terrorists

Non-state actors & WMD: Does ISIS have a pathway to a nuclear weapon?

Nuclear Security

On March 2014, during the Nuclear Security Summit held in the Netherlands, President Obama identified his number one concern as being the prospect of a nuclear weapon going off in Manhattan. UK Home Secretary Theresa May pinpointed her particular fear of the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) acquisition of “chemical, biological or even nuclear weapons” in the “world’s first truly terrorist state”. Fortunately, there has not yet been a nuclear or radiological terrorist attack, but the smuggling of nuclear material remains a pivotal threat to nuclear security.

The 2016 Nuclear Security Summit returns to Washington

NSS2014

 

In his 2009 speech in Prague, President Obama described the threat of terrorists acquiring nuclear weapons as the “most immediate and extreme threat to global security”. Setting the bar high, he also announced the start of a global summit process that would focus on the security of nuclear materials from the threat of theft and terrorism in and work “to secure all vulnerable nuclear material around the world within four years”.

Iran Update: Number 152

Getting to Zero Update

NATO proceeded quietly with its Strategic Deterrence and Defense Posture Review, while U.S. and Russian disagreements over missile defense continued. The United States was also conducting a review of nuclear targeting. In the United Kingdom, the “successor” to the Vanguard-class submarine that carries Trident missiles officially entered “Initial Gate,” or the initial design phase.

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Nuclear Security after the Washington Summit

The Washington summit on nuclear security delivered some positive outcomes. But it is imperative that states do not now become complacent; there is much still left to do to ensure that nuclear weapons and material do not fall into the wrong hands. The ultimate gauge of the summit’s success will be whether actions now follow words. Published originally in the RUSI Journal, June/July 2010, Vol. 155, No. 3.

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April 2010

The threat of nuclear terrorism: a race between catastrophe and co-operation

“If there was an incident of nuclear terrorism, what happens thereafter? You can imagine if al Qa’eda attacked. You can see them saying, ‘Actually we’ve got more. We will blast more at a time that we choose.’ Even if it was not true there would be panicked emptying of cities globally. If an incident happened in an American city, the US would be under enormous pressure to use enormous military force to target whoever is connected in any way. You’d have widespread instability and conflict.”

BASIC Research Director Dr. Ian Kearns quoted in The National (Abu Dhabi)

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