"I find hope in the work of long-established groups such as the Arms Control Association...[and] I find hope in younger anti-nuclear activists and the movement around the world to formally ban the bomb."

– Vincent Intondi
Professor of History, Montgomery College
July 1, 2020
Documents & Reports

ACA Threat Assessment: To Curtail the Iranian Nuclear Threat, Change Tehran’s Threat Perceptions (revised April 14)

ACA Threat Assessment: To Curtail the Iranian Nuclear Threat, Change Tehran’s Threat Perceptions

Remarks of President Barack Obama


Hradčany Square
Prague, Czech Republic
April 5, 2009


One of those issues that I will focus on today is fundamental to the security of our nations, and to the peace of the world - that's the future of nuclear weapons in the 21st century.

The existence of thousands of nuclear weapons is the most dangerous legacy of the Cold War. No nuclear war was fought between the United States and the Soviet Union, but generations lived with the knowledge that their world could be erased in a single flash of light. Cities like Prague that had existed for centuries would have ceased to exist.

Today, the Cold War has disappeared but thousands of those weapons have not. In a strange turn of history, the threat of global nuclear war has gone down, but the risk of a nuclear attack has gone up. More nations have acquired these weapons. Testing has continued. Black markets trade in nuclear secrets and materials. The technology to build a bomb has spread. Terrorists are determined to buy, build or steal one. Our efforts to contain these dangers are centered in a global non-proliferation regime, but as more people and nations break the rules, we could reach the point when the center cannot hold.

This matters to all people, everywhere. One nuclear weapon exploded in one city - be it New York or Moscow, Islamabad or Mumbai, Tokyo or Tel Aviv, Paris or Prague - could kill hundreds of thousands of people. And no matter where it happens, there is no end to what the consequences may be - for our global safety, security, society, economy, and ultimately our survival.

Some argue that the spread of these weapons cannot be checked - that we are destined to live in a world where more nations and more people possess the ultimate tools of destruction. This fatalism is a deadly adversary. For if we believe that the spread of nuclear weapons is inevitable, then we are admitting to ourselves that the use of nuclear weapons is inevitable.

Just as we stood for freedom in the 20th century, we must stand together for the right of people everywhere to live free from fear in the 21st. And as a nuclear power - as the only nuclear power to have used a nuclear weapon - the United States has a moral responsibility to act. We cannot succeed in this endeavor alone, but we can lead it.

So today, I state clearly and with conviction America's commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons. This goal will not be reached quickly - perhaps not in my lifetime. It will take patience and persistence. But now we, too, must ignore the voices who tell us that the world cannot change.

First, the United States will take concrete steps toward a world without nuclear weapons.

To put an end to Cold War thinking, we will reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy and urge others to do the same. Make no mistake: as long as these weapons exist, we will maintain a safe, secure and effective arsenal to deter any adversary, and guarantee that defense to our allies - including the Czech Republic. But we will begin the work of reducing our arsenal.

To reduce our warheads and stockpiles, we will negotiate a new strategic arms reduction treaty with Russia this year. President Medvedev and I began this process in London, and will seek a new agreement by the end of this year that is legally binding, and sufficiently bold. This will set the stage for further cuts, and we will seek to include all nuclear weapons states in this endeavor.

To achieve a global ban on nuclear testing, my Administration will immediately and aggressively pursue U.S. ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. After more than five decades of talks, it is time for the testing of nuclear weapons to finally be banned.

And to cut off the building blocks needed for a bomb, the United States will seek a new treaty that verifiably ends the production of fissile materials intended for use in state nuclear weapons. If we are serious about stopping the spread of these weapons, then we should put an end to the dedicated production of weapons grade materials that create them.

Second, together, we will strengthen the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as a basis for cooperation.

The basic bargain is sound: countries with nuclear weapons will move toward disarmament, countries without nuclear weapons will not acquire them; and all countries can access peaceful nuclear energy. To strengthen the Treaty, we should embrace several principles. We need more resources and authority to strengthen international inspections. We need real and immediate consequences for countries caught breaking the rules or trying to leave the Treaty without cause.

