Bipartisan National Security Officials Call on Congress to Prevent Nuclear Terrorism

Media Contacts: Jack Brosnan, Program Manager, Partnership for a Secure America, 202-293-8580;

First-Ever Study Finds Congressional Attention on Nuclear Security Waning as Nuclear Terrorism Threat Persists

For Immediate Release: July 26, 2016


Media Contacts: Nathan Sermonis, Executive Director, Partnership for a Secure America, (202) 293-8580; Jack Brosnan, Program Associate, Partnership for a Secure America, 202-293-8580; Kingston Reif, Director for Disarmament and Threat Reduction Policy. Arms Control Association, 202-463-8270 ext. 104; Tony Fleming, Director for Communications and Operations, Arms Control Association, 202-463-8270 ext. 110


(Washington, D.C.)—A new report from Partnership for a Secure America and the Arms Control Association reveals a concerning diminution of congressional leadership and interest in critical efforts to prevent nuclear terrorism.


The report, Empowering Congress on Nuclear Security: Blueprints for a New Generation, assesses current congressional staff attitudes about nuclear security and explores the role of Congress and case studies in congressional leadership on this issue. The report also offers action items for lawmakers in enhancing nuclear security efforts and reducing global stockpiles of nuclear materials.


“As the threat of nuclear terrorism continues to loom, America must maintain its leadership of global efforts to keep dangerous nuclear and radiological materials out of the wrong hands,” said Nathan Sermonis, Executive Director of Partnership for a Secure America. “Unfortunately, congressional interest has steeply declined with nuclear security faded from the headlines. We need, however, an all-of-government approach to advance the most effective measures against this threat.”


This joint report, made possible by funding provided by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, comes at a time when national attention on the security of nuclear and radioactive materials is decreasing even as these materials remain at risk from theft and more countries express interest in nuclear research and development.


“Despite significant progress in securing and eliminating nuclear materials around the world and the continued dedicated leadership role of several lawmakers, there is a need for Congress to play a more active role in shaping nuclear security policy,” noted Kingston Reif, Director for Disarmament and Threat Reduction Policy at the Arms Control Association. “We provide an important blueprint to build upon Congress’ historic bipartisan achievements on nuclear security and engage a new generation of policy advisers on Capitol Hill.”


To mark the publication of the report, Partnership for a Secure America and the Arms Control Association will be hosting an invitation-only event July 26 on Capitol Hill for congressional staff. The event will feature Ambassador Linton BrooksAmbassador Bonnie Jenkins, and General Frank Klotz.
For more information about the report, please contact Partnership for a Secure America at or (202) 293-8580, or the Arms Control Association at or (202) 463-8270 ext. 104.

Carnegie Corporation of New York Awards Bipartisan Congressional Education Grant to PSA

Partnership for a Secure America (PSA) is pleased to announce a new grant award from the Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY) to continue its bipartisan congressional education and training program. The two-year grant will support PSA’s Congressional Partnership Program (CPP), providing expert seminars on current national security and foreign affairs issues, formal negotiation training, and bipartisan policy workshops.

“We are pleased to continue PSA’s important efforts on Capitol Hill thanks to the Carnegie Corporation of New York’s generous support. As the United States faces unprecedented challenges from around the globe, we must restore a commitment to bipartisan cooperation beyond ‘the water’s edge’ to protect our nation and the core principles which unite us,” said Nathan Sermonis, PSA Executive Director.

Since 2009, the CPP has convened hundreds of congressional staff members, equipping foreign policy and security advisers to assess global challenges, build common ground across political parties, and achieve U.S. national interests. Carnegie Corporation of New York has provided support since the program’s inception.

Carnegie Corporation of New York is America’s oldest grant making foundation, established in 1911 by Andrew Carnegie to promote the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding. In keeping with this mandate, the Corporation’s work focuses on the issues that Andrew Carnegie considered of paramount importance: international peace, the advancement of education and knowledge, and the strength of our democracy.

USIP-PSA Celebrate 35th Event of Briefing Series

On November 3rd, The United States Institute of Peace (USIP) and Partnership for a Secure America (PSA) celebrated the 35th event in the Congressional Briefing Series – Topics on International Conflict Resolution and Prevention. This series is an educational program that is designed to provide congressional staff with opportunities to engage leading experts and fellow Capitol Hill staffers in bipartisan forums.

This series has been very successful in providing an opportunity for staff to receive fact-based updates on conflict around the world and discuss opportunities for bipartisan consensus. It has featured events on conflict resolution in countries including Afghanistan, Colombia, Iraq, Ukraine, Syria, Tunisia, and Pakistan. The series has also focused on how to prevent conflict by hosting briefings on issues including countering violent extremism in Africa and civil nonviolent resistance.

