Date of Graduation

Summer 2014


Master of Science in Defense and Strategic Studies


Defense and Strategic Studies

Committee Chair

Susan J. Koch


Proliferation Security Initiative, counterproliferation, maritime security, WMD interdiction, proliferation, nonproliferation

Subject Categories

Defense and Security Studies


The Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) has shown to be an effective means of engaging a large number of countries in activities that increase their capacity to interdict consignments of WMD-related materials while in transit. Nevertheless, the breadth and tempo of those activities have varied significantly during the first 10 years of PSI's existence. This has likely been due to budget constraints, the types of exercises conducted, and a certain level of initiative fatigue. Other factors include PSI's reliance on voluntary actions taken by countries, and the lack of PSI-dedicated budgets during a time of greater fiscal austerity. PSI has also had a mixed record of success in expanding legal frameworks to support interdictions. Great strides have been made in developing an international legal basis to interdict shipments of concern moving to and from North Korea and Iran. However, international conventions that criminalize all chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear weapons-related trafficking within national territories have attracted few adherents. PSI has achieved wide support in many crucial regions, but China remains uncommitted. Given the size of its merchant fleet and port activity, initiative outreach to China should remain a top priority.


© Ian Jeffrey Williams

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