And we should build a new framework for civil nuclear cooperation, including an international fuel bank, so that countries can access peaceful power without increasing the risks of proliferation. That must be the right of every nation that renounces nuclear weapons, especially developing countries embarking on peaceful programs. No approach will succeed if it is based on the denial of rights to nations that play by the rules. We must harness the power of nuclear energy on behalf of our efforts to combat climate change, and to advance opportunity for all people.

We go forward with no illusions. Some will break the rules, but that is why we need a structure in place that ensures that when any nation does, they will face consequences. This morning, we were reminded again why we need a new and more rigorous approach to address this threat. North Korea broke the rules once more by testing a rocket that could be used for a long range missile.

This provocation underscores the need for action - not just this afternoon at the UN Security Council, but in our determination to prevent the spread of these weapons. Rules must be binding. Violations must be punished. Words must mean something. The world must stand together to prevent the spread of these weapons. Now is the time for a strong international response. North Korea must know that the path to security and respect will never come through threats and illegal weapons. And all nations must come together to build a stronger, global regime.

Iran has yet to build a nuclear weapon. And my Administration will seek engagement with Iran based upon mutual interests and mutual respect, and we will present a clear choice. We want Iran to take its rightful place in the community of nations, politically and economically. We will support Iran's right to peaceful nuclear energy with rigorous inspections. That is a path that the Islamic Republic can take. Or the government can choose increased isolation, international pressure, and a potential nuclear arms race in the region that will increase insecurity for all.

Let me be clear: Iran's nuclear and ballistic missile activity poses a real threat, not just to the United States, but to Iran's neighbors and our allies. The Czech Republic and Poland have been courageous in agreeing to host a defense against these missiles. As long as the threat from Iran persists, we intend to go forward with a missile defense system that is cost-effective and proven. If the Iranian threat is eliminated, we will have a stronger basis for security, and the driving force for missile defense construction in Europe at this time will be removed.

Finally, we must ensure that terrorists never acquire a nuclear weapon.

This is the most immediate and extreme threat to global security. One terrorist with a nuclear weapon could unleash massive destruction. Al Qaeda has said that it seeks a bomb. And we know that there is unsecured nuclear material across the globe. To protect our people, we must act with a sense of purpose without delay.

Today, I am announcing a new international effort to secure all vulnerable nuclear material around the world within four years. We will set new standards, expand our cooperation with Russia, and pursue new partnerships to lock down these sensitive materials.

We must also build on our efforts to break up black markets, detect and intercept materials in transit, and use financial tools to disrupt this dangerous trade. Because this threat will be lasting, we should come together to turn efforts such as the Proliferation Security Initiative and the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism into durable international institutions. And we should start by having a Global Summit on Nuclear Security that the United States will host within the next year.

I know that there are some who will question whether we can act on such a broad agenda. There are those who doubt whether true international cooperation is possible, given the inevitable differences among nations. And there are those who hear talk of a world without nuclear weapons and doubt whether it is worth setting a goal that seems impossible to achieve.

But make no mistake: we know where that road leads. When nations and peoples allow themselves to be defined by their differences, the gulf between them widens. When we fail to pursue peace, then it stays forever beyond our grasp. To denounce or shrug off a call for cooperation is an easy and cowardly thing. That is how wars begin. That is where human progress ends.

There is violence and injustice in our world that must be confronted. We must confront it not by splitting apart, but by standing together as free nations, as free people. I know that a call to arms can stir the souls of men and women more than a call to lay them down. But that is why the voices for peace and progress must be raised together.

Those are the voices that still echo through the streets of Prague. Those are the ghosts of 1968. Those were the joyful sounds of the Velvet Revolution. Those were the Czechs who helped bring down a nuclear-armed empire without firing a shot.