Notable speakers include General John Allen, Ambassador Bill Taylor, Congressman Jim Kolbe, Dr. Andrew Wilder, and Ambassador Thomas Pickering. Over the lifetime of the program, this briefing series has hosted hundreds of congressional foreign policy and national security staffers.


McCain-Feinstein Amendment to NDAA

Today, the United States Senate voted – by a bipartisan majority of 78 to 21 – to require all employees and agents of the U.S. government to follow interrogation guidelines and techniques outlined in the U.S. Army Field Manual on Human Intelligence Collector Operations. The legislation – offered as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2016 (NDAA) – was introduced by Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Jack Reed (D-RI), and Susan Collins (R-ME). In assuring that the standards of the U.S. Army Field Manual are upheld during detainee interrogations, the Senators and their supporters aim to prevent the use of torture on individuals under U.S. government control while continuing to ensure the preservation of American national security.

Last week, Partnership for a Secure America released a bipartisan policy statement asserting that, “The United States detainee interrogation policy can live up to American values and, at the same time, protect U.S. national security.” The statement was signed by leading Republican and Democratic national security experts with service in Congress, the executive branch, and civil society. It offers bipartisan support for sustained use of the U.S. Army Field Manual on Human Intelligence Collector Operations standards during detainee interrogations and aims to garner support in Congress to actively, effectively oversee America’s intelligence community to ensure adherence to these guidelines.

During his first term, President Obama issued an executive order to restrict interrogation of detainees to techniques detailed in the Army Field Manual. However, executive orders can be modified or rescinded by subsequent administrations. The amendment passed on Tuesday will codify these restrictions into law and ensure that the use of torture during interrogations is not made permissible under future administrations. In the days ahead, the Senate will continue to consider the NDAA and additional amendments. If passed, the bill will then be considered at a conference of both the House and Senate. The final stop for the bill, if passed at the conference, will be President Obama’s desk. If the NDAA is signed by President Obama, the bill and its amendments will enter into law.

Bipartisan Group of National Security Leaders Call for Sustained Policy Reform and Oversight on U.S. Interrogation Activities

Washington, D.C. – Today, Partnership for a Secure America (PSA) released its newest bipartisan statement on U.S. interrogation policy, signed by twenty Republican and Democratic national security experts.

The statement asserts that the United States detainee interrogation policy can live up to American values and, at the same time, protect U.S. national security. The statement aims to garner support in Congress to actively, effectively oversee America’s intelligence community to ensure adherence to standards set in the U.S. Army Field Manual on Human Intelligence Collector Operations.

Signatories to PSA’s statement include seven former Senators, two former House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairs, three former Governors, Chair and Vice Chair of the 9/11 Commission, and eight Cabinet and senior-level officials from the Carter, Reagan, Bush (41), Clinton, Bush (43), and Obama administrations. This initiative builds upon PSA’s 2005 statement entitled Treatment of Prisoners and 2008 statement Uniform Interrogation Standards, which denounced the use of cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment of prisoners under American control.

The Newest Statement Reads:

The United States detainee interrogation policy can live up to American values and, at the same time, protect our national security. This policy, supported by overwhelmingly bipartisan legislation in 2005, states: “No individual in the custody or under the physical control of the U.S. Government, regardless of nationality or physical location, shall be subject to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.”* Such principles can be attained by following the U.S. Army Field Manual on Human Intelligence Collector Operations. We believe these lawful, humane, and effective techniques will produce actionable intelligence while adhering to our founding principles.

To ensure the integrity of this critical process, Congress should conduct effective, real-time oversight on America’s intelligence communities. Failure to live up to these internal safeguards adversely affects the nation’s security and damages America’s reputation in the world.
* Detainee Treatment Act of 2005

Richard Armitage
Deputy Secretary of State


Chair, International Peace Institute



Ambassador to the United Nations



U.S. Congressman (D-CA)



U.S. Trade Representative



Secretary of Defense



U.S. Senator (D-OK), 1979-1994

Governor of Oklahoma, 1975-1979


Governor of New Jersey, 1982-1990

9/11 Commission Chairman


U.S. Senator (D-VA), 1989-2001

Governor of Virginia, 1982-1986

Secretary of Defense

Richard C.

Former President of the

Century Foundation


Secretary of the Interior, 2009-2013

U.S. Senator (D-CO), 2005-2009


U.S. Senator (R-MN)


Carl Levin

U.S. Senator (D-MI)



Secretary of State



U.S. Congressman (D-IN)



U.S. Senator (R-IN)


John E. Sununu

U.S. Senator (R-NH)


Gary Hart

U.S. Senator (D-CO)


Robert C.

National Security Advisor


William H.
Taft IV

Deputy Secretary of Defense



PSA Statement on Interrogation_Final2.pdf