Arms Proliferation and Control

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The U.S.-Soviet nuclear arms race ended in détente, but nuclear development efforts and WMD proliferation in India, Pakistan, North Korea, and Iran have caused geopolitical instability since the Cold War's end. RAND has applied strategic analysis to nuclear confrontation scenarios and international deterrence efforts since its earliest work on game theory, with particular focus on the roles of both diplomacy and missile defense systems in global as well as regional security.

  • The Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, a mausoleum in Pyongyang, North Korea, photo by narvikk/iStock

    Report

    How Does North Korea Evade Sanctions?

    Sep 23, 2021

    The United Nations has imposed increasingly restrictive sanctions on North Korea after each of the six nuclear weapons tests that it conducted between 2009 and 2016. Enforcement has been mixed, and North Korea has become adept at several techniques to evade sanctions.

  • Russian Mi-28N helicopters fly in formation at the Dubrovichi range near Ryazan, Russia, August 2, 2015, photo by Maxim Shemetov/Reuters

    Content

    Where Russia Markets and Sells Advanced Conventional Weapons

    Jun 11, 2021

    Russia uses arms exports to further relations with other countries, influence their political and military leaders, and further its broader foreign and defense policy goals. A series of maps show the extent of its marketing, negotiating, and sales of key weapons systems.

Explore Arms Proliferation and Control

  • Report

    Report

    Dangerous But Not Omnipotent: Exploring the Reach and Limitations of Iranian Power in the Middle East

    Iran's rise as a regional power presents a key foreign policy and security challenge to the United States, but its reach may be more limited than Western conventional wisdom suggests. U.S. strategy should work to exploit existing barriers to Iran's harmful activities, while simultaneously seeking areas of engagement.

    Apr 14, 2009

  • Commentary

    Commentary

    Asia's Nonproliferation Laggards: China, India, Pakistan, Indonesia and Malaysia

    The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction ranks as one of the biggest challenges facing the Obama administration. Luckily, Mr. Obama has a tool to combat this threat, in the form of the Proliferation Security Initiative.... The trick now will be to convince key Asian countries to participate, writes Charles Wolf Jr.

    Feb 9, 2009

  • Report

    Report

    Enhancement by Enlargement: The Proliferation Security Initiative

    The Proliferation Security Initiative consists of 91 countries seeking to limit the spread of weapons of mass destruction between states or non-state actors that would thereby pose a serious threat to global or regional security. This report assesses the perspectives of the five "hold-out" nations and how to possibly gain their affiliation.

    Nov 21, 2008

  • Research Brief

    Research Brief

    Nuclear-Armed Regional Adversaries: How Deterrable Are They Likely to Be?

    This research brief describes a study of nuclear-armed regional adversaries, which suggests that U.S. policymakers and commanders will want to field improved capabilities that can prevent (rather than deter) an enemy's use of nuclear weapons.

    Jul 18, 2008

  • Report

    Report

    Dangerous Thresholds: Managing Escalation in the 21st Century

    Historical examples and the analysis of two modified Delphi exercises augment an examination of approaches to escalation management within the demands of today’s security environment and its attendant threats involving not only long-standing nuclear powers, but also insurgent groups and terrorists.

    Jul 8, 2008

  • Commentary

    Commentary

    The Time is Right to Bring Hezbollah to Negotiating Table

    The U.S. should capitalize on current Lebanese anti-Hezbollah sentiment and push Israel to address Hezbollah's “four bleeding wounds” in order to advance global diplomatic pressure on the group to disarm.

    Jun 6, 2008

  • Commentary

    Commentary

    A New National Strategy for Korea: North Korea Threats Require Deterrence, Reconciliation

    Over the last five years, the South Korean government has tried to downplay the military threat posed by North Korea. However North Korea still poses a serious military threat to South Korea, writes Bruce Bennett.

    Mar 13, 2008

  • nuclear war game maze

    Report

    The Challenge of Nuclear-Armed Regional Adversaries

    North Korea's test of a nuclear weapon in 2006 shows that such weapons are within reach of determined regional powers. Thus, defense planners in the United States and elsewhere must begin now to confront the new security challenges posed by nuclear-armed regional adversaries.

    Mar 10, 2008

  • Commercial Book

    Commercial Book

    Strategy in the Missile Age

    Classic work from 1959 that discusses the origins of air power, its cornerstone position in the evolution of Cold War era nuclear strategy, and its treatment of preventive and preemptive attacks, deterrence, and the economics of strategy.

    Oct 8, 2007

  • Report

    Report

    International Cooperation Needed to Keep Terrorists from Gaining Advanced Weapons

    International cooperation is needed to keep a new generation of advanced conventional weapons from falling into the hands of terrorists. Efforts should focus on making security forces aware of the emerging threats and developing safeguards for the most potent of the weapons.

    Aug 27, 2007

  • Commentary

    Commentary

    Rebuilding Arms Control

    U.S. actions have now freed Russia to take unilateral steps of its own. Moreover, the American policy has given Russia a ready-made justification for abrogating agreements that it now finds onerous, following the precedent set by the United States, write F. Stephen Larrabee and David E. Mosher.

    Aug 10, 2007

  • Commentary

    Commentary

    Iran's Covert War in Iraq

    Published commentary by RAND staff: Iran's Covert War in Iraq, in the Washington Times.

    Mar 16, 2007

  • Commentary

    Commentary

    N Korea Policy Options

    Published commentary by RAND staff: N Korea Policy Options, in United Press International.

    Nov 28, 2006

  • Commentary

    Commentary

    Safer, But Not Safe

    Published commentary by RAND staff: Safer, But Not Safe, in the San Diego Union-Tribune.

    Sep 10, 2006

  • Report

    Report

    War and Escalation in South Asia

    Highlights key factors in South Asia imperiling U.S. interests, and suggests how and where the U.S. military might play an expanded, influential role. It suggests steps the military might take to better advance and defend U.S. interests in the area.

    Mar 9, 2006

  • Commentary

    Commentary

    Let's Avoid Another Trans-Atlantic Feud

    Published commentary by RAND staff: Let's Avoid Another Trans-Atlantic Feud, in International Herald Tribune.

    Jan 13, 2006

  • Report

    Report

    Denying Armageddon: Preventing Terrorist Use of Nuclear Weapons

    Outlines the broad contours of a national preventative strategy for reducing the likelihood of a nuclear terrorist attack on the United States.

    Jan 1, 2006

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Arms Control and CSBMs in a Korean Peace Regime: A U.S. Perspective

    The author addresses strategies and prospects for peace on the Korean Peninsula, prospects for arms control and the peace process involving the two Koreas and the U.S., and the future of U.S.-China relations.

    Jan 1, 2006

  • Research Brief

    Research Brief

    Combating Nuclear Terrorism: Lessons from Aum Shinrikyo, Al Qaeda, and the Kinshasa Reactor

    Few terrorist groups have made a systematic effort to acquire nuclear weapons or materials. RAND Project AIR FORCE (PAF) studied three of these cases to to better understand the supply and demand for nuclear materials and why these attempts failed.

    Nov 25, 2005

  • Report

    Report

    Aum Shinrikyo, Al Qaeda, and the Kinshasa Reactor: Implications of Three Case Studies for Combating Nuclear Terrorism

    Explores attempts by terrorists to acquire nuclear materials and fabricate nuclear systems and suggests that strict controls on nuclear weapons, materials, and expertise will reduce opportunities for terrorists to acquire them.

    Apr 7, 2005