NNSA, AFRICOM Conduct Inaugural East African Border Security Workshop

Press Release
Sep 16, 2011

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) today concluded a week-long cooperative border security workshop in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, as part of a joint effort to enhance security at ports and borders in the region.

The workshop brought together participants from seven east African countries, as well as representatives from South Africa, international organizations, NNSA and other U.S. Government agencies to discuss perspectives and best practices on nonproliferation and security. Participants explored ways to strengthen efforts to prevent the smuggling of nuclear materials and other commodities related to the manufacture of weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

The workshop was the first of its kind conducted in east Africa and was jointly sponsored by NNSA and AFRICOM. The East African Border Security Workshop follows a successful workshop held earlier this year in west Africa, organized by NNSA and the U.S. Department of Defense’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), and is a strong testament to the continued cooperation among nations to prevent the smuggling of nuclear materials and technology.

“We are pleased to work in global partnership with colleagues from across Africa, U.S. Government agencies, and international organizations to enhance border security and prevent nuclear smuggling,” said NNSA Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Anne Harrington. “By promoting stronger border security practices across east 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 and technology related to WMD around the world.”

Ambassador Bonnie Jenkins, Coordinator for Threat Reduction Programs at the U.S. Department of State, delivered remarks at the workshop’s closing ceremony. “I am excited to see coordination between the United States Government and international organizations to strengthen border security across East Africa. I am also pleased to see our African counterparts working together to reduce the threat of weapons of mass destruction.”

In Dar es Salaam, customs, defense, police, and law enforcement experts and officials from Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Ethiopia, and Djibouti joined with experts from NNSA, AFRICOM, the U.S. Departments of Defense, Homeland Security and State, the World Customs Organization, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa, the United Nations Security Council 1540 Committee, and the Stimson Center to discuss border protection strategies for the region.

The week-long workshop provided a forum for partners to share best practices, establish regional perspectives on border security, and participate in training courses focused on WMD commodity identification, radiological detection, and systems analysis. East Africa was selected not only for its vital position in global commerce routes, but also for the commitment of regional governments to enhance their cooperation, interoperability, and security, especially in combating illicit transnational trafficking activities.

NNSA’s Office of Nonproliferation and International Security, through its International Nonproliferation Export Control Program, works bilaterally and regionally with states that face threats from terrorist networks and need to develop and strengthen enforcement capacity to detect trafficking of dual-use technologies, nuclear and radiological materials, and other WMD-related commodities. The success of both the East and West African Border Security Workshops demonstrates the ongoing commitment of NNSA to work cooperatively with partners around the globe to enhance global security and nonproliferation.

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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.