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Combating Proliferation

Strategic Intelligence and Security Policy

Jason D. Ellis and Geoffrey D. Kiefer

Publication Year: 2004

The intelligence community's flawed assessment of Iraq's weapons systems—and the Bush administration's decision to go to war in part based on those assessments—illustrates the political and policy challenges of combating the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. In this comprehensive assessment, defense policy specialists Jason Ellis and Geoffrey Kiefer find disturbing trends in both the collection and analysis of intelligence and in its use in the development and implementation of security policy. Analyzing a broad range of recent case studies—Pakistan's development of nuclear weapons, North Korea's defiance of U.N. watchdogs, Russia's transfer of nuclear and missile technology to Iran and China's to Pakistan, the Soviet biological warfare program, weapons inspections in Iraq, and others—the authors find that intelligence collection and analysis relating to WMD proliferation are becoming more difficult, that policy toward rogue states and regional allies requires difficult tradeoffs, and that using military action to fight nuclear proliferation presents intractable operational challenges. Ellis and Kiefer reveal that decisions to use—or overlook—intelligence are often made for starkly political reasons. They document the Bush administration's policy shift from nonproliferation, which emphasizes diplomatic tools such as sanctions and demarches, to counterproliferation, which at times employs interventionist and preemptive actions. They conclude with cogent recommendations for intelligence services and policy makers.

Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. v

List of Figures and Tables

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pp. vii-viii

List of Acronyms and Abbreviations

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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xxi

It was an extraordinary moment in American diplomacy when Secretary of State Colin Powell briefed the UN Security Council in a last-ditch diplomatic effort to avoid war. In a once-in-a-lifetime presentation on February 5, 2003— one reminiscent of that given by his predecessor, Adlai Stevenson, in the context of the Cuban Missile...

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1 Proliferation 101: A Dynamic Threat, An Evolving Response

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pp. 1-22

On November 14, 1994, President William Clinton issued Executive Order 12938, declaring a "national emergency" resulting from the proliferation of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons—weapons of mass destruction (WMD)—together with their means of delivery.1 The continuing spread of these weapons constituted, he argued, an "unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign...

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2 Standards of Evidence: Intelligence Judgments and Policy Determinations

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pp. 23-56

Since the late 1960s Pakistan has secretly endeavored to develop nuclear weapons. The "opaque" status of its program effectively ended, however, with a series of six nuclear tests conducted in May 1998—a response to India's five tests carried out earlier that month—providing an indisputable public confirmation that Islamabad had achieved its objective. Through the years, the longstanding Pakistani quest...

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3 Through a Glass Darkly: Estimative Uncertainties and Policy Trade-offs

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pp. 57-86

The spread of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons and their attendant delivery systems is better viewed as a dynamic process than as discrete events or particular outcomes. Forecasting trends, divining intentions, and estimating capabilities are central to understanding the proliferation enterprise. The intelligence community is charged with assessing this changing landscape, collecting information on...

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4 Intelligence Surprise: Deception, Innovation, Proliferation

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pp. 87-108

On May 11, 1998, India announced to the world that it had initiated a series of five nuclear tests at its Pokhran test range in Rajasthan. These explosions broke the country's twenty-four-year self-imposed moratorium on nuclear testing. Both the US intelligence community and US policymakers were caught by surprise. Just a few months later, in East Asia, North Korea startled the world by launching a three-stage rocket. Not only did the missile's overflight of Japanese territory provoke...

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5 Intelligence Sharing: Prospective Risks, Potential Rewards

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pp. 109-144

While the United States can, and should, seek to autonomously develop capabilities and plans to effectively counter the proliferation of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons and the transfer of related technologies, the ultimate success of America's longstanding campaign against strategic weapons proliferation requires the active support of like-minded states. Indeed, information exchanges, combined...

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6 Military Support: Intelligence in an Operational Context

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pp. 145-166

Post-Gulf War revelations regarding the scope and achievements of Iraqi nuclear, biological, and chemical programs underscored an emergent reality of the international-security environment: that over time, determined proliferants would likely succeed in surreptitiously acquiring or developing WMDrelated capabilities. Traditional supply-side measures, including national export controls and international...

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7 Warfighting in a WMD Context: Intelligence Gaps, Operational Capabilities, and Policy Implications

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pp. 167-191

In the 1991 Gulf War, US and coalition efforts to destroy Iraq's WMD-related assets and infrastructure met with only minimal success, underscoring the intrinsic difficulties of intelligence support to counterproliferation operations. The conflict revealed considerable difficulties in locating, identifying, appropriately characterizing, and destroying nuclear, chemical, biological, and missile- related targets...

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8 Combating Proliferation: Toward a National Strategy

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pp. 192-214

On May 6, 2002, Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security John R. Bolton delivered an address to the Heritage Foundation outlining the threat posed by nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons from key states. In what came as a surprise to many observers, Bolton singled out Cuba, indicating that "the United States believes that Cuba has at least a limited offensive biological...


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pp. 215-278


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pp. 279-287

E-ISBN-13: 9781421402635
E-ISBN-10: 1421402637
Print-ISBN-13: 9780801886263
Print-ISBN-10: 0801886260

Page Count: 320
Illustrations: 16 halftones
Publication Year: 2004

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Military intelligence -- United States.
  • National security -- United States
  • United States -- Military policy.
  • Weapons of mass destruction.
  • World politics -- 1989-.
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