ASEAN SECURITY COOPERATION: NTS AND WMD/CBRN
Deleon, Lawrence G.
Malley, Michael S.
Huntley, Wade L.
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This thesis examines the developing response of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) toward weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and the chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) range of threats as a case study of its approach to non-traditional security issues. Over the past two decades, ASEAN-led WMD/CBRN cooperation largely emphasized rhetoric, dialogue, treaties, and confidence-building measures, which were especially notable in the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF). Although ASEAN leaders previously expressed their support toward international cooperation, they initially limited their activities to diplomacy, which frustrated their extra-regional partners. However, ASEAN’s activities within the last few years indicate that it has become more inclined toward developing the capabilities necessary for disrupting threat WMD proliferation efforts and responding to potential WMD/CBRN incidents. In 2018, defense leaders and practitioners of the ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting established the Network of ASEAN Chemical, Biological, and Radiological Defense Experts, or the “ASEAN CBR Network.” The following year, the ARF heads of state planned to conduct a tabletop exercise to address WMD disarmament, non-proliferation, and capability generation. This thesis reveals that ASEAN’s approach to region-specific WMD/CBRN security challenges is changing, although this shift has been mostly from diplomacy to consultation, education, and limited exercise planning.