“…for the first time, preventing nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism is now at the top of America’s nuclear agenda, which affirms the central importance of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.”
— President Obama on the Nuclear Posture Review, April 6, 2010
“The consequences of a nuclear detonation, or even an attempted detonation, perpetrated by a terrorist or criminal group anywhere in the world would be devastating.”
— The US National Statement for the Nuclear Security Summit, April 2010
The 2010 Nuclear Posture Review Report and the 2011 National Strategy for Counterterrorism place nuclear counterterrorism and counterproliferation at the top of U.S. nuclear policy agenda. As the core of the U.S. Government’s nuclear science and technology capability, NNSA serves as the center for activities related to nuclear deterrence, nuclear defense, and nuclear threat reduction. NNSA recognizes the priorities placed on issues related to nuclear counterterrorism and counterproliferation, and is specifically addressing key issues through the Office of Counterterrorism and Counterproliferation.
The mission of the office is to advance nuclear counterterrorism and counterproliferation through innovative science, technology, and policy-driven solutions. The office is charged with understanding nuclear threat devices (i.e., improvised nuclear devices, foreign nuclear weapons of a proliferant concern, and any device that may have fallen outside of a foreign state’s custody). By leveraging this unique technical knowledge base, the Office of Counterterrorism and Counterproliferation provides the expertise, practical tools, and technically informed policy recommendations required to advance U.S. nuclear counterterrorism and counterproliferation objectives. Specifically, it executes a number of specialized programs and activities, including: implementing international nuclear security and counterterrorism dialogues; conducting technical and scientific activities to characterize, detect, and defeat nuclear threat devices; developing and conducting WMD counterterrorism tabletop exercises; and promoting nuclear information security policy and practices. The Office is also charged with mission coordination and management of a wide range of counterterrorism and counterproliferation contributions across NNSA organizations.