Human destiny will be what we make of it. Here, in Prague, let us honor our past by reaching for a better future. Let us bridge our divisions, build upon our hopes, and accept our responsibility to leave this world more prosperous and more peaceful than we found it. Thank you.


"One of those issues that I will focus on today is fundamental to the security of our nations, and to the peace and security of the world - the future of nuclear weapons in the 21st century."

Country Resources:

Joint Statement by President Dmitry Medvedev of the Russia and President Barack Obama of the United States of America


Office of the Press Secretary

April 1, 2009

Reaffirming that the era when our countries viewed each other as enemies is long over, and recognizing our many common interests, we today established a substantive agenda for Russia and the United States to be developed over the coming months and years. We are resolved to work together to strengthen strategic stability, international security, and jointly meet contemporary global challenges, while also addressing disagreements openly and honestly in a spirit of mutual respect and acknowledgement of each other's perspective.

We discussed measures to overcome the effects of the global economic crisis, strengthen the international monetary and financial system, restore economic growth, and advance regulatory efforts to ensure that such a crisis does not happen again.

We also discussed nuclear arms control and reduction. As leaders of the two largest nuclear weapons states, we agreed to work together to fulfill our obligations under Article VI of the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and demonstrate leadership in reducing the number of nuclear weapons in the world. We committed our two countries to achieving a nuclear free world, while recognizing that this long-term goal will require a new emphasis on arms control and conflict resolution measures, and their full implementation by all concerned nations. We agreed to pursue new and verifiable reductions in our strategic offensive arsenals in a step-by-step process, beginning by replacing the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with a new, legally-binding treaty. We are instructing our negotiators to start talks immediately on this new treaty and to report on results achieved in working out the new agreement by July.

While acknowledging that differences remain over the purposes of deployment of missile defense assets in Europe, we discussed new possibilities for mutual international cooperation in the field of missile defense, taking into account joint assessments of missile challenges and threats, aimed at enhancing the security of our countries, and that of our allies and partners.

The relationship between offensive and defensive arms will be discussed by the two governments.

We intend to carry out joint efforts to strengthen the international regime for nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery. In this regard we strongly support the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), and are committed to its further strengthening. Together, we seek to secure nuclear weapons and materials, while promoting the safe use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. We support the activities of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and stress the importance of the IAEA Safeguards system. We seek universal adherence to IAEA comprehensive safeguards, as provided for in Article III of the NPT, and to the Additional Protocol and urge the ratification and implementation of these agreements. We will deepen cooperation to combat nuclear terrorism. We will seek to further promote the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, which now unites 75 countries. We also support international negotiations for a verifiable treaty to end the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons. As a key measure of nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament, we underscored the importance of the entering into force the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. In this respect, President Obama confirmed his commitment to work for American ratification of this Treaty. We applaud the achievements made through the Nuclear Security Initiative launched in Bratislava in 2005, including to minimize the civilian use of Highly Enriched Uranium, and we seek to continue bilateral collaboration to improve and sustain nuclear security. We agreed to examine possible new initiatives to promote international cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy while strengthening the nuclear non-proliferation regime. We welcome the work of the IAEA on multilateral approaches to the nuclear fuel cycle and encourage efforts to develop mutually beneficial approaches with states considering nuclear energy or considering expansion of existing nuclear energy programs in conformity with their rights and obligations under the NPT. To facilitate cooperation in the safe use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, both sides will work to bring into force the bilateral Agreement for Cooperation in the Field of Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy. To strengthen non-proliferation efforts, we also declare our intent to give new impetus to implementation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1540 on preventing non-state actors from obtaining WMD-related materials and technologies.

We agreed to work on a bilateral basis and at international forums to resolve regional conflicts.

We agreed that al-Qaida and other terrorist and insurgent groups operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan pose a common threat to many nations, including the United States and Russia. We agreed to work toward and support a coordinated international response with the UN playing a key role. We also agreed that a similar coordinated and international approach should be applied to counter the flow of narcotics from Afghanistan, as well as illegal supplies of precursors to this country. Both sides agreed to work out new ways of cooperation to facilitate international efforts of stabilization, reconstruction and development in Afghanistan, including in the regional context.

We support the continuation of the Six-Party Talks at an early date and agreed to continue to pursue the verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in accordance with purposes and principles of the September 19, 2005 Joint Statement and subsequent consensus documents. We also expressed concern that a North Korean ballistic missile launch would be damaging to peace and stability in the region and agreed to urge the DPRK to exercise restraint and observe relevant UN Security Council resolutions.

While we recognize that under the NPT Iran has the right to a civilian nuclear program, Iran needs to restore confidence in its exclusively peaceful nature. We underline that Iran, as any other Non-Nuclear Weapons State - Party to the NPT, has assumed the obligation under Article II of that Treaty in relation to its non-nuclear weapon status. We call on Iran to fully implement the relevant U.N. Security Council and the IAEA Board of Governors resolutions including provision of required cooperation with the IAEA. We reiterated their commitment to pursue a comprehensive diplomatic solution, including direct diplomacy and through P5+1 negotiations, and urged Iran to seize this opportunity to address the international community's concerns.

We also started a dialogue on security and stability in Europe. Although we disagree about the causes and sequence of the military actions of last August, we agreed that we must continue efforts toward a peaceful and lasting solution to the unstable situation today. Bearing in mind that significant differences remain between us, we nonetheless stress the importance of last year's six-point accord of August 12, the September 8 agreement, and other relevant agreements, and pursuing effective cooperation in the Geneva discussions to bring stability to the region.

We agreed that the resumption of activities of the NATO-Russia Council is a positive step. We welcomed the participation of an American delegation at the special Conference on Afghanistan convened under the auspices of Shanghai Cooperation Organization last month.

We discussed our interest in exploring a comprehensive dialogue on strengthening Euro-Atlantic and European security, including existing commitments and President Medvedev's June 2008 proposals on these issues. The OSCE is one of the key multilateral venues for this dialogue, as is the NATO-Russia Council.

We also agreed that our future meetings must include discussions of transnational threats such as terrorism, organized crime, corruption and narcotics, with the aim of enhancing our cooperation in countering these threats and strengthening international efforts in these fields, including through joint actions and initiatives.

We will strive to give rise to a new dynamic in our economic links including the launch of an intergovernmental commission on trade and economic cooperation and the intensification of our business dialogue. Especially during these difficult economic times, our business leaders must pursue all opportunities for generating economic activity. We both pledged to instruct our governments to make efforts to finalize as soon as possible Russia's accession into the World Trade Organization and continue working towards the creation of favorable conditions for the development of Russia-U.S. economic ties.

We also pledge to promote cooperation in implementing Global Energy Security Principles, adopted at the G-8 summit inSaint Petersburg in 2006, including improving energy efficiency and the development of clean energy technologies.

Today we have outlined a comprehensive and ambitious work plan for our two governments. We both affirmed a mutual desire to organize contacts between our two governments in a more structured and regular way. Greater institutionalized interactions between our ministries and departments make success more likely in meeting the ambitious goals that we have established today.

At the same time, we also discussed the desire for greater cooperation not only between our governments, but also between our societies -- more scientific cooperation, more students studying in each other's country, more cultural exchanges, and more cooperation between our nongovernmental organizations. In our relations with each other, we also seek to be guided by the rule of law, respect for fundamental freedoms and human rights, and tolerance for different views.

We, the leaders of Russia and the United States, are ready to move beyond Cold War mentalities and chart a fresh start in relations between our two countries. In just a few months we have worked hard to establish a new tone in our relations. Now it is time to get down to business and translate our warm words into actual achievements of benefit to Russia, the United States, and all those around the world interested in peace and prosperity.


"Reaffirming that the era when our countries viewed each other as enemies is long over, and recognizing our many common interests, we today established a substantive agenda for Russia and the United States to be developed over the coming months and years. We are resolved to work together to strengthen strategic stability, international security, and jointly meet contemporary global challenges, while also addressing disagreements openly and honestly in a spirit of mutual respect and acknowledgement of each other's perspective." (Continue)

Country Resources:

START Treaty: What's Next?


