Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has appointed nuclear testing veteran and former Energy Department defense chief Troy Wade to a new national commission on intelligence.
“As someone who understands the important role research and development plays to keep our nation secure, Troy Wade will be an invaluable member of the commission,” Reid said in a statement this week. “With his years of experience working at the Nevada Test Site, Troy is intimately familiar with the needs and challenges facing those who develop the technology for defense and intelligence gathering.”
A Las Vegas resident for 53 years, Wade, 76, said he’s delighted to be one of the dozen commission appointees who will help streamline the intelligence community’s 17 agencies.
“I’m very glad Senator Reid had that confidence in me,” he said.
Wade, who is chairman of the Nevada Test Site Historical Foundation, has been associated with what is now called the Nevada National Security Site since 1958.
In 1987 and 1988, he was President Ronald Reagan’s Assistant Secretary of Energy for Defense Programs in charge of U.S. nuclear weapons research, development, testing and production.
The new intelligence commission, formally called the National Commission for the Review of the Research and Development Programs of the United States Intelligence Community, was authorized in 2003 but never formed. It was revived last year.
In discussing his appointment, Wade offered insights on nuclear proliferation worldwide in light of Monday’s news that Pakistan now has more than 100 deployed nuclear weapons.
While that’s “pretty scary,” he said, “probably the scariest place is Iran because it’s not clear we know exactly what’s happening inside Iran and the people in charge don’t seem to be a reliable source of information.”
Wade, who played a key role in ushering the nation through the end of the Cold War, said dealing with nuclear weapons issues then was somewhat less complex than it is now.
“When we were dealing with the Soviet Union, we had a predictable enemy. We don’t have that any more,” he said.
“Pakistan has a bigger arsenal than India. What’s India going to do? And what methods do you use to determine what’s happening in other places around the world?”
Wade said he assumes his role on the new commission will be lending his expertise on nuclear weapons “but I won’t know for a few months.”