"...the Arms Control Association [does] so much to keep the focus on the issues so important to everyone here, to hold our leaders accountable to inspire creative thinking and to press for change. So we are grateful for your leadership and for the unyielding dedication to global nuclear security."
– Lord Des Browne
Vice Chairman, Nuclear Threat Initiative
From Sprint to Marathon: The 2014 Nuclear Security Summit and the Path Ahead

Latest ACA Resources

Deepti Choubey

The nuclear security summits, catalyzed by the United States and first held in 2010, have been described as a sprint within a marathon. They are an accelerated effort to achieve rapid and concrete progress globally in thwarting access by terrorists or other malicious actors to the building blocks for a nuclear bomb, such as highly enriched uranium (HEU) or separated plutonium.[1]

Unlike most ad hoc multilateral processes, the summits, now involving 53 countries represented by their leaders, are not a coalition of the willing.[2] Instead, these countries bring with them a wide range of, at times, conflicting views and varied experience on nuclear security. Diversity within a process based largely but not exclusively on consensus can create challenges. Summit outcomes therefore are vulnerable to facile criticisms that they are “lowest common denominator” or simply “not enough.”

Certainly, more needs to be done to prevent the real, persistent, and urgent threat of nuclear terrorism. Frequently overlooked, however, are groundbreaking gains, often fragile and hard won, in moving toward that goal. The 2014 nuclear security summit hosted by the Netherlands in The Hague on March 24 and 25 made such gains. This third summit can be credited with laying the foundation for organizing and holding accountable the community of governments, institutions, practitioners, and other stakeholders needed to sustain the ongoing nuclear security mission long after leaders leave the summit spotlight.

In 2016 the United States will host what may be the last summit. The transition from a sprint to a marathon will not be easy. Summit countries that have been racing to diminish rapidly the risk of a globally consequential threat will face a far longer and more complex test of endurance. Generating truly effective nuclear security nationally and globally and supporting the ongoing nuclear security mission require countries to be accountable for securing all materials. Understanding recent evolutions in thinking about nuclear security, highlighting meaningful results from the Hague summit, and identifying potential problems on the path to the 2016 summit are crucial preparation for leaders and others as they begin the last stretch of the sprint.

Evolving Approaches

Given the catastrophic and worldwide consequences of a nuclear terrorist attack, people could reasonably presume that the endeavor to put in place adequate protection for nuclear materials around the world is mature, commensurate to the threat, and equally well understood globally and that leaders therefore agree on the threat and what to do about it. That is not the case. Before the summits began, the international approach to nuclear security and the majority of national approaches to that issue could be described as underdeveloped, lagging behind the established rules, norms, mechanisms, and forums for long-standing nuclear issues such as nonproliferation, arms control, disarmament, and nuclear safety.

For instance, in the world of nuclear security, rules are established but not followed, other rules to fill gaps remain unwritten, effective practices are unevenly applied, and responsible behaviors are not fully defined or demonstrated by all. These shortcomings, combined with a disjointed understanding of the threat, make everyone vulnerable and greatly complicate global efforts to prevent nuclear terrorism. Five years ago in Prague, U.S. President Barack Obama’s call for leaders to prioritize and combat “the most immediate and extreme threat to international security”[3] was necessary and overdue. Since then, effective national and international approaches to nuclear security are burgeoning, and the recent summit provided signs of rapid maturity.

One sign is the large community of countries that now understands the risks and likely consequences of nuclear terrorism and sees global approaches to nuclear security as integral to national security. In The Hague, Hungary’s foreign minister reasoned further that “although the responsibility of establishing, implementing, maintaining, and sustaining a nuclear security regime rests entirely with States, in our globalized world, no state can ensure effective nuclear security on its own.”[4] Many other countries expressed similar perspectives.

Nevertheless, some participants cast the summits as being driven by a U.S. rather than global agenda. A review of the 2014 summit documents, such as national progress reports, suggests otherwise. The summits’ approach to this global threat has generated global leadership: Chile used regional trade agreements to create Mercosur’s[5] Specialized Working Group on Illicit Traffic in Nuclear and/or Radioactive Material; China and Canada are assisting Ghana and Jamaica, respectively, with their HEU research reactor conversions; Pakistan’s center of excellence,[6] the National Institute for Safety and Security, has been established as a national and regional resource for nuclear security training; Japan and the United States developed the Security-by-Design Handbook for other countries, capturing best practices for identifying security considerations early when designing new nuclear facilities; and Morocco has contributed to radiological threat reduction by conducting exercises and sharing best practices and has declared that it “will spare no effort to strengthen regional and international cooperation for the promotion of nuclear security culture between and among all stakeholders.” These examples, among many others, of countries doing their part should inspire other countries to match or surpass them.

