The Nuclear Security Summit recently wrapped up in the Hague. While it was overshadowed by events in the Ukraine, there were several substantial actions reported and pledges made that move the ball forward on nuclear security.
One in particular involved Japan. While it might seem strange that we should be celebrating Japan sending the U.S. nuclear weapon-usable material, or that we should be worried about their possession at all, Harvard professor Matthew Bunn provided a concise explanation for PBS’ Newshour:
The report Professor Bunn’s references in his interview can be found here. The main conclusions are:
Combat complacency. Developing and sharing a database of incidents with lessons learned, as well as expanded intelligence cooperation, will help those responsible for nuclear security make the case that nuclear terrorism is a real and urgent threat to their countries, worthy of a significant investment of time and money.
Improve protection for facilities and transports. Countries should ensure that all nuclear weapons and weapons-usable nuclear material under their control are at least protected against a baseline threat that includes: a well-placed insider; a modest group of well-trained and well-armed outsiders, capable of operating as more than one team; and both an insider and the outsiders working together. Countries facing more capable adversaries should provide higher levels of protection.
Consolidate stockpiles of nuclear weapons and materials so that there are fewer sites in need of security investments.
Strengthen security practices “on the ground” through improved training, realistic performance testing and “force-on-force” exercises, new programs to strengthen security culture, and exchanges of “best practices” among organizations responsible for nuclear weapons, materials, and facilities.
Build a more effective global nuclear security framework to help states cooperate on establishing standards and goals for nuclear security, discussing and deciding on next steps to improve nuclear security, confirming that states are fulfilling their responsibility to provide effective security, and tracking states’ progress in fulfilling their nuclear security commitments. In particular, the authors suggest that for the next nuclear security summit in 2016, a group of states should make a high-level commitment to high standards of nuclear security and invite other states to join them, offering help to those who would like to meet the agreed standards but need assistance in doing so.