. "UNDERSTANDING AND COUNTERING THE PROLIFERATION OF WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION, Introduction--J. Scott Goldstein and Gregory A. Hebner." Frontiers of Engineering: Reports on Leading-Edge Engineering from the 2008 Symposium. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2009.
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Frontiers of Engineering: Reports on Leading-Edge Engineering from the 2008 Symposium
J. SCOTT GOLDSTEIN
GREGORY A. HEBNER
Sandia National Laboratories
Albuquerque, New Mexico
One has only to glance at a newspaper to understand that the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) represents an emerging threat to the safety and security of people around the world. The mere hint that a nation or nonstate organization is trying to acquire a WMD capability, be it nuclear, chemical, or biological, is enough to earn those groups penalties ranging from economic and political embargos to military action. Because of the significant threat to their populations and economic well-being, nations often feel forced to react, even if information on the nature of the threat is not clear or is incomplete. The enormous complexity of the challenge necessitates a multilevel approach that includes public policy and innovative technologies.
The papers in this section address issues associated with understanding the reasons for, and adopting countermeasures to, the proliferation of WMDs. National policies and international diplomacy are both involved in creating an international environment that discourages proliferation and, it is hoped, eliminates the reasons nations may feel the need to acquire WMDs. The authors discuss national and international policy issues to frame the discussion and technical means, such as sensing platforms, that have been developed to provide timely