Nuclear Proliferation/Non-proliferation | Wilson Center

Nuclear Proliferation/Non-proliferation

2018 Update: Preventing North Korea's Nuclear Breakout

This edition of Preventing North Korea’s Nuclear Breakout includes an updated Executive Summary section that incorporates subsequent developments since its initial publication in February 2017 at the advent of the Trump administration. The monograph draws on Litwak’s previous analysis of North Korea’s nuclear challenge in Outlier States: American Strategies to Change, Contain, or Engage Regimes, published in 2012, which was the third in a series of books on the normative challenge to international order posed by “rogue states.”

Fallout From Iran Missile Test

Fallout from Iran’s recent missile test has resulted in new US sanctions and warnings from the Trump Administration that the country is “playing with fire” and is now “on notice.” Is the test a violation of the Iran Nuclear Deal? What can we expect moving forward? We asked nonproliferation and national security expert, Robert Litwak to provide analysis. That’s the focus of this edition of Wilson Center NOW.


The Role of Missile Defense in Reinforcing the Iran Nuclear Deal and the NPT

Join us for a meeting of the Wilson Center Nonproliferation Forum on January 27th, for a discussion with Robert Bell, former defense advisor to the U.S. ambassador to NATO between 2010 and 2017. Mr. Bell will speak on the role of NATO and U.S. missile defense in reinforcing the JCPOA nuclear agreement.

This meeting is organized by the Wilson Center Nonproliferation Forum and co-sponsored by Los Alamos National Laboratory.

The International Atomic Energy Agency Statute at Sixty

The IAEA Statute at Sixty

What does the World Expect of President-elect Trump: Nuclear Proliferation

Key Takeaways:

  • The risk of a single nuclear weapon being detonated by a determined terrorist group has markedly increased.
  • The Nuclear Security Summits have made a significant contribution to nuclear security and should be continued.
  • The greatest, most urgent nuclear threat to the U.S. is from North Korea which is on the verge of a strategic breakout.

Q: What is the greatest challenge facing the United States in the area of nuclear proliferation?

The Threat of Nuclear Terrorism

One of the worst fears in the post 9-11 world is that the threat of nuclear terrorism will become reality. Nonproliferation expert, Robert Litwak has for decades been immersed in the work of securing nuclear weapons and materials from spreading and falling into the hands of actors that would not hesitate to put them to destructive use. His books on “Rogue” and “Outlier” states have provided valuable ways to think about and address the threats posed by potential abuses of nuclear technologies.

Election 2016: The Iran Nuclear Deal

The Iran nuclear deal continues to be a focus of partisan disagreement during election 2016. We asked nonproliferation expert, Robert Litwak to provide an update on the deal in the shadow of the race for the White House. That’s the focus of this edition of  Wilson Center NOW.



Going Beyond Sanctions to Denuclearize North Korea


While denuclearization should remain the goal of U.S. policy, freezing North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs should be a priority. However, sanctions alone will not be enough to get North Korea to freeze these activities.

Policy Recommendations:

Recognizing the limits of sanctions on North Korea: