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– Suzanne DiMaggio
Senior Fellow, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
April 15, 2019
Congress needs to wake up to nuclear security threat

Arms Control NOW

This op-ed originally appeared in The Hill, Nov. 14, 2018.

With much of the world’s attention trained on nuclear risks from North Korea, Iran, and Russia, the unfinished work of keeping nuclear materials and know-how from criminals and terrorists cannot be ignored. As the White House emphasizes state-based threats, Congress must take up a greater leadership role to prevent a nuclear or radiological 9/11.

Effective congressional oversight of this issue has been constrained in recent years by numerous obstacles, including limited institutional knowledge, misunderstanding of the subject, skepticism of mission need, competing priorities, and funding constraints. A first-ever study assessing congressional attitudes on nuclear security, published in July by the Arms Control Association and Partnership for a Secure America, found a worrying erosion of engagement, expertise, and interest.

This study revealed a pervasive doubt among congressional staff in Congress’s ability to lead on global nuclear security. Yet, our research also showed that staff believe Congress should do more. So there is hope.

This op-ed originally appeared in The Hill, Nov. 14, 2018.