Examines the Department of Defense's counterproliferation efforts since the end of the Cold War, and also addresses the challenges of protecting the U.S. homeland.
In December 1993, Secretary of Defense Les Aspin announced the Counterproliferation Initiative, a response to President Clinton's assertion that if we do not stem the proliferation of the world's deadliest weapons, no democracy can feel secure. This timely book brings together contributions from a wide range of experts to help readers understand how far the nation has come since then—and what still needs to happen.
Insightful essays examine: arms control treaty programs; export control regimes; interdiction; diplomatic/economic/political persuasion and sanctions; deterrence; counterforce; active and passive defense; and consequence management. Many positive changes have occurred since 1993. Regime changes in Iraq and South Africa have removed some WMD proliferation threats. Saddam Hussein has been overthrown, and a new Iraq is beginning to emerge. South Africa's clandestine WMD program has apparently ended. Libya announced it has given up its efforts to have active WMD programs. The Taliban and al Qaeda have been routed in Afghanistan, probably delaying efforts to develop or buy WMD.
Yet, states continue to develop and export WMD and/or their delivery systems. As many as 30 states are still believed to have either a nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons program. Some have all three. India and Pakistan have acknowledged programs. Abdul Qadeer Khan, the scientist who directed the Pakistani A-bomb program, has admitted selling nuclear weapons designs, and nuclear enrichment equipment to Libya, Iran, and North Korea. His colleagues have held discussions with al Qaeda representatives. Ayman Al-Zawahiri, number two in the al Qaeda chain of command, claims that the terrorist organization has several suitcase A-bombs from the Former Soviet Union. It appears clear to many that Iran has a desire to develop nuclear weapons. Syria still has a chemical weapons program. North Korea's WMD profile has escalated.
As Avoiding the Abyss so convincingly demonstrates, much has been accomplished since the Counterproliferation Initiative was launched-but much work still lies ahead. It is an important story for every American.
The First Decade of Counterproliferation by Jim Davis The WMD Proliferation Threat by Jonathan B. Wolfsthal Weapons of Mass Destruction Terrorism by Jerrold M. Post, Laurita M. Denny and Polina Kozak Nonproliferation - Challenges Old and New by Brad Roberts Progress in Counterforce: 1993-2004 by Barry R. Schneider Emerging Missile Challenges and Improving Active Defenses by Jeffery A. Larsen and Kerry M. Kartchner Passive Defense against the WMD Threat :Progress and Shortfalls by Walter L. Busbee, Albert J. Mauroni and John V. Wade Consequence Management by Bruce W. Bennett and Richard A. Love Counter-WMD Concepts of Operations at U.S. and Allied Air Bases by Charles R. Heflebower, Laura J. LeGallo, John P. Lawrence and Bert A. Cline U.S. Counterproliferation Cooperation with Allies by Peter R. Lavoy and Gayle D. Meyers Securing the Homeland: The FirstDecade by Randy J. Larsen and Patrick D. Ellis Seeking a Port in the WMD Storm: Counterproliferation Progress, Shortfalls and the Way Ahead by Barry R. Schneider Appendix A: The Counterproliferation Initiative Remarks by Honorable Les Aspin Appendix B: National Strategy to Combat WMD Appendix C: Reforming the Chemical and Biological Defense Program (1996-2001) by Albert J. Mauroni, Appendix D: Acronyms Index
Reviews "This volume is edited by one current and one former senior official at the US Air Force Counterproliferation Center. Contributors are former military personnel and analysts from conservative think tanks specializing in weapons of mass destruction (WMD) issues. The book comprehensively reviews the broad range of issues associated with addressing the threats posed by various types of WMDs. Appendixes and extensive footnotes also include considerable useful information regarding the evolution of policies to counter WMDs....Important for specialized collections on the military, but not a book for generalists. Recommended. General readers, lower-division undergraduates through practitioners."—Choice
"The editors and other contributors assess US efforts to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and explore outstanding issues, largely from a military perspective. Twelve essays discuss possible connections between WMD and terrorism, progress in military counterforce capability (the ability to target WMD infrastructure), missile defense, passive defense, consequence management, counter-WMD concepts of operation at US and allied air bases, and counterproliferation cooperation with allies."—Reference & Research Book News
"[A] top pick for college-level audiences studying military and political history and social issues. Essays focus on arms control treaties, programs, deterrence concepts, and risk management alike as they gather essays written by experts in their fields to help readers understand the threat and containment efforts of WMD. From implications of stealth and counteroffensive practices to passive and active defenses and homeland security issues, Avoiding the Abyss is a 'must' for any college-level reader."—Midwest Book Review - California Bookwatch