Joy V. Petrie

Date of Graduation

Spring 2014


Master of Science in Defense and Strategic Studies


Defense and Strategic Studies

Committee Chair

Andrei Shoumikhin


counterproliferation, defense, Weapons of Mass Destruction, United States policy, strategy, proliferation, nuclear weapons, biological weapons, chemical weapons, rogue states

Subject Categories

Defense and Security Studies


During the Cold War the greatest threat faced by the United States was nuclear war with the Soviet Union. Such a conflict would have been able to inflict massive damage on both sides. While concern over such a war has decreased in the last quarter century, the threat from Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) – nuclear, biological and chemical weapons – has only changed, not gone away. Today, one of the greatest threats to U.S. interests and security comes from the emerging limited WMD capabilities of actors, such as rogue states, whose motivations for programs, possession and/or use are hard to understand. Counterproliferation is an important tool for dealing with this threat. Robust, flexible and informed counterproliferation can contribute significantly, as part of the larger defense and security effort, to defending the U.S. against emerging limited WMD threats. This paper examines counterproliferation and considers it as part of the overall efforts to achieve national security. It concludes by stressing the importance of accurate information, flexibility in abilities and responses and strong, coordinated and robust counterproliferation efforts. It recommends filling in the gaps in current efforts, as well as increasing counterproliferation, defense and mitigation capabilities and readiness.


© Joy V. Petrie

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