Nuclear Weapons | Other Publication

Collaboration Among Centers of Excellence in Asia

March 2015


In 2014, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Proliferation Prevention Program, with generous support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, and the Stanley Center co-hosted two workshops to explore the potential for collaboration among the existing and planned centers of excellence (COE) for nuclear security in Asia.

An innovation of the Nuclear Security Summit process, the COE are dedicated to improving nuclear security through training, education, technology research and development, and other activities. Although many of these centers (which now number in the dozens) are purely national in their scope, others have taken on regional and collaborative activities.

This report presents a summary of our joint workshops, held in July and October 2014. The first workshop was a closed meeting held on the sidelines of a public forum titled Nuclear Centers of Excellence in Asia: Next Steps in July in Washington, DC. At this workshop, participants identified a few key themes, such as balancing transparency and consistency and promoting culture, consistency, and best practices, through which to evaluate the activities of the existing centers and the longer term potential of COE networks. The second workshop, organized in collaboration with the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation (VCDNP), took place in October in Vienna. This workshop sought to identify lessons from models of collaboration from the European Union (EU), North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) experiences with COE and explore how to build consistency and sustainability into the nuclear security regime beyond the last summit in 2016.

The workshops conclude that the COE are evolving into missions and responsibilities, and their potential for carrying forward the Nuclear Security Summit process should not be underestimated. In particular, certain actions to promote transparency, consistency, and sustainability may be desirable. These could be as simple as peer reviewing training courses, collaborating to establish training standards or certification requirements for individuals, developing an accreditation process through the IAEA, and a joint gift basket on reporting post-summit implementation of initiatives among the COE.