Lugar attends security conference in Madrid, receives award

Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), now the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was honored Monday in Madrid after giving a keynote address to a conference of scientists and security experts.

"Lugar honored w/ "International Science & Security Medal" tonight in Madrid," his staff tweeted along with a photo, found here.

In his speech, Lugar discussed the successes of his Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction program, which, after its inception in 1992, removed all nuclear weapons from Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan and continues to dismantle weapons of mass destruction in the former Soviet Union. 

He emphasized how much the threat of WMDs has proliferated in the last 20 years.

"Discovering potential WMD threats is far more challenging now than when the Nunn-Lugar program began," he said. "Having the capacity to evaluate and respond to threats will depend on the lines of communication we have established around the world. If the United States and its allies engage only where we know weapons are being produced, we will fail to detect and prevent numerous threats."

The conference was sponsored by the Institute of Nuclear Fusion at the Polytechnic University of Madrid and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in Northern California. The LLNL is located in California's 10th congressional district, which was formerly represented by Under Secretary of State for Arms Control Ellen Tauscher.  

Lugar now travels to Uganda, Burundi and Kenya with Pentagon officials for a tour of several infectious-disease labs.

"Deadly diseases like Ebola, Marburg and anthrax are prevalent in Africa," he said in a statement announcing the trip. "Al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups are active in Africa, and it is imperative that deadly pathogens stored in labs there are secure."