Magazine article Arms Control Today

Deterring Nuclear Terrorism

Magazine article Arms Control Today

Deterring Nuclear Terrorism

Article excerpt

Deterring Nuclear Terrorism Robert S. Litwak, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, October 2016, 149 pp.

Nuclear terrorism has defied the bad- and worst-case scenarios since the 1990s, even as groups such as al Qaeda and the Islamic State have aspired to conduct spectacular attacks. Although the threat comes from such nonstate actors, Robert Litwak, director for international security studies at the Wilson Center, writes that nonproliferation and deterrence strategies directed at states remain key because the nuclear weapons and materials that terrorist groups seek to acquire exist in states. "Each pathway to nuclear acquisition by a non-state terrorist group is contingent on an act of commission or negligence by a state," he writes. The "leakage" of a weapon would come from one of nine states, although the list of states with weapons-grade fissile material is longer, currently 26, he says. …

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