U.S.-Russian Naval Security Upgrades

By Maerli, Morten Bremer | Naval War College Review, Autumn 2003 | Go to article overview

U.S.-Russian Naval Security Upgrades


Maerli, Morten Bremer, Naval War College Review


Lessons Learned and the Way Ahead

For a decade, the U.S. Department of Energy has worked cooperatively with Russia to install modern nuclear security systems for weapons-usable material. The effort is known as the Material Protection, Control, and Accounting (MPC&A) program; its mission is to reduce the threat of nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism by rapidly improving the security of all weapons-usable nuclear material in forms other than nuclear weapons in Russia, the NIS (newly independent states), and the Baltics.1 The program has substantially increased security for large amounts of vulnerable nuclear material.2 Hardening storage facilities against outside but also, even especially, inside threats is a high priority. Site-tailored and integrated enhancements include such features as entry/exit barriers and control measures (such as traps, gates, locks, and portal monitors), personnel access controls, intrusion detection systems, alarm communications, video surveillance, response measures, and computerized systems for nuclear material accounting.3

Notwithstanding successes achieved against the threat of nuclear theft, however, the bulk of the proliferation challenge remains; hundreds of metric tons of nuclear material lack improved security systems. As of March 2003, the Department of Energy (DoE) had assisted Russia in protecting about 228 metric tons, or 38 percent, of its weapons-usable nuclear material.4 The vast majority of the remaining material is at sites in the nuclear weapons complex where, due to Russian national security concerns, access has been limited and DoE has not been able to initiate work.

The Department of Energy alone now administers in Russia more than a dozen distinct nonproliferation programs designed to reduce the risk of nuclear material or expertise falling into the hands of terrorist organizations and "states of concern."5 But there has been an unfortunate tendency to view the various nonproliferation programs one by one rather than all together. According to Leonard S. Spector, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Energy for Arms Control and Nonproliferation, there is a need for an approach that recognizes and addresses cross-program synergy, impacts, and investment opportunities.6 Indeed, in March 2003 the U.S. General Accounting Office recommended that the DoE reevaluate its plans for securing Russia's nuclear material and, with DoD, develop an integrated plan to ensure coordination of efforts to secure Russia's nuclear warheads.7

This article examines the sources of the extraordinary progress of the naval security upgrades for the fresh, unirradiated naval fuel and nuclear weapons, and attempts to balance justified security concerns with the need for openness. The progress made suggests that valuable lessons can be learned from the U.S.-Russian naval security upgrade program, lessons that could improve on the mere formalization of access substitutes and contribute to other security upgrades as well, possibly even to other nuclear nonproliferation activities.

Inherent and legitimate security concerns, however, effectively limit the information that can be made public from the naval MPC&A program. In fact, the progress to date could not have been made had not the American and Russian sides found an effective way to share and at the same time protect sensitive information.

The assessment is based on interactions with key personnel and on the (limited) open-source information available on naval MPC&A upgrades. The article starts with a brief overview and a summary of the historical background and current status; it then proceeds to an evaluation of the pros and cons of the naval MPC&A approach. The final section describes future challenges and steps, and presents recommendations for applying elsewhere the experience of naval Material Protection, Control, and Accounting.

OPPORTUNITIES AND OBSTACLES

From the very beginning, access to Russian nuclear sites has been a significant stumbling block for U.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

U.S.-Russian Naval Security Upgrades
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.