Date of this Version
ASIL Proceedings, 1998. pp. 173- 177.
COUNTERING THE THREAT POSED BY NON-STATE ACTORS IN THE PROLIFERATION OF WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION
The collapse of the Soviet Union created unprecedented opportunities for non-state actors to obtain access to nuclear, biological and chemical weapons and their delivery means, often referred to as weapons of mass destruction (WMD). In particular, access to nuclear weapons and related materials, technology and expertise has raised serious concerns. As noted in the 1997 Counterproliferation Review Committee Report to Congress:
The chilling reality is that nuclear materials, technologies, and expertise are more accessible now than at any time in history-due in part to the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the region's worsened economic conditions and political instabilities. This problem is exacerbated by the increasing diffusion of modern technology through the growth of the world market, making it harder to detect illicit diversions of materials and technologies...The list of potential proliferators is not limited to states with nuclear weapons ambitions. There are many non-state actors, such as separatists and terrorist groups, criminal organizations, and individual thieves who could choose to further their cause by using fissile or non-fissile (but radioactive) nuclear materials.1
Non-state actors are increasingly making the WMD threat a domestic as well as an international concern. Louis Freeh, the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), recently told the U.S. Congress that "the FBI views the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction as a serious and growing threat to our national security...The FBI has experienced an increase in the number of cases involving terrorist or criminal use of WMD.... "2