6

Conclusion

The Committee believes the International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) has made, and continues to make, a positive impact on international security. It offers meaningful nonweapons-related work to scientists and engineers in the former Soviet Union (FSU) who might otherwise continue to design weapons or, worse, sell their experience and expertise abroad. Among the various programs in place to deal with the proliferation threat, the ISTC has been modest in cost, relatively noncontroversial, and successful. As a result, it has not needed, nor received, much high-level attention. The committee applauds the ISTC's success but cautions that its raison d'etre is still important.

Proliferation of weapons of mass destruction could occur in many ways. Nations of concern can acquire the weapons themselves through illegal means. The components and manufacturing equipment to enable and accelerate development can be acquired by illegal means, in some cases by legal means, and in the case of dual use items through failures of the export control system. The knowledge needed to develop weapons of mass destruction can be transferred by the emigration of weapons scientists and engineers from weapons states. Unfortunately, large numbers of FSU weapons scientists do not have to emigrate to produce a proliferation problem—one or two “Klaus Fuchs's” could cause damage. Moreover, proliferation of weapons expertise does not take place only through the migration of scientists and engineers. Information can be acquired by hostile governments from scientists on travel, by way of the Internet, and in other ways.

Each of these threats is serious, and the United States and other nations have programs to minimize the risks. While often described as an organization to prevent the emigration of Russian weapons scientists to rogue states, the ISTC cannot by itself prevent determined espionage. Minimizing the incentives for weapons scientists to engage in activities that result in proliferation of their knowledge and expertise is a realistic goal. The ISTC has been successful in pursuing this goal, and the committee believes that it should continue to do so.

Similarly, in meeting its secondary objectives, the ISTC has made, and will continue to make, significant contributions to the renewal of science and engineering in the FSU. But the ISTC cannot be expected to save Russian science by itself. Its grants have reached over 12,000 scientists and engineers in five countries. Even for those weapons scientists and engineers in the FSU who have not received ISTC grants, the opportunity to engage in nonweapons-related work contributes to their hope for renewal of a strong science and engineering community.



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AN ASSESSMENT OF THE INTERNATIONAL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY CENTER: Redirecting Expertise in Weapons of Mass Destruction in the Former Soviet Union 6 Conclusion The Committee believes the International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) has made, and continues to make, a positive impact on international security. It offers meaningful nonweapons-related work to scientists and engineers in the former Soviet Union (FSU) who might otherwise continue to design weapons or, worse, sell their experience and expertise abroad. Among the various programs in place to deal with the proliferation threat, the ISTC has been modest in cost, relatively noncontroversial, and successful. As a result, it has not needed, nor received, much high-level attention. The committee applauds the ISTC's success but cautions that its raison d'etre is still important. Proliferation of weapons of mass destruction could occur in many ways. Nations of concern can acquire the weapons themselves through illegal means. The components and manufacturing equipment to enable and accelerate development can be acquired by illegal means, in some cases by legal means, and in the case of dual use items through failures of the export control system. The knowledge needed to develop weapons of mass destruction can be transferred by the emigration of weapons scientists and engineers from weapons states. Unfortunately, large numbers of FSU weapons scientists do not have to emigrate to produce a proliferation problem—one or two “Klaus Fuchs's” could cause damage. Moreover, proliferation of weapons expertise does not take place only through the migration of scientists and engineers. Information can be acquired by hostile governments from scientists on travel, by way of the Internet, and in other ways. Each of these threats is serious, and the United States and other nations have programs to minimize the risks. While often described as an organization to prevent the emigration of Russian weapons scientists to rogue states, the ISTC cannot by itself prevent determined espionage. Minimizing the incentives for weapons scientists to engage in activities that result in proliferation of their knowledge and expertise is a realistic goal. The ISTC has been successful in pursuing this goal, and the committee believes that it should continue to do so. Similarly, in meeting its secondary objectives, the ISTC has made, and will continue to make, significant contributions to the renewal of science and engineering in the FSU. But the ISTC cannot be expected to save Russian science by itself. Its grants have reached over 12,000 scientists and engineers in five countries. Even for those weapons scientists and engineers in the FSU who have not received ISTC grants, the opportunity to engage in nonweapons-related work contributes to their hope for renewal of a strong science and engineering community.

OCR for page 27
AN ASSESSMENT OF THE INTERNATIONAL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY CENTER: Redirecting Expertise in Weapons of Mass Destruction in the Former Soviet Union This page in the original is blank.