Defense Science Board: US Must Update Nuclear Monitoring Efforts

A Defense Science Board task force concluded the US must create a national strategy and implementation plan that unifies diverse nuclear-related agencies and departments, revamps monitoring to identify proliferators early, expands cooperation agreements, better utilizes open and commercial source reporting, and invests in and modernizes core capabilities. The 100-plus page report, released last month, examined both the US monitoring system and proposed improvements to existing capabilities. It included a wide-ranging assessment and analysis of US counter-proliferation monitoring and verification technologies across the Defense Department, intelligence community, and other agencies. “Closing the nation’s global nuclear monitoring gaps should be a national priority. It will require, however, a level of commitment and sustainment we don’t normally do well without a crisis,” wrote task force co-chairs Miriam John and Donald Kerr in a memo to the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology, and logistics. “However, lessons from the past tell us that progress can be made with a sustained effort in which experienced and competent professionals can devote their careers to the quest and pass on their wisdom to successive generations.” (Full report; caution, large-sized file.)