Gains and Challenges

Against this backdrop, the Hague summit should be credited with two types of meaningful results: individual and group actions that tangibly reduce the risk of nuclear terrorism and systemic solutions that help organize the international community to address the threat holistically, effectively, and sustainably.

Tangible risk reduction. The most difficult problem for a terrorist to solve is obtaining the nuclear material for an improvised nuclear device. Permanently reducing the quantities of material and the number of locations at which materials are found is the most efficient method for frustrating terrorist aims and making everyone safer.

Tangible risk reduction since the 2012 summit in Seoul is best illustrated by the leadership of Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Sweden, and Vietnam,[7] who have rid themselves of nuclear bomb-making materials. Further minimizing material quantities is important, and at the Hague summit, Australia,[8] Belgium,[9] and Italy[10] announced that they had successfully removed excess nuclear materials with U.S. assistance. Further reductions will occur through Japan[11] pledging to remove all unnecessary weapons-usable nuclear material at a research facility, Kazakhstan[12] shipping additional HEU to Russia in 2014, and Canada[13] eliminating HEU use in isotope production by 2016 and completing removal of U.S.-origin fuel by 2018.

In 1992, 52 countries had weapons-usable nuclear materials. Fourteen countries were able to rid themselves of these materials over the 17 years until Obama’s speech in Prague launching the summits. In only the five years since then, 13 countries have done the same. Much, although not all, of that progress has been facilitated by the summits. Today, 25 countries have a kilogram or more of these materials, and there will be at least one fewer once Poland fulfills its commitment to be free of HEU by 2016.[14] More progress may be on the horizon as the summits continue to support countries’ work to review the risk associated with material holdings and determine the fate of these materials.

Other progress in nuclear terrorism risk reduction includes measures to increase the physical protection of hundreds of facilities, build human and resource capacity within and among countries in areas such as combating nuclear smuggling, make international institutions and organizations more durable, and strengthen the international legal foundation for nuclear security. Unlike five years ago, there is now an extensive network of nuclear security officials that are in day-to-day contact.[15]

Planning for the future, governments have focused on the durability of international institutions such as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and essential organizations such as the World Institute for Nuclear Security (WINS), which develops and promulgates best practices to more than 1,700 members in 98 countries around the world. Many countries made notable financial pledges to the IAEA Nuclear Security Fund at the Hague summit. Even more have underscored the value of sharing best practices, which are tomorrow’s standards. Therefore, the IAEA and WINS are two complementary entities indispensable for creating the binding rules and dynamic practices needed to counter the possibility that terrorists could exploit the gaps that exist in today’s patchwork of rules and practices.

Finally, one of the largest vulnerabilities in global nuclear security is that rules governing the domestic use, storage, and transportation of nuclear materials are not in place. They will be once the 2005 amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM) enters into force. Twenty-five more countries still need to ratify the amendment or take action to that effect. As of the Hague summit, 10 summit participants are nearing the final stages of ratification.[16] The summits have elevated this issue and galvanized countries to take action. A notable example is Pakistan, a country perceived to be unbound by nuclear security rules and outside the international nuclear order. At the summit, Pakistan’s prime minister announced that Islamabad is “actively conducting a review to meet [the amendment’s] requirements.”[17]

Holistic, effective, sustainable, and systemic solutions. The Hague summit’s breakthrough results demonstrated long-range and systemic problem solving. The summit laid the foundation for a global nuclear security system,[18] or “architecture,” for securing all nuclear materials under a common set of standards and best practices while holding all states accountable. Such a system will yield security benefits now and does not require a new treaty or overarching institution.

