News | Nov. 1, 2001

The Counterproliferation Imperative: Meeting Tomorrow's Challenges

The proliferation of nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) weapons poses major strategic and operational challenges to the United States and an important political challenge to the international community. In the hands of hostile states, these weapons threaten stability in key regions, put U.S. forces at risk, and undermine the U.S. ability to project power and to reassure friends and allies. Increasingly, the American homeland is at risk as well. U.S. intelligence officials routinely warn that more than a dozen states are actively pursuing offensive chemical or biological weapons programs. Moreover, the 1998 Indian and Pakistani nuclear tests, as well as lingering concerns over the status of the North Korean program, underscore the continuing nuclear aspirations of key states. Many states also seek ballistic and, increasingly, cruise missiles or other platforms capable of delivering NBC payloads. Proliferation trends point to a problem of growing complexity: a deepening of NBC capabilities among current proliferators; the spread of NBC-relevant technologies that comprise “virtual” capabilities for wouldbe future proliferators; and the growing potential for subnational or statesponsored NBC terrorism. READ MORE >>