In addition to command and control issues [best book to date is Paul Bracken’s 1982 “Command and Control”— nuclear surety and safeguards are a difficult and complex topic not always mastered even by the nuclear priesthood.
Now the Nuclear Threat Initiative and the Economist Intelligence news has prepared an interesting report referenced in today’s NY Times.
“The 122-page report is titled the “Nuclear Materials Security Index” and its accompanying Web site is www.ntiindex.org. Australia came out on top, the report says, because it has reduced its holdings of weapon-useable materials to “a small amount” and did well on the overall indicators. It received 94 out of 100 possible points.
Among the nine countries known to possess nuclear arms, Britain came out on top with a score of 79. The report credits its high status to concrete security measures as well as “its commitment to and follow-through on international obligations.”
The United States scored 78 — a fairly good ranking, the evaluators said, considering its possession of a sprawling nuclear complex that dates to the earliest days of the atomic era.”
Of course I would respectfully disagree with the conclusion that the USA ranking is fairly good. If we are not Numero Uno on this ranking probably many should be fired or relieved of their responsibility. After all the USA is the world’s leading proliferator of both weapons and nuclear power. There can be no argument with that conclusion.