To bring the implementation of the national and international nuclear security mission to maturity and leave no gaps for malicious actors to exploit, an effective global nuclear security system would be based on the following principles:

  • It is comprehensive, meaning all nuclear materials, military as well as civilian, are covered.
  • International standards and best practices are employed consistently around the world.
  • Countries are taking steps to build the confidence of others about the effectiveness of their nuclear security without disclosing sensitive information.
  • Risk reduction occurs as countries continually assess their options to further consolidate or eliminate nuclear materials and related facilities.[19]

The foundation of a global nuclear security system, including elements of its key principles, is captured explicitly in the Hague summit communiqué and other summit initiatives. The communiqué distills the key concept of the system and the first two of the principles listed above when it highlights “the need for a strengthened and comprehensive international nuclear security architecture, consisting of legal instruments, international organizations and initiatives, internationally accepted guidance and good practices.”[20]

In the list of principles, “compre-hensive” directly refers to the idea that all nuclear material should be covered in an effective global system. Among the nine nuclear-armed[21] states, which possess the 85 percent of global stocks of weapons-usable nuclear material that is in military use,[22] each has its own security measures. Recent nuclear security incidents related to military materials in the United Kingdom[23] and the United States[24] provide reminders that there is no such thing as perfectly protected material. Former defense ministers and officials from France and the United Kingdom have argued that the fears of any “confidence[-]building measures or any form of standards or accountability” compromising state secrets are overblown as there is a long history of U.S.-Russian cooperation involving these sensitive materials.[25] They recommend that France, the UK, and the United States lead by example in parallel with bringing the other nuclear-armed states into the process.

At the close of the Hague summit, Obama included military materials in his outline of the forthcoming agenda.[26] Ensuring that these vast quantities of military materials are effectively secured and building the confidence of others in the security pertaining to those materials will be a central issue for the 2016 agenda. For nuclear-armed states that are reflexively defensive about this topic, a review of how the summit documents shared valuable information without compromising national security interests should ease their anxiety.

A good place to start is the U.S. national progress report and the last section, “Security of Military Materials,” which provides information about the measures in place around U.S. military materials and makes a new commitment to use existing mechanisms such as UN Security Council Resolution 1540 to report on the security of these materials. Additionally, the United States provides an important insight when it states in the report that the latest IAEA nuclear security guidance (INFCIRC/225/Revision 5)[27] is taken into account in military security provisions. Interestingly, Russia in its progress report makes a statement to the same effect when it discloses that, “[i]n Russia, all nuclear materials, their storage sites and associated facilities, as well as transportation of nuclear material are protected by the relevant security measures, including physical protection, at least at the levels recommended by the IAEA in INFCIRC/225/Rev.5.”

Important cooperative efforts have occurred bilaterally among the nuclear-armed states while protecting sensitive details, but the cooperative relationships and scope of activities are not widely known. Even without knowing the specific details of best-practice exchanges, tabletop exercises, and, some day, peer reviews, other countries would feel assured to know that such activities were taking place. For instance, Russia, the UK, and the United States discuss nuclear weapons security through an ongoing nuclear security trilateral exchange.[28] Official press releases can make the existence of these discussions visible to the public while protecting the sensitive content of such meetings. In the face of an ever-changing threat, the nuclear-armed states should drop their reluctance to share information and seize the opportunity to learn from one another.

With regard to the second principle, adherence to internationally agreed standards and best practices is the goal. Yet, nuclear security does not have binding international standards. The IAEA, through a process including member states, has developed guidance that is voluntary and communicates what countries should do regarding nuclear security. Improvements to on-the-ground implementation are learned through the sharing of best practices. Countries that support best-practice exchanges, including by participating in WINS, demonstrate that they can elevate their nuclear security practices and security culture to a world-class level through international collaboration.

The third principle of assurance or confidence-building measures stems from countries’ recognition that inadequate security in one country can affect all other countries; therefore, nuclear security is a shared responsibility. The inclusion of this concept in the communiqué represents a tectonic shift in international norms. Establishing a basis for mutual accountability for nuclear materials security is a sea change in the previously pervasive attitude of “just trust me.” Those days are over as countries now need to match words with deeds when asserting the “effective security of their nuclear materials and facilities.”[29] These assurances enable countries to do the necessary confidence building without compromising national security interests.[30] These assurances vary in terms of whether they are provided unilaterally, bilaterally, or multilaterally to internal stakeholders, partner countries, international organizations, or the public and how much confidence is built from any given measure. Examples include publishing information about laws and regulations to demonstrate the existence and nature of a legal and regulatory structure, initiating best-practice exchanges, inviting peer reviews, and training and certifying nuclear security personnel. These measures, and others, could apply to military materials as well.

