Publication Title

Naval Law Review

Document Type



This article seeks to provide the reader with an overview of the weapons of mass destruction (WMD) nonproliferation regime relevant to marine security operations and to alert the reader to shortfalls in that regime that might frustrate at-sea efforts to interdict WMD shipments. It begins with a general description of the international approach to combating proliferation of WMD and then examines the individual regimes for nuclear weapons, chemical weapons (CW), biological-toxin weapons (BTW) and WMD delivery systems, such as missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles. It next traces the development of several resolutions by the United Nations Security Council that target global terrorism and WMD proliferation. The article does not directly address maritime operations in support of Security Council resolutions imposing economic sanctions on a particular nation, nor does it address the war-time doctrines of neutrality, visit and search for contraband or blockade. The article concludes that while the global nonproliferation regime has progressively developed over the past several decades, it remains incomplete.



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