June 1, 2012

Proliferation Security Initiative: Origins and Evolution

Failure as a Policy Catalyst On December 9, 2002, the United States and Spanish navies cooperated to interdict a North Korean vessel, the So San, in the Arabian Sea.1 The operation initially appeared to be an unqualified success, a textbook example of interdiction to prevent proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), related materials, or

Jan. 1, 2012

Defining "Weapons of Mass Destruction" (Revised)

This revised Occasional Paper explores the issue of defining weapons of mass destruction with a focus on summarizing how the term has been used in disarmament negotiations, U.S. national security policy, Soviet and Russian military doctrine, and American political discourse. The paper identifies alternative definitions for WMD, addresses some of the key policy issues associated with different definitions, and proposes a definition appropriate for the Department of Defense.

Dec. 1, 2011

U.S. Ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention

On October 1, 1990, two months after Iraq’s surprise invasion and annexation of Kuwait had put the United States and other members of the international community on a collision course with the Saddam Hussein regime, President George H.W. Bush spoke to the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in New York. He described Iraq’s brutal aggression

Oct. 1, 2010

Future Foreign Perceptions of Chemical Weapons Utility

It is inherently speculative to address future foreign perceptions of chemical weapons (CW) utility. This is not only because it concerns things that may be, rather than things that already are, but also because those who might be considering or already pursuing CW capabilities for the future will not be openly sharing their views. Classified

Aug. 3, 2010

Nuclear safety in Iran, post-Fukushima

Although the Fukushima disaster has stalled the ambitions of some developing countries to deploy new power reactors, the Japanese crisis has not seriously affected the expansion of Iran's nuclear energy program. Among the 45 countries that are actively considering plans to build their first power reactors, Iran is farthest along in the process and

April 1, 2010

The Origins of Nunn-Lugar and Cooperative Threat Reduction

In a 1999 interview, Ashton Carter, a key figure in helping to create and implement the threat reduction program initiated by Senators Sam Nunn (D–GA) and Richard Lugar (R–IN), recalled four visits between 1994 and 1996 to an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) base in Pervomaysk, Ukraine. Planted in the soil of this base were the most

March 11, 2010

Countering WMD in the 2010 QDR

Coming from the Center for the Study of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), I probably will not surprise you by talking about the WMD aspects of this year’s Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR). Specifically, I will focus on its countering WMD aspects—that is, how the Department of Defense (DOD) thinks about and prepares to prevent, defend against, and

Jan. 1, 2010

Avoiding a Crisis of Confidence in the U.S. Nuclear Deterrent

The United States needs to modernize and ensure the long-term reliability and responsiveness of its aging nuclear deterrent force and nuclear weapons infrastructure. It cannot otherwise safely reduce its nuclear weapons, responsibly ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, confidently deter and contain challenges from rising or resurgent

Jan. 1, 2010

U.S. Withdrawal from the Antiballistic Missile Treaty

As President George W. Bush made these remarks in a speech at the National Defense University (NDU) on May 1, 2001, National Security Council (NSC) Senior Director for Proliferation Strategy, Counterproliferation, and Homeland Defense Robert Joseph listened attentively. Within just 4 months of taking office, President Bush was articulating one of

Oct. 1, 2009

President Nixon’s Decision to Renounce the U.S. Offensive Biological Weapons Program

The nuclear arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union was a prominent feature of the Cold War. A lesser known but equally dangerous element of the superpower competition involved biological weapons (BW), living microorganisms that cause fatal or incapacitating diseases in humans, animals, or plants. By the late 1960s, the United