Through existing activities, many countries already provide assurances, and the national progress reports demonstrate the viability of the concept. For instance, eight countries announced at the Hague summit that they would be hosting peer reviews provided by the IAEA, and 16 countries highlighted peer reviews already conducted. Finland’s president urged the use of all resources, including the IAEA International Physical Protection Advisory Service (IPPAS), but cautioned that “we do not make full use of this opportunity if there is no follow-up mission in which the progress accomplished is observed and confirmed.”[31]

Having outside experts regularly evaluate a country’s legal and regulatory regime and at least one facility, which is selected by the host country, is a good start. Yet, countries should strive to make the reviews more meaningful by expanding the scope of the mission to include as many relevant facilities as possible, to publish the nonsensitive parts of the report, and appropriately share follow-up actions in response to the report’s recommendations. The Netherlands has already created a model for others to follow by having all of its facilities evaluated through regular peer review, publishing the report absent the facility-specific appendix, and providing a concise summary of the recommendations made and actions taken in the national progress report. That summary could be used for the successor arrangement to the summits or in existing forums such as the IAEA General Conference.

The final principle of risk reduction through the elimination and minimization of materials has pre-summit origins. The biennial gatherings have likely helped foster an ethos for countries to more deliberately weigh the benefits and risks of materials they have in civilian use, specifically HEU, and to ask for help when needed. The Hague summit communiqué marks the first time that the summits took action on plutonium, encouraging states to “keep their stockpiles of separated plutonium to the minimum level, as consistent with national requirements.”[32] A literal interpretation of this provision could allow countries employing plutonium in their civilian programs to do nothing different. The intent of the “national requirements” qualifier was for countries to establish some internal justification for their policies. Leadership is necessary from countries and the nuclear industry to provide a model of responsible, low-risk behavior. Developing that model will be difficult without attending to the economic and political dynamics stymieing efforts to reduce the potential risks from large stockpiles of civilian plutonium.

Each nuclear security summit has done better than the last in organizing and integrating the views of industry through a forum held in conjunction with the official summit. Yet, these industry summits have not sufficiently addressed the challenge of civilian plutonium, largely because of complicated dynamics in which industry entities that are state owned or state reliant have blocked discussions. Consequently, there is little hope of curtailing activities that have required large financial and political investments. Moreover, potential solutions cannot be implemented by industry alone because they require government action. Therefore, the preparatory process leading to 2016 should address this dynamic to specifically resolve this outstanding problem and not leave it to industry to manage this alone. Not doing so would create an odd imbalance in the nuclear security record. Just as HEU is phased out and minimized in civilian use, countries would be running the risk of heedless production of separated plutonium coupled with increasing transportation of this material.

Putting principles into practice. Encouragingly, 35 countries, or two-thirds of summit participants, have committed to practicing the principles on which an effective global nuclear security architecture would operate through the Strengthening Nuclear Security Implementation initiative created by the Netherlands, South Korea, and the United States. Commitments under this initiative include meeting or exceeding the objectives of IAEA guidance through national regulations or other government measures; improving national nuclear security regimes by conducting self-assessments, hosting peer reviews regularly, and acting on the recommendations from these reviews; and ensuring that people with nuclear security responsibilities are demonstrably competent.[33] Viewed together, the commitments add up to a specific list of what a country wanting to demonstrate responsible nuclear security behavior would do.

The sheer number joining this initiative at the outset provides a strong foundation on which to build further. Notable signatories include nuclear-armed states such as France, Israel, the UK, and the United States. Bureaucratic challenges may have hindered China’s ability to join in time for the summit, but its national progress report indicates the improvements it is making in updating its regulations and says that it is “positively considering” inviting peer review from the IAEA.

The three summits have provided an invaluable start in defining the parameters for responsible nuclear security behavior within and among countries. Yet, several countries remain reluctant to join with others in actions to support larger nuclear security goals and international security.[34]

This lack of participation is puzzling when matched against the stated concerns of some of these countries. Those that have expressed anxiety over how much information should be shared still chose not to involve themselves in joint initiatives such as the UK-led one on nuclear information security. The 35 countries that supported this initiative recognize the fundamental need to protect sensitive information and take actions to strengthen national capacities to do so. India, Pakistan, and Russia, which have voiced strong concerns about transparency and insufficient protection of sensitive information, chose not participate, while France, which has similarly strong concerns, joined, along with Israel, the UK, and the United States. Ostensibly to defend the concept of “consensus,” Argentina, India, and Russia took a “principled” stance against the concept of group initiatives,[35] but most group initiatives are not relevant to all countries. Considering that the “principled” stance seems more a strategy to overemphasize consensus as a way to avoid binding commitments, this strategy is self-defeating when a country is essentially exempting itself from actions that would strengthen its own security.

