Nuclear Weapons | Readout and Recommendations

Strengthening WMD Security: A Whole of Society Approach

December 2011


Globalization has facilitated the transfer of more technologies into more hands in more countries and regions of the world than at any other point in human history. Economists and development specialists alike rightly celebrate this trend.

But for security specialists—and particularly those focused on nonproliferation and related transnational criminal activities—technology transfer tells a very different story. Not only have sensitive technologies systematically been moved into weak and fragile states that remain regulatory vacuums, but globalization has also enhanced the authority of an exponentially growing consortium of private sector actors with the capacity to facilitate the proliferation of nuclear, biological, radiological, and chemical weapons of mass destruction. The mission to diminish the threat of proliferation has thus necessarily evolved and become even more complex.

As part of its 52nd annual Strategy for Peace Conference, the Stanley Center convened government officials and nonproliferation experts near Washington, DC, on October 13–15, 2011. They examined how governments, particularly the US government, utilize nonproliferation assistance and other multilateral assistance mechanisms to meet evolving international security objectives while bolstering capacity-building efforts in the developing world through a “whole of government” and indeed “whole of society” approach. The goal of the conference was to build upon past successes and devise a template for a modern nonproliferation strategy.