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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

U. S. Help for Arms Conversion

ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico -- U.S. businesses are beginning a venture meant to bring American know-how to the countries of the former Soviet Union and create jobs both there and in the United States. The United States Industry Coalition, incorporated less than a month ago, held its first workshop here Monday to explain its goals and to interest businesses in joining. The coalition will make it easier for businesses to work with U.S. government agencies, national laboratories and universities on projects to turn the defense institutes of the former Soviet Union toward economic development. "The U.S. government looks to the private sector to be the real engine of change," said Brenda Heaster, a special assistant for defense conversion in the State Department. Many speakers stressed the need to employ former Soviet military scientists on peaceful ventures to prevent them from taking their nuclear weapons knowledge elsewhere. Several hundred government, lab, university and private industry representatives attended the workshop to hear the goals of the newly formed coalition; why the program is important to the 10 national laboratories and the Defense, Energy and State departments; and how the coalition hopes to help U.S. companies of all sizes approach ventures in Russia and other countries of the former Soviet Union. The potential gains for American companies were also stressed. "We're going to get something from it -- products and commercialization," said Michael Deegan, the interim coalition president