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Maintaining High-Level Focus on Nuclear Security

by and

This paper explores how nuclear security can be maintained at the top of the international agenda following the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul and the third summit to be held in 2014 in the Netherlands. The attention of senior government officials may be vital to catalyzing the implementation of national nuclear security commitments. But continuing the summit process beyond 2014 requires finding novel topics that capture world leaders’ attention and willingness to making the necessary bureaucratic commitments. Alternatives to a series of summits include adding nuclear security to the G-8 or G-20 agendas or integrating it into the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism. The need for continued summitry on this topic would be clearer if there was an empirically based system for tracking nuclear security efforts. The minimalist method for tracking national commitments that has been decided for the Seoul conference is not the best method for assessing the status of nuclear security internationally.

Mark Fitzpatrick is the Director of the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Programme at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS). Mr. Fitzpatrick joined IISS in 2005 after a distinguished 26-year career in the US Department of State, where for the previous ten years he focused on nonproliferation issues. In his last posting, he served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Nonproliferation, responsible for policies to address the proliferation problems posed by Iran, North Korea, Libya, Iraq, South Asia and other regions of concern. Mr. Fitzpatrick had previously served for four years at the US Mission to International Organizations in Vienna, including as Charge d’Affairs and as Counselor for Nuclear Policy, in charge of liaison with the International Atomic Energy Agency. In previous State Department postings, he headed the South Asia Regional Affairs Office, responsible for nonproliferation and security policies regarding India and Pakistan; served as special assistant to Deputy Secretary Strobe Talbott; headed the Political-Military Branch of the US Embassy in Tokyo; served as North Korea desk officer; and held postings in South Korea and New Zealand. Mr. Fitzpatrick received a Master in Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Jasper Pandza is a research analyst with the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Programme at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS). He joined IISS in September 2010 under the Stanton Nuclear Security Fellowship programme. He is currently enrolled as a Ph.D. student at King’s College London where he is exploring the role of communication in preventing, preparing for, and responding to radiological terrorism. He holds a B.Sc. in Physics and a M.A. in Science & Security from King’s College. His research responsibilities include nuclear and radiological security issues, particularly with a view to the Nuclear Security Summit series.

For other papers in this series, visit our NSS Working Paper Series page.

For more resources on the Seoul Nuclear Security Summit and the NSS process, visit our NSS Program page.