Motivations and Possible Actions of Potential Criminal Adversaries of U.S. Nuclear Programs

by Gail V. Bass-Golod, Brian Michael Jenkins, Konrad Kellen, Joseph Krofcheck, Geraldine Petty, Robert N. Reinstedt, David Ronfeldt

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Abstract

A report intended to help officials responsible for nuclear security to establish more effective systems for protecting against nuclear crimes, by drawing plausible inferences about actions and targets that adversaries are likely to prefer. Three categories of motivation are considered: ideological, economic, and personal. Possible criminals include, among others, psychotics, religious and philosophical fanatics, professional criminals, environmental extremists, political terrorists, adolescent pranksters, and disgruntled or self-seeking employees. Their crimes may range all the way from empty hoaxes to theft, sabotage, direct attack, and the holding of nuclear material or weapons for ransom or extortion. The report includes a matrix that identifies the most likely combinations of adversaries and actions, and indicates crimes that have already occurred or may have occurred.

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