What is the Nonproliferation Treaty?
The Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) is the cornerstone of the nonproliferation regime; it entered into force in 1970 and includes 190 states party. The treaty covers three mutually reinforcing pillars—disarmament, nonproliferation, and peaceful uses of nuclear energy—and is the basis for international cooperation on stopping the spread of nuclear weapons. The basic bargain at the core of the NPT is sound: Countries with nuclear weapons will move towards disarmament; countries without nuclear weapons will not acquire them; and all countries can access peaceful nuclear technology.
The Treaty allows for the Parties to gather every five years to review its operation. At the 1995 Review and Extension Conference, the Parties extended the Treaty indefinitely and formalized the practice of convening a Review Conference (RevCon) every five years, as well as holding Preparatory Committee meeting during each of the three years preceding a RevCon. The 2015 NPT RevCon is taking place place at the United Nations in New York now through May 22. The U.S. looks forward to a constructive RevCon, and we pledge to work with others to reaffirm and strengthen the NPT as a critical element of our common security.
At the 2015 RevCon, the United States is promoting the goal of a world free of nuclear weapons and has set important precedents for transparency in nuclear disarmament by releasing comprehensive data related to the size and history of its strategic nuclear stockpile.
The United States has made nonproliferation of nuclear weapons a national priority: we have enhanced the capacity of other countries to counter the proliferation of nuclear weapons and their means of delivery across their territories and borders; and we have introduced and implemented a series of international initiatives to strengthen the global nuclear nonproliferation regime.
The United States remains committed to the responsible expansion of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. We have promoted and strengthened international mechanisms for ensuring the viability of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s role in preventing the diversion of peaceful nuclear energy sources.
In August 2014, the World Health Organization made an urgent appeal for help to stem the tide against an intensifying Ebola outbreak in western Africa. The Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation responded rapidly through its Office of Cooperative Threat Reduction by training healthcare, law enforcement, and other international response personnel to lend assistance in this effort. Further efforts procured secure transport vehicles and personal protective equipment for areas of greatest need.
ISN trained more than 2,000 police officers from Sierra Leone and more than 1,200 Liberian police officers, equaling nearly one-third of Liberia’s national police force. Officers were trained on the nature of Ebola transmission; use of protective equipment; and proper techniques to interact with sick or potentially infected individuals. This training allows police to safely and securely perform key security duties that enable larger humanitarian efforts. ISN also trained health care workers on secure and safe practices at frontline clinics and supported activities to enhance the security and safety of transport of hazardous materials and sick patients.
These training programs directly leverage ISN’s substantial biosecurity and biosafety expertise to combat infectious disease and improve biosecurity. ISN’s work on Ebola is a further example of the cross-cutting nature of biological risk management and global health security supported by the Bureau.