A Path to 2016 and Beyond

The Hague summit delivered bold, substantive proposals and implemented effective format changes. The organizers of the 2016 summit should aim to continue the trend by keeping in mind lessons from the recent past as they plan for future success.

Operating assumptions. Re-evaluating the operating assumptions about the outputs of the next summit can ease an already challenging path to 2016. As countries near the end of the sprint, extensive negotiations over another detailed communiqué may not be a good use of limited time. The first summit communiqué was accompanied by a work plan that entailed a political commitment by countries to take steps to prevent nuclear terrorism.[36] Some of the commitments countries have made since then exceed the aspirations of the work plan. If leaders will contribute their political will en masse once more, the best use of that asset would be to design the global nuclear security architecture and formulate plans for building it. The outcome could be a very short statement articulating enduring principles paired with an implementation plan for building the global nuclear security system that includes provisions to keep countries accountable.

Summit planners should think about the process and the desired results together at every stage to anticipate, diminish, and deter potential problems. For example, the assumption that all previous summit participants are automatically invited to the next summit should be examined. After three summits, it is not unreasonable to ask whether a country’s actual contribution to the shared global agenda is commensurate with its rhetorical commitments to nuclear security, particularly if a country wants to keep shaping the agenda. For countries that did not meet the mark at the end of the Hague summit, there would still be time to join initiatives requiring actions announced there or to choose from a menu of other meaningful actions to credential themselves.

The same system could be used to address persistent complaints about the exclusionary nature of the summits. A mechanism could be developed for including other countries without compromising the effectiveness of the format and could subscribe new countries to meaningful measures.

Finally, particularly for sensitive topics such as military materials, incentives should be crafted for the most affected countries to take the lead in coming up with proposals while making sure that no countries engage in counterproductive behavior.

Outreach. Outreach will be instrumental for securing buy-in. Summit organizers can strengthen their outreach capabilities by taking advantage of the experience and relationships of the previous hosts and other leading participants. This joining of forces could prove powerful, especially when the U.S. voice may not be the most persuasive.

Team selection. People matter. Governments must have continuous representation from empowered and informed officials leading and populating the sherpa teams. In the preparatory meetings leading to the Hague summit, there was silence too frequently during major policy debates from countries thought to support important proposals to strengthen the nuclear security system due to staff turnover.[37] That silence is not benign. Instead, it amplifies the counterproductive views of the few countries that actively seek to stall progress. The counterpoint in those debates must come from many voices and not just from the expected few. Countries that have demonstrated their leadership tangibly through cooperative contributions must do their part by lending their informed voice to the debate.

The path ahead. The discussions, development of proposals, and decisions to come have the potential to reorient the expectations that countries have of one another, reform institutions and initiatives, and revise rules, thereby fundamentally reconstituting what comprises responsible nuclear security. This may be the most pivotal period to make effective global nuclear security a reality.

The lead-up to the 2016 summit is likely the last relay in the sprint among world leaders to reduce the risk of nuclear terrorism globally. This last leg is difficult as it demands continuing the existing efforts to tackle the threat tangibly while also planning for how to sustain the ongoing nuclear security marathon.

The game-changing results of the Hague summit are embodied in the actions completed and promised as well as principles crafted and put into practice. These results should be used to facilitate the further adoption of bold approaches, innovative ideas, and practical proposals for securing a strong finish and converting that into the momentum needed for the marathon. The path forward has challenges, but they are surmountable. Favorable conditions, such as the considerable progress on this agenda, exist. If countries can continue and intensify their work together in common cause, they will be better prepared for the long race ahead.


Deepti Choubey is senior director for nuclear and bio-security at the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), where she co-leads the Global Dialogue on Nuclear Security Priorities involving nuclear security summit officials, nuclear industry representatives, and other international experts. She also co-led the inaugural 2012 NTI Nuclear Materials Security Index and helped develop the 2014 index.




1. The communiqué from the 2010 summit in Washington references nuclear materials and specifically references highly enriched uranium (HEU) and separated plutonium when noting they require special precautions. The 2012 Seoul communiqué included a section on “Radioactive Sources,” reflecting an additional area for actions to prevent malicious acts using radioactive dispersal devices, sometimes called “dirty bombs.”

