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Proliferation Behaviour

Understanding state-level decisions and approaches regarding WMD proliferation and the role of illicit networks

The Centre for Science and Security Studies (CSSS) carries out research work on proliferation behaviour, exploring how and why states choose to pursue the acquisition of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), as well as the various strategies that underpin approaches in this context.

Using Iranian proliferation behaviour as a case study, Professor Wyn Bowen and Professor Matthew Moran have explored the questions and types of evidence required to judge whether a nuclear programme is engaged in a hedging strategy. The initial research findings were published in an article in Contemporary Security Policy before being further refined in a book published by Palgrave Macmillan. The implications of Iranian nuclear hedging for the region, with a particular focus on the Saudi Arabian response, were explored in a subsequent article in International Affairs

Research by Dr Daniel Salisbury on how states go about procuring technology for their WMD programmes and the factors shaping these decisions. Specifically, his research has considered states' use of illicit procurement networks to obtain technology for their sanctioned programmes. This has resulted in an article looking at what drives individuals to supply WMD programmes in the Nonproliferation Review. Also, the changing nature of proliferation networks and how state-connected resources are employed relative to their private sector equivalents are considered in a piece in Defense and Security Analysis, while proliferators' selection of "third country" hubs in their illicit supply chains are explored in an article in the European Journal of International Security. Drawing on the improved understanding of these networks derived from this research, policy recommendations as to how to better counter these adaptable, resilient and secretive networks were set out in a Belfer Center report and an article in Contemporary Security Policy co-authored by Dr Salisbury and Dr Aaron Arnold. 


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