U.S. Senator Richard Lugar (R-Indiana) received the Department of Defense’s highest civilian award Monday.
Lugar, who has been a member of the U.S. Senate for 36 years, was being honored for his work curbing nuclear proliferation by being given the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service.
The Department of Defense presented the award to Lugar and former Georgia Senator Sam Nunn. The Nunn-Lugar program, in place since the early 1990s, is aimed at locating and securing nuclear weapons that went missing after the Soviet Union dissolved.
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, who presented the awards, says Lugar and Nunn are a symbol of the kind of public service necessary for the safety of the country.
“Their dedication, their leadership, their efforts at trying to ensure that we do everything we can to try to control the spread of weapons of mass destruction has been an incredible legacy of two individuals committed to trying to protect this world,” he says.
In a statement, Lugar says the work of the Nunn-Lugar program is far from over and urged the U.S. and Russia to continue to work together to manage nuclear dangers.