NNSA Expands Efforts to Combat Illicit Smuggling of WMD-Related Equipment and Technologies

Press Release
Oct 14, 2004

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) is expanding its efforts to train border guards and customs officials worldwide to combat the threat posed by the illicit smuggling of WMD-related equipment and technology.

NNSA's export control office has designed a new Commodity Identification Training (CIT) curriculum to educate and train customs inspectors and border enforcement personnel from around the world in techniques of detection and interdiction. This program supports the Bush administration's priority to prevent illicit trade in items and technologies needed to manufacture weapons of mass of mass destruction (WMD).

By the end of November, these trainings will be conducted in coordination with 11 countries, including Lithuania, Latvia, Georgia, Turkey, Thailand and Ukraine. Latvia is NNSA's most recent success and has formally added the training to the curriculum for its customs personnel, with plans to provide it to on-duty customs personnel on a rotating basis.

"Our goal is to help partner countries incorporate WMD training programs for customs inspectors, investigators, border guards and other key personnel. NNSA initiates these partnerships with our experts at the national laboratories with the ultimate goal of preventing dangerous nuclear-related technology from falling into the hands of terrorists or proliferant nations," said NNSA Administrator Linton F. Brooks.

In the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks, NNSA's export control office, in coordination with the Department of State, expanded its cooperation with major supplier states like China and Turkey. Based on concerns heightened by the A.Q. Khan proliferation network, which provided illicit materials to Libya, NNSA established new partnerships with technical and enforcement organizations in a number of Asian countries. NNSA works in these and other countries in the Mediterranean and Middle East that may serve as transshipment points for proliferation-sensitive equipment. These projects reflect NNSA's core missions to promote international nonproliferation and reduce the global danger from WMD.

The CIT program itself is new, and expands NNSA's longstanding cooperation with Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan to support outreach to industries and scientific entities and improve nuclear licensing practices. Through the CIT program, U.S. experts provide border enforcement organizations with technical training and support to help prevent export control failures. Border enforcement organizations serve as the last line of defense against illicit exports and therefore play a critical role in exposing and thwarting export control violators.

The Department of State's Export Control and Related Border Security (EXBS) program coordinates and partially funds the CIT program and other NNSA international export control trainings.

Media contact(s):
NNSA Public Affairs (202) 586-7371