In the News—NNSA administrator: The US and nuclear threat reduction

In October, U.S. special operations forces launched the daring raid in Syria that killed Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. This operation brought justice to a brutal murderer and marked an important victory in the war against jihadist terrorist groups.

Yet, if the last two decades have taught us anything, it is that killing or capturing the leadership of groups such as ISIS seldom diminishes their desire to attack American civilians or those of our allies. Indeed, every time we pass through airport security, attend a large public event or watch the news, we are reminded that these organizations seek to inflict harm upon us. Since the end of the Cold War, the possibility that a terrorist group or other adversary could obtain radioactive or nuclear materials has been a major concern. The consequences of such material being weaponized in a radiological dispersal device or improvised nuclear device could be significant in terms of lives lost, property destroyed and fear created.