22 COUNTRIES HAVE WEAPONS USABLE MATERIAL: WHAT COULD GO WRONG?
Monday, October 22nd – Partnership for a Secure America, the Arms Control Association, and Hudson Institute held the third and final event of The Nuclear Security Forum. Alarmed by nuclear smuggling and terrorist efforts to acquire WMD, world leaders have strengthened standards to protect dangerous materials but theft, trafficking, and terrorism remain potent problems. This briefing reviewed past global efforts to secure nuclear materials, and discussed what Congress can do to improve these critical efforts. Robert “Bud” McFarlane, former National Security Advisor to President Ronald Reagan, offered keynote remarks focused on the role of U.S. nuclear industry in promoting global nuclear security.
Ambassador Ken Brill urged attendees to look to the patchwork structure and voluntary nature of the global nuclear security architecture, highlighting the need for a unified and enforceable regime:
“Global nuclear security arrangements remain a patchwork of largely voluntary measures and recommendations that are inadequate given the catastrophic consequences of a successful act of nuclear terrorism. The essential elements of an effective and sustainable global nuclear security regime to prevent nuclear terrorism are still missing. Current international nuclear security arrangements, for example, have no obligatory international process to assess how states are meeting their responsibility to secure these dangerous materials.”
Ambassador Holgate spoke from her experience as a key facilitator of the Nuclear Security Summits, discussing both accomplishments that have been made and opportunities for improvement:
“The Summit process brought unprecedented high-level attention to nuclear security and succeeded in reducing the number of countries with weapons-usable nuclear material from 50 to 22. But there’s still plenty to be done, and much of what needs to be done falls to Congress.”