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Co-Director of Program on Science and Global Security, Princeton University
June 1, 2018
Energy Department to Aid Iraqi Scientists
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The Department of Energy announced Feb. 25 that the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) will begin a new program “to provide employment opportunities to Iraqi scientists, technicians, and engineers.” The program is designed to aid the reconstruction of Iraq and “prevent the proliferation of…weapons of mass destruction (WMD) expertise to terrorists or proliferant states,” according to an NNSA press release, which added that this program “complements” a similar State Department effort announced in December.

The program is to be “implemented by an international partnership of scientists” from an Arab nongovernmental organization, other international organizations, and the NNSA. The participants will “discuss priorities and options for technical cooperation” after first completing a “survey of Iraq’s science and technology infrastructure.”

In a March 5 interview, David Kay, former lead inspector of the Iraq Survey Group, who has met recently with many Iraqi scientists, criticized the U.S. handling of these projects. Kay said U.S. implementation was “much slower…than it should have been” to prevent the flight of Iraqi WMD personnel.