soviet Union left its pampered< On what basis do you assert this quality? Cite a source as a footnote. army of weapons scientists without a mission and without a paycheck. Under the Yeltsin regime, the formerly privileged military-scientific community which resided in luxurious(by Russian standards) 'closed cities' now live in conditions of extreme poverty and depravation. A grave threat now exists that these scientists will sell their technical know-how to the highest bidder which could very well include rogue states such as Iran, Iraq, Libya, and North Korea, terrorist groups intent on acquiring weapons of mass destruction, or would be superpower states such as China which wish to upgrade their weapons capabilities. This threat poses a clear and present danger to the national security of the United States as well as the Russian Federation, and both nations are attempting to stem the tide.< Tide? ...deal with the problem.
The organizations and people involved:
The number of Russian scientists involved in Soviet WMD (weapons of mass destruction) programs with specialized technical know-how is estimated to be roughly 60,000.< Need a footnote here. This figure breaks down into 30,000 scientists involved in missile technology, 20,000 scientists specializing in the development of the Soviet nuclear arsenal, and 10,000 scientists working on biological and chemical weapons. Under the Soviet regime responsibility for these various programs ranged from the Ministry of Defence and KGB, to the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Atomic Energy. The scientists themselves resided in 'closed cities' which did not officially exist except for a postal code. Access to these cities was forbidden both to Soviet citizens as well as to all foreigners. The reason for keeping foreigners out was for obvious security reasonsconcerns, but the reason for restricting access by Soviet citizens was to prevent them from seeing how much better the conditions for residents of these 'closed cities' were in comparison to their own. Tomsk-7 which had an estimated population of 100,000 boasted the only zoo in Siberia. Scientists were paid handsomely for their work, and retired with good pensions, and also enjoyed all the privileges that the state would afford them. Moreover, the scientists themselves had access to unlimited resources for the advancement of their research. All this however changed when the Soviet Union collapsed. Funds for research evaporated as did the Russian expenditures on maintaining the scientific community in the same manner to which it had become accustomed to during the Soviet regime.
The Russian Response:
The threat of a 'brain drain' has been a matter of national security first and foremost for the Russian Federation. Their attempts at stemming the flow of state secrets has taken several bizarre turns. Security at the formerly 'closed cities' has been reduced significantly, although many of the 'closed cities' still remain closed to outsiders. The Russian Government despite its best efforts at improving pay and pensions for its weapons scientists has not been able to prevent most of its top brainsbest scientists from living in below poverty level conditions. Instead, the government has been continually appealing towards to the scientists' patriotism as the main reason why they should not seek employment elsewhere. However, in many instances when this technique has failed, scientists are visited by security officials and warned against divulging state secrets. Top scientists are constantly under surveillance by security officials both at home and when they travel abroad. Furthermore, the Federal Security Service and the Ministry of Defence have been making greater efforts at monitoring its former employees and restricting their movements(especially to rogue states).

In other instances, however, the Russian Government has actually promoted a 'brain drain' to states where it is beneficial for its< to what does ‘its’ refer here? foreign policy. Specifically, the Russian Government has sponsored the Iranian nuclear program at Bushehr for two main reasons: 1) it provides a source of income for the financially weak Russian state 2) it gives Russia a bargaining chip in dealings with the US Government which is vehemently opposed to the Iranian weapons program. Another effort which the Russian Government pursues, with significant foreign assistance, is employing its weapons scientists to destroy the very weapons they created. Recently, the New York Times reported < footnote that US Government funds which were intended for this purpose have been diverted by the Ministry of Defence into programs which continue to develop deadlier weapons. Although production of chemical and biological weapons is expressly forbidden under a 1972 treaty restricting the development of these weapons, the Soviets first, and now the Russian Government continues research and production in this field. Why? With the collapse of the Soviet military, the extremely weak forces of the Russian Federation are seeking ways of sustaining their strategic military capability. This is part of a continuing debate within the Russian military over where it should concentrate its resources, either on rebuilding its conventional strength, or maintaining and upgrading its strategic nuclear, biological, and chemical forces so that Russia can retain its Great Power status. So far, the trend has been to support the limited upgrading of its strategic forces rather than improving conditions for its conventional forces. Thus, funding and development of new and deadlier WMD continues, albeit at a greatly reduced rate than under the Soviet Union.

United States current policy regarding the matter:
Numerous government leaders in the United States have issued warnings about the threat to national security posed by the Russian 'brain drain'. The main US response in terms of initiatives which are related current US policy have come emerges from the Department of Energy, the Department of Defense, the Central Intelligence Agency,the US Agency for International Development, and NASA. The largest effort institution to address the 'brain drain' problem is the International Science and Technology Center in Moscow. Internationally funded, although the US is the principle donor, the center has spent upwards of $190 million on projects that include small research grants(grants (worth about $400-700 a month) so that former weapons scientists can pursue peaceful applications of their expertise. The first major effort by the US Government to prevent the 'brain drain' occurred in 1994 with the Nunn-Lugar program, a.k.a. Co-operative Threat Reduction Program, < footnote and assigned it a budget of $400 million, to be administered by the DoD to aid eligible states in the former Soviet Union in destroying WMD stockpiles as well as setting up nuclear accouting accounting systems. Since then, Congress has continually approved funding for the employment of Russian weapons scientists in a variety of jobs.

In 1999, the Clinton adminsitration administration spent $20 million on scientist-to-scientist exchanges, joint research projects, and programs to convert military laboratories and institutes for peaceful purposes. The DoE DOE and NASA are also utilizing Russian technical know-how in their own programs, and many Russian scientists have actually been given work on domestic projects. Monitoring the proliferation of Russian technical know how has been assigned to the Central Intelligence Agency. For years since the end of the Cold War, the Russian Government has been complaining that the CIA is actively trying to recruit its scientists.

The Argument: So far has the U.S. policy regarding the matter been a success or failure and what should it do next? Is the United States doing enough to protect her citizens (and the world, as its responsibility as a superpower) against the Russian ‘brain drain’ or should the U.S. invest and spend more time, energy, and money to deal with this potential hazard?

Works Cited


Alibek, Ken. Biohazard: The Chilling True Story of the Largest Covert Biological Weapons Program in the World - Told from Within. Random House. New York, May 1999
Schweitzer, Glenn E. Moscow DMZ: The Story of the International Effort to Convert Russian Weapons Science to Peaceful Purposes. M.E. Sharpe. London, 1996
Newspaper and Magazine Articles:
Dolinin, Alexander. Russia’s Nuclear Gene Snoozing. Krasnaya Zvezda. August 31, 1999, p.1-2
Gordon, Michael R. The Hidden City: Hard Times for Russia’s Nuclear Centers. New York Times. November 18, 1998, p.1
Karpenko, Vladimir. Emergency Situations Will Never Occur at Nuclear Facilities Thanks to Special Security Regime. Rossiisskiye Vesti. October 28, 1998, p.12
Miller, Judith. The Germ Warriors: Iranians, Bioweapons in Mind, Lure Needy Ex-Soviet Scientists. The New York Times. December 8, 1998, p.1
Wadhams, Nick. Delegation Works to Keep Russian Scientists in Russia. Associated Press. August 20, 1999, p.1

Federation of American Scientists- www.fas.org

Russian Life Magazine- www.russian-life.com

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