Jamie M. Spaulding
Abstract: The US and Russia, as the world’s nuclear superpowers, should form a Joint-Coalition for Nuclear Safety (JCNS) to secure areas housing nuclear materials and prevent nuclear proliferation through economic sanctions and military force. The need for a JCNS is exacerbated due to the collapse of the Soviet Union, which created an abundant amount of vulnerable nuclear material. Sites housing nuclear material in Russia and the former Soviet states are poorly guarded due to stagnant economies. There were hundreds of instances between 1990 and 2010 where unauthorized possession of nuclear material occurred. Many of these instances were profit motivated; i.e., nuclear material was stolen with the intent to be sold in the black market. Employees and military personnel have stolen material. Once nuclear material is acquired, any terrorist cell could easily create a dirty bomb. Furthermore, there are many unemployed former Soviet nuclear scientists who have incentive to work for anyone who will pay them. The US should divert ballistic missile defense funds into grants to prevent defection of scientists. Additionally, the US should form a JCNS with Russia to prevent unauthorized acquisition of nuclear materials and nuclear proliferation by states.