Nuclear Proliferation And Nuclear Terrorism Essay

Nuclear Proliferation And Nuclear Terrorism Essay

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It’s been over 14 years since the terrorist attacks of September 2001. As the world settles into its long war on terrorism, the recent Iran nuclear deal has brought nuclear disarmament and proliferation back into the forefront of public debate. What steps have been taken to address the many security challenges posed by nuclear weapons? More importantly, are the steps taken enough? When we think about nuclear security, the first thought that comes to mind is preventing nuclear war, preventing nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism. All of these are inextricably linked in one way or another and deserve our collective attention. However, security also encompasses our own force, which is often overlooked.

In 2014, the U.S. Air Force found itself in the middle of a scandal that questioned the effectiveness of the modern nuclear mission. As reported by The Washington Post, “At least 92 Air Force officers assigned to the nation’s nuclear arsenal have been implicated in a proficiency-test cheating scandal and temporarily relieved of their duties” (Londono, 2014, p. NA). According to the article, this constituted one-fifth of the “missileers” assigned to the U.S. Air Force. This was not the first time a scandal surrounding our nuclear force came to light. In 2007, 6 nuclear tipped cruise missiles went unaccounted for after being loaded onto a B-52 and flown across the country to Louisiana where they sat unguarded for 36 hours (Londono, 2014, p. NA). Additionally, since 2007 countless high-ranking officers, including Generals and Admirals, have been relieved of their responsibilities for “loss of trust and confidence in [their] leadership and judgment” (Whitlock, 2013, p. NA). Scandals are nothing new to the militar...


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...f increased manning, morale, facilities improvement and maintenance will have the desired effect but it is a step in the right direction. Also, one could argue that the removal of so many high ranking officers improves our nuclear security overall. Given some of the allegation, it may have only been a matter of time before some aspect of our nuclear program was compromised.

All too often when we talk about security the discussion is immediately focused on the world at large. While this is appropriate, given the effects of globalization, every once in a while it is necessary to take a step back and examine our own security and the challenges encountered. The likelihood of a single incident triggering a nuclear event within the U.S. is small, however, catastrophic events are often a culmination of several innocuous events that, when combined, lead to disaster.

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