Proliferation: Threat and Response

Office of the Secretary of Defense
January 1, 2001
In virtually every corner of the globe, the United States and its allies face a growing threat from the proliferation and possible use of nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) weapons and their delivery systems. In some cases, our chief concern is indigenous weapons development programs, in others it is transfer of hardware or know-how across international borders. Broadly, however, we have become increasingly concerned in recent years that NBC weapons, delivery systems, and technology may all be “for sale” to the highest bidder. In Northeast Asia, North Korea’s extensive NBC weapons program threatens Japan, South Korea, and U.S. forces and interests in the region. In North Africa and the Middle East, states of proliferation concern — Libya, Syria, Iran, and Iraq — remain poised to develop and use all means at their disposal to threaten U.S. and allied interests in the region and beyond.