By Ambassador Lem A. Masterkov

This article was written by Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Lem A. Masterkov, who was one of the negotiators of the INF Treaty and the START. He passed away in October 2007. Until his last days he had been working for the Department of Security Affairs and Disarmament of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation. This article can be considered as a legacy of this prominent Russian arms control expert.

In one of his statements the President of the Russian Federation expressed concern over the virtual standstill in the field of disarmament and suggested that Russia and the United States of America launch in the first place the negotiating process with a view to replacing the START which expires in 2009. Such a linkage is logical and comprehensible. Whatever the importance of any disarmament area, it is the situation in strategic arms control that most of all affects security if not the very existence of mankind. It is only natural that the leading role here belongs to states with the largest arsenals of such weapons.

It is also logical that what is involved is the START. This treaty is not a routine agreement but a compendium of limitations in the field of strategic arms. It took a long time and painstaking efforts to develop it. The major motive for its conclusion was the awareness by its parties-and originally these were the USSR and USA-that nuclear war would have devastating consequences for all humanity and must never be fought (these words, by the way, open the text of the treaty). Accordingly, all its substantive provisions were developed so as to ensure the utmost reduction of the risk of nuclear conflict including accidental or unintentional one.

Therefore the treaty is in fact a code of conduct for its nuclear parties in terms of observation of both quantitative and qualitative limitations on strategic offensive arms as well as specific rules for practical activities relating to their strategic forces. Here are some examples.

Along with a limitation in the number of warheads on strategic delivery vehicles, the treaty sets a limit for the number of such vehicles, that is intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) and heavy bombers. Incidentally, this is the only treaty limitation on the number of strategic nuclear weapon delivery vehicles that remains in force and objectively restrains also the increase in the number of warheads.

The treaty prohibits basing strategic offensive arms outside the national territory of the relevant party-which, however, does not preclude the navigation of submarines in the world ocean and temporary deployment of heavy bombers outside the national territory, the latter provision being contingent on relevant notification to the other parties.

Strategic offensive arms basing within the national territory is permitted only at facilities specially created for this purpose (their number and location are not limited), which are notified to the other parties of the Treaty.

It is easy to see the extent to which the global strategic situation could become complicated, if there were no such rules and prohibitions, as well as the risks and difficulties in terms of control and confidence that could arise, and not only for the treaty's parties. Therefore it is clear that the stabilizing role of many provisions of the START, including those mentioned above, in maintaining strategic stability and reducing the risk of nuclear conflict has not diminished today. If they were discarded, this would mean a serious failure of the strategic offensive arms limitation regime and would throw us back to the situation prevailing several decades ago.

There is another important aspect. The glossary containing agreed definitions of the terms used in the Treaty was worked out and became its integral part. Some of those definitions, for example ICBM, SLBM, heavy bomber, long-range cruise missile and others, have been widely used internationally even by nonparticipants in the treaty. However all these definitions are codified and exist only while the START remains in force.

That is why the Russian side has been insisting in its current dialogue with the United States of America on the preservation, first of all, of the important provisions mentioned above in a new legally binding agreement that is to replace the START.

Along with substantive provisions of the future agreement relating to strategic arms limitations, the participants in the dialogue have been also considering possible verification and confidence-building measures. The implementation of the START would enable the sides to accumulate relevant useful experience, and this opportunity should not be lost either. Of course, such measures, which objectively are subsidiary ones, will depend for their scale and specific content on the key factor -that is the content and nature of the limitations envisaged.

The Russian-American summit held early in July of this year gave an additional impulse to the dialogue aimed at replacing the START with a new agreement. The situation with the development of such an agreement was considered by the heads of the foreign policy agencies of the two countries. They declared in their statement that in accordance with the instruction given by the presidents the sides would continue discussions to attain results as soon as possible. At the same time it was reaffirmed that Russia and the United States intend to reduce their strategic offensive arms to the lowest possible levels that meet their national security requirements and their ally obligations.

