NNSA Principal Deputy Administrator Frank Rose visited six European countries from September 28 through October 6, 2023, for a series of discussions on securing radioactive and nuclear materials, the future of arms control, and nuclear preparedness and emergency response. The trip – which included stops in Germany, Finland, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Belgium – aimed to strengthen collaboration with key European partners.
“Existential threats to Western democracies who subscribe to a rules-based international order are very real,” Rose said. “NNSA is proud to work with partners across Europe to advance nuclear security across a multitude of domains.”
Rose began his trip in Germany, where he met with the Director General Dr. Gunter Sautter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Chancellery’s Alexander Eberl and Colonel Oberst i.G. Shulte-Borghoff, and Jasper Wieck, Political Director for the Federal Ministry of Defence. Amidst discussions of the international security environment, Rose provided these officials with an overview of NNSA’s Stockpile Stewardship Program, and stressed that the United States has no plans for nuclear explosive testing. He also expressed appreciation for the German and Bavarian governments’ decision to convert the FRM II research reactor at the Technical University of Munich from highly enriched uranium (HEU) to high-assay low enriched uranium fuel (LEU).
While in Germany, Rose also participated in a roundtable discussion with nuclear policy experts hosted by the International Institute for Strategic Studies. Rose highlighted NNSA’s role and mission, NNSA’s response to Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, and its bilateral collaboration with Germany. He also discussed the need for integrated deterrence, investing in production infrastructure, and adding flexibility within the Nuclear Security Enterprise.
From Germany, Rose travelled to Helsinki, Finland, where he met with Ambassador Jarmo Viinanen of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Unit for Arms Control, and Ms. Tiina Raijas, Ministerial Adviser in the Ministry of Defence. Rose congratulated his Finnish counterparts on joining NATO and discussed the nuclear dimensions of alliance membership. Rose also participated in a panel at the Helsinki Security Forum: “For A Rainy Day: Learning About the Nuclear Umbrella.” He highlighted how NNSA contributes to deterrence and extended deterrence, NNSA’s five current warhead modernization programs, and the NNSA’s Arms Control Advancement Initiative (ACAI). He noted that although achieving traditional arms control agreements will be “extremely difficult” in the near-to-mid-term, he reiterated how NNSA is preparing for when the geopolitical moment is right and not letting our capacities and workforce atrophy.
Rose spent two days in Warsaw to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of NNSA-Poland cooperation and meet with Polish officials. At a reception hosted by Dan Lawton, Deputy Chief of Mission at U.S. Embassy Warsaw, Rose thanked the Government of Poland for its assistance to Ukraine, adding that “I can’t say Poland’s efforts in this regard are surprising, as for the past twenty years they have been a valued partner in our global nuclear nonproliferation, nuclear security, and emergency response efforts.” Rose specifically praised the conversion of the MARIA research reactor form HEU to LEU and the reduction of nuclear risk by removing more than 700 kilograms of irradiated and unirradiated HEU from the EVA and MARI research reactors. Rose also met with Adam Guibourge-Czerwertynski, Undersecretary of State at the Ministry of Climate and Environment, where they discussed bilateral cooperation, including U.S. support for programs to enhance the security of Poland’s planned nuclear power plants. The conversation focused on sharing best practices, especially in areas including cybersecurity and the threats posed by unmanned aerial systems.
Rose spent October 4 in Vilnius, Lithuania, where he met with: Lithuanian Crisis Management Center Director Vilmantas Vitkauskas; Giedrius Puodziunas, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Director of Transatlantic Cooperation and Security Policy; and Ministry of Interior Vice Minister Arnoldas Abramavicius. Rose discussed NNSA’s Nuclear Smuggling Deterrence and Detection (NSDD) work with Lithuania over the past two decades, and identified possible additional areas of future collaboration between Lithuanian officials on emergency management.
While in Vilnius, Rose also visited Lithuania’s Radiation Protection Center, the Nuclear Security Centre of Excellence at the State Border Guard Service School, and addressed the NATO Summit After Action Tabletop Exercise. “Much progress has been made over the last two decades to secure radioactive and nuclear materials,” Rose told the exercise’s participants, “but we continue to face grave challenges in nuclear security” such as Russia’s invasion and reckless behavior at nuclear facilities in Ukraine, and their intention to station tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus. Rose added that “NNSA has been gratified to have such strong partnerships with our colleagues in Lithuania” and praised Vilnius and Lithuania’s accomplishment in hosting the NATO summit earlier this year.
On October 5, Rose visited Latvia for bilateral meetings with Gatis Svika, Director of Policy in the Ministry of Interior, and Raimonds Oskalns, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Director of Security Policy. In addition to discussing the evolving security environment, Rose’s Latvian counterparts expressed appreciation for the ongoing cooperation through the NSDD program and NNSA’s support to the Latvian State Border Guard and State Police services. Rose noted that NNSA will be “doubling down” on cooperation with allies and partners. Rose also visited the Radiation Safety Center of the State Environmental Centre, an organization responsible for licensing, inspections, engagement with international organizations, and emergency response that works with NNSA’s Office of Radiological Security.
Rose concluded his European trip on October 6 with visits to the European Union’s European External Action Service (EEAS) and NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. He met with EEAS Special Envoy for Nonproliferation and Disarmament, Ms. Marjolijn van Deelen, to whom he provided an overview of NNSA’s nonproliferation and arms control programs.
At NATO Headquarters, Rose met with the U.S. Mission to NATO, NATO Assistant Secretary General for Defense Policy and Planning Angus Lapsley, and briefed Allies on NNSA’s role in nuclear deterrence and extended deterrence, U.S. nuclear modernization programs, and NNSA’s contributions to arms control, nuclear security, and emergency management.