The overarching question imparting urgency to this exploration is: Can U.S.-Russian contention in cyberspace cause the two nuclear superpowers to stumble into war? In considering this question we were constantly reminded of recent comments by a prominent U.S. arms control expert: At least as dangerous as the risk of an actual cyberattack, he observed, is cyber operations’ “blurring of the line between peace and war.” Or, as Nye wrote, “in the cyber realm, the difference between a weapon and a non-weapon may come down to a single line of code, or simply the intent of a computer program’s user.”
The networks of suppliers, financiers, shippers, and others involved in the illicit procurement of WMD-related goods and technologies often operate outside of the United States, which presents several legal and political challenges for the enforcement of U.S. trade controls. Aaron Arnold and Daniel Salisbury will provide an assessment of current U.S. approaches to the jurisdictional challenges of countering WMD-related illicit trade, and will discuss the broader implications of extraterritorial enforcement for global nonproliferation efforts. They find that although conducting extraterritorial enforcement demonstrates a strong commitment to controlling the spread of WMD-related goods and technology, and that U.S. tools and efforts in this area are expanding, such actions can also erode trust and may undermine cooperative efforts to ensure consistent implementation of norms and obligations, like those found in U.N. Security Council Resolution 1540.
Aaron Arnold is a research fellow with the Project on Managing the Atom at Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center. His current work focuses on trade controls for preventing WMD proliferation. Prior to his current appointment, he spent nine years as a non-proliferation and counter-proliferation subject matter expert at the U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. Justice Department, where he specialized in WMD counter-proliferation investigations and operations, with an emphasis on threat finance and sanctions evasion. Aaron holds a PhD and MPP in public policy and national security from George Mason University and a BA in international relations from Virginia Tech.
Daniel Salisbury is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Science and Security Studies (CSSS) at King’s College London and an Associate of the Project on Managing the Atom (MTA) at the Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center. He was previously a Stanton Nuclear Security Postdoctoral Fellow at MTA and a Postdoctoral Fellow at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS), Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey.