The deterrence of nuclear terrorism through an attribution capability
Arbuckle, Larry J.
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The state of the world is such that the pace of nuclear weapons proliferation appears to be increasing. The growing number of nuclear states and amount of nuclear material available poses a great challenge to those that would attempt to keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of terrorists and other non-state actors. This study examines how the development of a nuclear attribution capability using the tools and methods of nuclear forensics can address that challenge. The prevention of nuclear terrorism is a multi-front battle. One of these fronts is preventing state sponsorship of nuclear terrorism. This can most likely be accomplished through deterrent policies where severe and credible military action is threatened against would be nuclear sponsors. However, such threats only have meaning if the sponsors are convinced that their participation could be detected. Therefore there is a need for a credible means to determine the source of nuclear materials from the debris of a nuclear explosion. The current state of a national nuclear forensics capability is lacking. There is a need for a more robust database of known nuclear materials, as well as a need for organizational restructuring and equipment development.
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