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NNSA Conducts Inaugural Border Protection Workshop in West Africa

February 01, 2011

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and the Department of Defense’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) today concluded a week-long cooperative border security workshop at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre in Accra, Ghana.  The workshop brought together participants from seven West African countries to discuss ways to strengthen efforts to prevent the smuggling of nuclear and radiological materials. 

NNSA and DTRA co-sponsored this first-of-its-kind workshop. Experts from NNSA, DTRA, the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection, the Department of State, the World Customs Organization, and the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa were joined by customs, defense, police and other law enforcement experts and officials from Burkina Faso, The Gambia, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, and Sierra Leone.

“This multi-agency, international effort to enhance border security and prevent nuclear smuggling shows the strength of our global partnerships,” said NNSA Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Anne Harrington.  “By promoting stronger border security practices across West Africa, we are working together to enhance global peace and security and implement President Obama’s commitment to work with our international partners to secure nuclear material around the world.”

“As our countries grapple with the profound political and socio-economic transformations of the last two decades, the environment has become more complex and more interlinked,” commented Air Vice Marshall CEK Dovlo, Commandant of the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre.  “This is why West African leaders have voiced repeatedly that their individual states must cooperate to sustain consistent economic development and provide for the security of their peoples.  This also reflects United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540, which recognizes that security and development go hand in hand.”

West Africa was selected, in part, because the region has already developed and is implementing a regional action plan focused on narcotics trafficking and organized crime.  The week-long workshop provided a forum for partners to share best practices, address regional impediments like corruption, establish complementary national action plans, and participate in training courses related to commodity identification, radiological detection, systems analysis and establishing national action plans to combat these transnational threats.

NNSA’s Office of Nonproliferation and International Security, through its International Nonproliferation Export Control Program, provides assistance through bilateral arrangements to states that face threats from terrorist networks and have insufficiently developed enforcement capacity to detect the illicit trafficking of dual-use technologies, nuclear and radiological materials, and other WMD-related equipment.

For more information on NNSA’s work to counter nuclear terrorism and trafficking, click here.

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Established by Congress in 2000, NNSA is a semi-autonomous agency within the U.S. Department of Energy responsible for enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear science in the nation’s national security enterprise. NNSA maintains and enhances the safety, security, reliability, and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear testing; reduces the global danger from weapons of mass destruction; provides the U.S. Navy with safe and effective nuclear propulsion; and responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the U.S. and abroad.