In Jericho's Shadow: U.S. Border Security Strategy to Counter Nuclear Terrorism

Date of Graduation

Spring 2004


Master of Science in Defense and Strategic Studies


Defense and Strategic Studies

Committee Chair

William Van Cleave


Current U.S. national security policy prioritizes the prevention of terrorist attacks that utilize weapons of mass destruction against targets inside American territory. One possible manifestation of this threat is terrorists disguising an explosive nuclear weapon as ordinary cargo and smuggling it over the national border to a target inside the United States in a truck, cargo container, or other clandestine delivery vehicle. Porous physical borders and the significant volume of human and freight traffic through official points of entry into the United States contribute to the immense difficulty in detecting and countering this method of attack. This thesis examines the vulnerabilities of the U.S. land, sea, and air borders to nuclear smuggling, and studies border security iniatives to correct or ameliorate those vulnerabilities. The thesis includes three scenarios that will operationalize the theoretical findings of the preceding sections by posing a specific case study for each border. Through these means, this thesis evaluates the potential efficacy of current and proposed defensive measures against nuclear terrorism executed with weapons smuggled into the country over a national border.


border security, homeland security, homeland defense, nuclear weapons, terrorism

Subject Categories

Defense and Security Studies


© Jason S. Bauer