Why have Russia and the United States been engaged in this work? There are five states-parties to the treaty: apart from Russia and the United States, there are also Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine. However, since the last three countries eliminated the strategic offensive arms, which happened to be deployed in their territory after the disintegration of the Soviet Union (which predetermined the scope of the treaty) and joined the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty as non-nuclear-weapon states, Russia and the United States have become major players in the field of strategic arms limitations. Naturally, it is they who should decide as to how to travel further along the road to ensuring control over this weapon.

It appears that the dialogue between Russia and the United States that is underway involves, as a matter of fact, not only the fate of the START but of the disarmament process as a whole. A new legally binding agreement including not only the treaty's provisions that are useful now, but also further limitations of strategic offensive arms, to replace this treaty would play a decisive role in the resumption of this process and give it a new impetus. This is particularly important now when the entire system of international relations in the field of disarmament has been threatened with a collapse as a result of the withdrawal of the United States from the ABM Treaty, its refusal to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, and non-observance by Western parties of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe. A new agreement on strategic offensive arms will also contribute to the strengthening of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty by showing that its two major nuclear participants continue to fulfill the obligations under its Article VI.



In one of his statements the President of the Russian Federation expressed concern over the virtual standstill in the field of disarmament and suggested that Russia and the United States of America launch in the first place the negotiating process with a view to replacing the START which expires in 2009. Such a linkage is logical and comprehensible. Whatever the importance of any disarmament area, it is the situation in strategic arms control that most of all affects security if not the very existence of mankind. It is only natural that the leading role here belongs to states with the largest arsenals of such weapons. (Continue)

Country Resources:

Reducing Biological Risks to Security


International Policy Recommendations for the Obama Administration

January 2009

This report was coordinated by the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, with support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. This document reflects the outcome of discussions among the following individuals (organizations for identification purposes only):

Raphael Della Ratta, Partnership for Global Security
Gerald L. Epstein, Center for Strategic and International Studies
David Fidler, Indiana University School of Law
Elisa D. Harris, Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland
Jo Husbands, The National Academies
Barry Kellman, Depaul University School of Law
Daryl G. Kimball, Arms Control Association
Ken Luongo, Partnership for Global Security*
Michael Moodie, Independent Consultant
Randy Murch, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech)
Alan Pearson, Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation
Jonathan B. Tucker, James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, Monterey Institute of International Studies*

While not all participants agreed with every detail of these recommendations, there is strong agreement on the broad thrust of the international policy initiatives outlined here.

Executive Summary

The rapid advance and global spread of biotechnology and the life sciences promise enormous benefits for public health and opportunities for promoting sustainable economic development. At the same time, these trends are exacerbating the risk that biotechnology might accidentally, inadvertently, or deliberately be used in ways that cause harm. Because of the global diffusion of the life sciences, global approaches are needed to reduce these risks while securing the benefits of biotechnology.

Yet efforts to advance global action face significant political and economic challenges, including differences in national priorities and capabilities and concerns about policy actions that might threaten national sovereignty. In the United States, bioterrorism remains a primary concern. But in most developing countries, primary concerns are the risks to human and animal health and well-being from natural disease outbreaks exacerbated by inadequate public health and agricultural resources, capacity, and infrastructure. Developing countries do not want counter-bioterrorism initiatives to impede or divert resources from efforts to strengthen public health and agriculture.

The challenge of reducing biological risks is also complicated by the increasing importance of the private sector and academia in biotechnology and the life sciences. Engaging these non-State actors is critical, but many participants in industry and academia do not fully appreciate the potential risks associated with their work. Limited oversight and transparency heighten uncertainty about private-sector products and practices. Greater involvement, interaction and communication among these and many other stakeholders are key to effectively addressing 21st century biological threats. New partnerships and cooperative international security mechanisms, built on the normative and legal foundations of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) and the International Health Regulations 2005 (IHR 2005), must be established.

