Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Threat, Part III: Negligence and Ongoing Research

Preventing proliferation becomes increasingly difficult in light of the fact that
The Soviet Union never instituted a comprehensive control and accounting system for these materials, relying instead on physical security and isolated facilities to protect against attacks from the outside and the control of the Communist regime to protect against subversion or theft from the inside. (See CRS)
As a result, Russian authorities often do not even know if weapons are missing, in what quantities, or when they disappeared. Furthermore, the ability of the current Russian regime to provide physical security is considerably less than that of its Soviet predecessor.

Ongoing Russian research efforts, ostensibly to develop defenses against C/BW, pose an additional threat. Even if these defensive claims are true and the Russians are acting in good faith, such research remains outside controls of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and poses a proliferation threat, since both the materials and the knowledge learned could find their way to the black market and – by virtue of their dual-use nature – be put to work creating offensive weapons, as Former Assistant Secretary of State Carl W. Ford has testified.

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