Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Commission warns of nuclear or biological weapons attack by 2013

A U.S. bi-partisan commission is warning that the world will "more likely than not" face a terrorist attack using nuclear or biological weapons by 2013 if governments fail to undertake major security and prevention measures.

The report, titled World at Risk, recommends that the Obama administration appoint a national security aide devoted exclusively to coordinating U.S. intelligence, military and political efforts to curb weapons proliferation.

Other recommendations include:
  • better safeguards for uranium and plutonium stockpiles and step up measures against nuclear smuggling rings
  • toughen the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
  • ensure access to nuclear fuel for countries committed to developing only peaceful atomic technology
  • prevent new countries, including Iran and North Korea, from possessing uranium enrichment or plutonium reprocessing capabilities
  • urgently tighten security in domestic bio-sphere institutes and laboratories
  • call for an international conference of countries with major biotechnology industries
  • secure nuclear and biological materials in Pakistan
  • constrain a growing Asian arms race
  • agree with Russia on extending essential monitoring provisions of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty due to expire in 2009
  • create a White House advisory post on weapons of mass destruction proliferation
The report also went on to describe Pakistan as the weakest link in world security, and it noted that terrorists are more likely to be able to obtain biological than nuclear weapons, with anthrax being a particular concern.

These threats are "evolving faster than our multi-layered response," says the commission, "our margin of safety is shrinking, not growing."

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