Safeguarding WMD Expertise: Lessons Learned from Iraq


December 26, 2011, marks the 20th anniversary of the collapse of the Soviet Union. It was cause for celebrations in the West, but also for grave concern because it unleashed enormous security challenges. Vast stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and the materials to make them suddenly were at risk, potentially available for theft or sale to the highest bidder.

The world has changed greatly during these past two decades, complicating efforts to secure remaining Cold War WMD materials and posing new threats in new places. Calls by scholars and policymakers to revise CTR programs have been growing in recent years.The National Academy of Sciences recently completed an extensive study, recommending a major reorganization of the programs, which the academy dubbed CTR 2.0. CTR programs have been adapting, but much more needs to be done to fulfill President Barack Obama’s 2009 commitment to secure all nuclear materials in four years, let alone protect against the full range of WMD threats.

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Copyright © 2011 Arms Control Association. This article first appeared in Arms Control Today 41 (2011), 8-14.

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