A new report by three leading nuclear experts urges more aggressive efforts to reduce the threat of nuclear instability in Russia. The report's central recommendation is that the United States immediately and significantly increase the resources devoted to current efforts to secure and consolidate nuclear weapon materials in the sprawling Russian nuclear complex.

The report --issued by the Russian-American Security Advisory Council-- focuses on the need to strengthen the Department of Energy's programs to prevent the theft of weapons-useable nuclear material. The authors of the report, Oleg Bukharin, Matthew Bunn and Kenneth N. Luongo argue that although the challenge is greater than originally foreseen, funding has not increased commensurately.

The report recommends:

Consolidation and conversion of Russian fissile material should be at the top of the U.S. foreign policy agenda. Accordingly, the United States should work with Russia to provide incentives to accelerate consolidation and conversion efforts and eliminate bureaucratic impediments.

The United States must provide funding for "emergency measures" such as keeping nuclear security guards on the job and maintaining security systems. It must also help fund transition costs such as training and equipment. At the same time, the United States must secure Russian commitment to provide adequate funding once U.S. assistance is phased out.

To help sustain Russian support, Russian nuclear experts, particularly from laboratories, should be included in all major decisions and reliance should be increased on indigenous personnel and firms to maintain the programs once the initial U.S. assistance is completed.