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Why Has Progress Slowed?

January 11, 2016

The 2016 NTI Index shows that progress to secure weapons-usable nuclear materials has slowed, even in states otherwise committed to strengthening their security. To understand why, NTI surveyed a few countries to better understand what affected progress:

  • Politics. Other issues shift leaders’ attention from nuclear security. That is exacerbated by a lack of public engagement on nuclear security and therefore a lack of political pressure from constituents to take action.
  • Bureaucratic inertia. Well-meaning government processes to review and strengthen domestic nuclear security frameworks can be slowed or halted indefinitely because of bureaucratic hurdles and inertia.
  • Lack of resources. States with very small nuclear programs may not provide sufficient resources to create and maintain an effective nuclear security regime.
  • Culture. This factor particularly affects the threat posed by malevolent insiders. In cultures where trust is high or where privacy is highly valued, the concept of intrusive personnel vetting through background checks that include drug testing and psychological tests may be unpopular or considered unnecessary.