Office of Weapons of Mass Destruction Terrorism (ISN/WMDT)

To counter the threat of terrorists acquiring and/or using a weapon of mass destruction, WMDT works with foreign partners to establish, strengthen, and maintain their capabilities to deter, detect, defeat, and respond to terrorist attempts to acquire or use chemical, biological, radioactive, or nuclear materials.

Key Missions:

  • Countering Nuclear Smuggling: Terrorists or other malicious actors could acquire smuggled nuclear or other radioactive materials and use them to build a weapon. WMDT works with partner countries to achieve a common understanding of the smuggling threat and to identify specific goals that help prevent, detect, and respond to smuggling incidents. To advance this mission, WMDT:
    • Develops U.S. counter nuclear smuggling policy and advances U.S. interests in international organizations and with individual partner countries
    • Develops and implements bilateral joint action plans with foreign partners who commit to specific priority goals to counter nuclear smuggling
    • Connects foreign counterparts with U.S. experts in nuclear security, border security, radiological detection, and other related fields
    • Provides and facilitates trainings, workshops, and projects to help partners build counter nuclear smuggling capabilities and address critical vulnerabilities
    • Connects partner countries with other international donors to fund or support counter nuclear smuggling efforts
    • Chairs the U.S. interagency Nuclear Trafficking Response Group
    • Serves as the U.S. point of contact for the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Incident and Trafficking Database
       
  • Foreign Consequence Management: The FCM Program oversees two key missions for the Department regarding international response to chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear (CBRN) incidents.
    • Engagement: The FCM Program partners with priority foreign nations to build and enhance their capabilities to respond in the event of a catastrophic CBRN incident. FCM coordinates and works with a wide range of U.S. interagency experts and programs to deliver training and equipment at the tactical, operational, and strategic levels of response, with the goal of fostering a sustainable capability in each nation.
    • Response: The FCM Program works to prepare the U.S. government to respond to foreign catastrophic CBRN incidents. In this role, the FCM Program represents the Department in interagency policy development and implementation, participates as subject matter experts in CBRN consequence management exercises, and assists U.S. embassies in enhancing their consequence management preparedness.
       
  • The Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism: The GICNT, which the United States and Russia jointly co-chair, is an international partnership of 88 nations and five official observer organizations that have endorsed a set of core nuclear security principles across the full spectrum of nuclear terrorism deterrence, prevention, detection, and response. The mission of the GICNT is to strengthen global capacity to prevent, detect, and respond to nuclear terrorism by conducting multilateral activities that strengthen the plans, policies, procedures, and interoperability of partner nations. To advance this mission, the GICNT has conducted more than 90 multilateral activities, including workshops and tabletop exercises, across the GICNT focus areas of nuclear detection, forensics, and response and mitigation. For further information, visit www.gicnt.org or email Globalinitiative@state.gov.
     
  • Nuclear Forensics: Nuclear forensic science helps governments investigate and prosecute illicit uses of nuclear or other radioactive material and fosters cooperation between or among governments investigating transnational crimes such as nuclear smuggling. To strengthen nuclear forensics capabilities, WMDT:
    • Develops U.S. policy on pre- and post-detonation nuclear forensics in concert with interagency counterparts and leads diplomatic engagement
    • Chairs the U.S. interagency Nuclear Forensics Engagement Working Group
    • Serves as a U.S. government point of contact for foreign government queries of the U.S. National Nuclear Forensics Library
    • Serves jointly with the European Commission to co-chair the Nuclear Forensics International Technical Working Group
    • Supports development and implementation of events and products of the GICNT’s Nuclear Forensics Working Group and similar WMDT nuclear forensics efforts