2. For the 2010 summit, the United States invited 47 countries, including those with weapons-usable nuclear materials (HEU and separated plutonium) and those without, countries from the global North and South, countries considered leading voices within the Non-Aligned Movement, and countries outside the usual boundary on nuclear issues, the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

3. Office of the Press Secretary, The White House, “Remarks by President Barack Obama—Hradcany Square, Prague, Czech Republic,” April, 5, 2009, http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/Remarks-By-President-Barack-Obama-In-Prague-As-Delivered.

4. Nuclear Security Summit 2014, “Address by H.E. Janos Martonyi, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Hungary, Nuclear Security Summit 2014, The Hague,” n.d., https://www.nss2014.com/sites/default/files/documents/nss_2014_address_janos_martonyi_0.pdf.

5. For more information on Mercosur and the countries that participate, see Joanna Klonsky, Stephanie Hanson, and Brianna Lee, “Mercosur: South America’s Fractious Trade Bloc,” Council on Foreign Relations Backgrounder, July 31, 2012, http://www.cfr.org/trade/mercosur-south-americas-fractious-trade-bloc/p12762.

6. Nuclear security training and support centers and centers of excellence engage in activities that provide for exchanges of information and best practices that would strengthen capacity building and nuclear security culture and would maintain a well-trained cadre of technical experts in countries. Nuclear Security Summit 2014, “Joint Statement on Nuclear Security Training and Support Centres/Centres of Excellences for the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit,” n.d., https://www.nss2014.com/sites/default/files/documents/joint_statement_nssc-coefinal_24_march_2014.pdf .

7. Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), “NTI Nuclear Materials Security Index: Building a Framework for Assurance, Accountability, and Action (Second Edition),” January 2014, p. 13. Austria is not a participating country in the nuclear security summits, but the removal of its weapons-usable material in December 2012 occurred through cooperation with the U.S. Global Threat Reduction Initiative, which facilitated similar removals for other summit participants.

8. Nuclear Security Summit 2014, “National Progress Report: Australia,” n.d., https://www.nss2014.com/sites/default/files/documents/australia.pdf.

9. Nuclear Security Summit 2014, “Fact Sheet: Belgium Highly Enriched Uranium and Plutonium Removals,” March 24, 2014, https://www.nss2014.com/sites/default/files/documents/belgium_heu.pdf.

10. Nuclear Security Summit 2014, “Fact Sheet: Italy Highly Enriched Uranium and Plutonium Removals,” March 24, 2014, https://www.nss2014.com/sites/default/files/documents/italy_heu.pdf.  

11. Nuclear Security Summit 2014, “National Progress Report: Japan,” n.d., https://www.nss2014.com/sites/default/files/documents/national_progress_report.pdf.

12. Nuclear Security Summit 2014, “Fact Sheet: U.S.-Kazakhstan Cooperative Activities in Nuclear Security,” March 25, 2014, https://www.nss2014.com/sites/default/files/documents/fact_sheet_u.s._-_kazakhstan_cooperative_activities.pdf.

13. Nuclear Security Summit 2014, “National Progress Report: Canada,” March 2014, https://www.nss2014.com/sites/default/files/documents/canada.pdf.

14. Nuclear Security Summit 2014, “National Progress Report: Poland,” n.d., https://www.nss2014.com/sites/default/files/documents/poland.pdf.

15. Nuclear Security Summit 2014, “Advancing Global Nuclear Security,” n.d., https://www.nss2014.com/sites/default/files/documents/advancing_nuclear_security.pdf.

16. The 10 countries nearing ratification are Brazil, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Turkey, and the United States. Seven other summit participants also have yet to ratify the amendment.

17. Nuclear Security Summit 2014, “Statement by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at the Nuclear Security Summit at The Hague,” March 24, 2014, https://www.nss2014.com/sites/default/files/documents/pakistan-pm_remarks_at_first_plenary_session_on_24_mar_2014.pdf.

18. “System” and “architecture” are often used interchangeably. In some instances, “architecture” has a more circumscribed definition, referring to legal agreements, standards, practices, and institutions. “System” is meant as a broader concept that includes all materials, as well as norms of behavior such as mutual accountability.

19. Deepti Choubey, “No Time to Waste: Steps for Success for the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit and Beyond,” European Leadership Network, February 25, 2014, http://www.europeanleadershipnetwork.org/no-time-to-waste-steps-for-success-for-the-2014-nuclear-security-summit-and-beyond_1227.html.

20. Nuclear Security Summit 2014, “The Hague Nuclear Security Summit Communiqué,” March 25, 2014, para. 8, https://www.nss2014.com/sites/default/files/documents/the_hague_nuclear_security_summit_communique_final.pdf (hereinafter Hague summit communiqué).

21. The term “nuclear-armed” includes the five acknowledged nuclear-weapon states under the NPT (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) plus India, Israel, Pakistan, and North Korea. All but North Korea participate in the nuclear security summits.

22. NTI, “Comprehensiveness—Understanding Non-Civilian Materials,” NTI Non-Paper, No. 3 (n.d.), https://www.nti.org/media/pdfs/Non-Paper_3_-_Comprehensiveness_-_Understanding_Non-Civilian_Nuclear_Materials_1.pdf?_=1353507850 (released November 2012).

23. Allegations were raised in December 2013 that as many as 50 Defense Ministry law enforcement personnel had been sleeping on the job and had not completed their patrols at the UK Atomic Weapons Establishment’s Burghfield site, which is engaged in constructing, maintaining, and disassembling nuclear warheads for the country’s submarine-based ballistic missiles. See “British Nuclear Arms Guards Accused of Sleeping on Job,” Global Security Newswire, December 16, 2013, http://www.nti.org/gsn/article/british-nuclear-arms-guards-accused-sleeping-job/.

24. In July 2012, three peace activists gained access to the HEU storage facility at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Tennessee. See “Antiwar Protesters Infiltrate Y-12 Nuke Plant,” Global Security Newswire, July 30, 2012, http://www.nti.org/gsn/article/antiwar-protesters-infiltrate-y-12-nuke-plant/. In May 2013, 17 officers at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota were stripped of their duties amid safety and security violations. See Robert Burns, “Air Force Sidelines 17 ICBM Officers,” Associated Press, May 8, 2013, http://news.yahoo.com/ap-exclusive-air-force-sidelines-17-icbm-officers-070914385.html.

25. Paul Quiles et al., “The 85%,” European Leadership Network, March 21, 2014, http://www.europeanleadershipnetwork.org/the-85_1315.html.

26. Nuclear Security Summit 2014, “Remarks by President Obama and Prime Minister Rutte of the Netherlands in a Joint Press Conference,” March 25, 2014, https://www.nss2014.com/sites/default/files/documents/remarks_by_president_obama_and_prime_minister_rutte_of_the_netherlands_in_a_joint_press_conference.pdf.

27. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), “Nuclear Security Recommendations on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and Nuclear Facilities (INFCIRC/225/Revision 5),” IAEA Nuclear Security Series, No. 13 (2011), http://www-pub.iaea.org/MTCD/Publications/PDF/Pub1481_web.pdf. “INFCIRC” is short for “information circular.”

28. National Nuclear Security Agency, “NNSA, Rosatom, UK Ministry of Defence Hold Trilateral Nuclear Security Best Practices Workshop,” November 19, 2013, http://nnsa.energy.gov/mediaroom/pressreleases/trilat.

29. Hague summit communiqué, para. 20.

30. For the definition of assurances, see ibid.

31. Nuclear Security Summit 2014, “Remarks by Mr. Sauli Niinistö, President of the Republic of Finland, Nuclear Security Summit, General Debate,” March 25, 2014, https://www.nss2014.com/sites/default/files/documents/finland_speech_general_debate.pdf.

32. Hague summit communiqué, para. 21.

33. Nuclear Security Summit 2014, “Strengthening Nuclear Security Implementation,” March 25, 2014, https://www.nss2014.com/sites/default/files/documents/strengthening_nuclear_security_implementation.pdf.

34. Dominic Contreras, “Nuclear Security Summit Joint Commitments: By Country and By Statement,” Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University, March 26, 2014, http://nuclearsecuritymatters.belfercenter.org/blog/nuclear-security-summit-commitments-country-and-statement.

35. Officials involved in preparatory meetings for the Hague summit, conversations with author, January 2014, March 2014, and April 2014.

36. Office of the Press Secretary, The White House, “Work Plan of the Washington Nuclear Security Summit,” April 13, 2010, http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/work-plan-washington-nuclear-security-summit.

37. Officials involved in preparatory meetings for the Hague summit, conversations with author, September 2013, October 2013, December 2013, and January 2014.