In recent years, the U.S. government has strengthened its national preparedness and response capabilities for catastrophic disease events, including bioterrorism. But it has paid inadequate attention to prevention and response measures internationally, thereby increasing our vulnerability to a significant biological event and heightening the skepticism of other countries about our commitment to either improving global public health or reducing deliberate and accidental biological risks to global security.

The Obama Administration can change course, correct this deficit, and take strong action to reduce biological risks to security. To this end, the United States should:

  • Pursue multilateral efforts to establish internationally harmonized standards for pathogen and laboratory safety and security and to provide technical and financial assistance to developing countries to facilitate their adoption, sustainable implementation, and enforcement of national measures for the safety and security of biological agents;
  • Pursue bilateral, regional and multilateral efforts to strengthen national criminal legislation and law enforcement capabilities for detecting, interdicting, investigating and prosecuting biological crimes, and promote international legal and technical cooperation towards these ends;
  • Support efforts to strengthen the UN Secretary-Generals mechanism for investigating allegations of biological weapons use and to establish a capability to investigate alleged breaches of BWC obligations if the Security Council determines that investigation is warranted;
  • Pursue stronger confidence-building and other transparency measures designed to provide mutual reassurance that national biodefense and other dual-use activities comply with the BWC;
  • Strengthen cooperative efforts to improve national, regional, and multinational surveillance and response capabilities with respect to outbreaks of infectious diseases, whether naturally occurring or man-made; and
  • Support the development of international mechanisms that enhance the coordination and implementation of biological threat reduction policies.

To create coherence in the face of competing priorities, a careful balance must be maintained among policy attention to intentional biological threats, to accidents, and to naturally occurring infectious diseases. Although the initiatives proposed here focus primarily on deliberate, inadvertent, and accidental disease threats, they aim wherever possible to generate synergies with efforts to counter naturally occurring infectious diseases and to promote global biotechnology development. However, these initiatives will achieve only limited results if the United States does not make a serious and sustained commitment to addressing broader global public health concerns. U.S. capacity-building assistance must help recipient states meet their social and economic needs and support recipient states ownership of their own capacity development.

In the coming years, U.S. pursuit of its bio-risk reduction objectives will take place in a world of increasing multipolarity and deepening fiscal and economic challenges. These trends and challenges make the task of achieving greater security for the United States more difficult. They also highlight the need, and provide opportunities, for our nation to renew its commitment to productive global partnerships and engagement.

*Member of the Arms Control Association Board of Directors

Subject Resources:

The Politics of Arms Control Treaty Ratification

Report by Michael Krepon on "The Politics of Arms Control Treaty Ratification".

The Enduring Value of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty and New Prospects for Entry Into Force


An article by Daryl G. Kimball for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization's Spectrum magazine published in the September 2008 edition.

For other articles on the CTBT in the September 2008 Spectrum by President Oscar Arias of Costa Rica, International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Mohamed El Baradei and former Senator Sam Nunn click here.


An article by Daryl G. Kimball for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization's Spectrum magazine published in the September 2008 edition.

IAEA Report on Iran


A report by the director general of the IAEA:

Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and relevant provisions of Security Council resolutions 1737 (2006), 1747 (2007) and 1803 (2008) in the Islamic Republic of Iran.


A report by the director general of the IAEA: Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and relevant provisions of Security Council resolutions 1737 (2006), 1747 (2007) and 1803 (2008) in the Islamic Republic of Iran. (Continue)

Country Resources:

Letter from Congressman Howard Berman to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on the U.S. Indian Nuclear Deal


PDF Document of Chairman Howard Berman's letter to Secretary Condoleezza Rice on the U.S.-Indian nuclear deal and exemptions from the Nuclear Suppliers Group dated August 5, 2008.

PDF Document of Chairman Howard Berman's Letter to Secretary Condoleezza Rice

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