Strengthening Senate Oversight of Nuclear Security

Author: 
Author data: 
Janne Nolan
Publication Date: 
March 2013
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The Hill's Congress Blog

Last week, in a 53-44 bipartisan vote, the Senate defeated Sen. Rand Paul’s attempt to eliminate the National Security Working Group (NSWG). Passage of this amendment would have been a signal that the Senate was abdicating responsibility to remain informed on international negotiations about critical national security issues.

Although the NSWG has not played as prominent a role as its Cold War predecessor, senators who serve on this group believe it still serves a vitally important function. Today, the NSWG has the potential to be an indispensible means of preserving the Senate’s institutional knowledge about nuclear and other security issues.  Expert legislators such as John Kerry, Jon Kyl, and Richard Lugar have left the Senate and significantly reduced the institutional knowledge on vital nuclear issues. In fact, Sen. Lugar was the final remaining original member of the Arms Control Observer Group to serve in the Senate.