Nuclear Security Working Group

The Congressional Nuclear Security Working Group is a bipartisan caucus in the United States Congress dedicated to improving awareness and engagement on the urgent threats posed by nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism.  Co-chaired by Congressman Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) and Congressman Peter Visclosky (D-IN), the Working Group’s goals include strengthening nuclear safeguards, securing fissile material, and preventing the misuse of sensitive nuclear materials and technologies.

 “The task at hand is to develop and implement sound nonproliferation policies in concert with like-minded nations.  Policies that transcend partisan, cultural, and ideological differences to prevent our world from sleepwalking to utter disaster.”  – Congressman Fortenberry

To expand the resources and expertise available to support this mission, Congressional Nuclear Security Working Group leadership partnered with George Washington University, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board (an executive branch agency of the United States government), to establish a Nuclear Security Fellowship program.  In January 2017, three Nuclear Security Fellows began work on Capitol Hill bringing a wealth of technical and policy experience in nuclear security issues.  Nuclear Security Fellows have been assigned to work in the offices of Congressman Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), Congressman Peter Visclosky (D-IN), and Congressman Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN).  

Nuclear security issues have special relevance here in Nebraska where Omaha hosts the United States military’s Strategic Command headquarters.  Strategic Command is responsible for deploying U.S. nuclear weapons to protect America by deterring nuclear war. 

Recent Events

• February 2016: The Congressional Nuclear Security Working Group hosted the “Nuclear Security in the 21st Century” event on Capitol Hill.  This event highlighted the importance of nuclear security, its evolution in light of current political situations, and the American perspective on nuclear strategy.  Event participants included Congressman Jeff Fortenberry; Congressman Peter Visclosky; Rose Gottemoeller, Department of State Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security; Dr. Gary Samore, Director of Research at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University; Dr. Christopher Ford, Chief Legislative Council for the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations; and Steve Clemmons, Editor-at-Large for The Atlantic.

• March 2017: The Congressional Nuclear Security Working Group hosted a “Preventing Catastrophe: Nuclear Terrorism Threats and Responses” event on Capitol Hill on March 17 from 10:00-11:00am in Rayburn 2362B. Event participants included:  Congressman Jeff Fortenberry; Congressman Pete Visclosky; Congressman Chuck Fleischmann; Joan Rohflin, President and Chief Operating Officer of the Nuclear Threat Initiative; Dr. Bruce Hoffman, Director of the Center for Security Studies at Georgetown University; The Honorable Joyce Connery, Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board.

 “The horrific consequences of a nuclear weapon explosion in America are unfathomable.  Yet, it is becoming easier to access the technical information and materials necessary to do devastating harm.  It is my hope that this working group will add momentum to nuclear threat reduction to keep our country safe.” – Congressman Fortenberry