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Non-Proliferation and Disarmament

Non-Proliferation and Nuclear Policy

Non-proliferation and nuclear policy have always been core to IISS research. Chemical and biological weapons, ballistic missiles and radiological terrorism are also covered by this respected programme.

Expert: Mark Fitzpatrick

Director, Non-Proliferation and Nuclear Policy Programme



Non-proliferation and nuclear policy

Improving the security of all nuclear materials

About four-fifths of the weapons-usable nuclear materials in the world are in non-civilian programmes, but global efforts to enhance the security of nuclear materials have been almost exclusively concentrated on the civilian sector. Following troubling security breaches, this report aims to advance international oversight of the security of non-civilian nuclear materials.

  • Expert Commentary

    Video casts doubt on North Korea’s ability to field an ICBM re-entry vehicle

    31 July 2017.  Video footage of the 28 July Hwasong-14 test suggests that North Korea’s engineers have yet to master re-entry technologies and more work remains before Kim Jong-un has an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of striking the United States mainland.

  • Strategic Comments

    The Ban Treaty arrives

    26 July 2017. 

    The text of the recently negotiated Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons released on 7 July, approved by a vote of 122-1, is likely to be approved by the UN General Assembly and ratified. While none of the nuclear-weapons states or their allies favours the treaty, it marks the rejection of their customary consensus-based approach. Accordingly, the status quo will continue, but now faces a more invigorated and unified opposition.

  • IISS Voices

    On Iran, US and Europe may go their separate ways

    18 July 2017.  Washington is becoming increasingly confrontational when it comes to Iran and the future of the nuclear deal, while European policymakers have been at pains to emphasise its importance. As Paulina Izewicz explains, Europe appears increasingly ready to chart its own course.

  • Shangri-La Voices

    It’s time for ASEAN states to be more proactive on North Korea

    01 June 2017.  The policy options available for dealing with North Korea may be unchanged, but they must be universally implemented to have a chance of working. Matthew Cottee argues that ASEAN states need to do more, particularly on implementing UN sanctions against the regime.

  • Shangri-La Voices

    North Korean missiles should not trigger further proliferation

    31 May 2017.  There are no good policy options for dealing with North Korea, but there are plenty of truly bad ones, argues Mark Fitzpatrick. Close coordination among key stakeholders offers the most promising means of halting Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile pursuit, despite the temptation to engage in tit-for-tat responses.

  • Events

    US policy towards Iran and the status of the Iran nuclear deal

    07 April 2017. 

    Corporate Breakfast
    Mark Fitzpatrick, Director, Non-Proliferation and Nuclear Policy Programme; Executive Director, IISS–Americas
    Arundel House, London
    Friday 7 April 2017, 8.30–9.30am BST

  • IISS Voices

    UN talks on nuclear ban treaty get started

    27 March 2017.  Get up to speed on the proposed nuclear ban treaty with analysis from IISS experts. Despite little media attention, prospects for a treaty look better this time. But is a ban the best way to bring about a world without nuclear weapons?

  • IISS Voices

    North Korea deploys VX as weapon of mass destruction and panic

    15 March 2017.  Why would North Korea choose to use VX, a banned nerve agent, to assassinate Kim Jong-nam? Here, Emily Werk puts this provocative operation into context, suggesting that the weapon has two important attributes: its highly lethal nature and a fearsome reputation.

  • Expert Commentary

    Banning the bomb: we'll all go together

    18 January 2017.  Nuclear disarmament agreements haven't worked. Is there another solution?

  • EU Non Proliferation and Disarmament Conference

    The Impact of Technological Change on Security and Non-Proliferation

    04 November 2016. 

    EU Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Conference 2016 Second Plenary Session
    Chair: Camille Grand, Assistant Secretary General for Defence Investment, NATO
    Anja Kaspersen, Head, Strategic Engagement and New Technologies, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
    Christopher Daase, Deputy Director, PRIF/HSFK
    Andrew Futter, Associate Professor, International Politics, University of Leicester

Survival Seminar

Nuclear Weapons and the Scottish Independence Debate

A nuclear-weapon system designed to guarantee the UK’s survival could hasten its political demise, argues William Walker in the August-September 2015 issue of Survival.

Adelphi book

Asia's Latent Nuclear Powers

Under what conditions would the democracies in Northeast Asia seek to join the nuclear weapons club?