Policy Brief - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Combating Complacency about Nuclear Terrorism

Complacency about the threat of nuclear terrorism—the belief that nuclear and radiological terrorism threats are minimal and existing security measures are sufficient to address them—is the fundamental barrier to strengthening nuclear security. Many factors can lead to complacency, but the most significant contributors are lack of knowledge about: events related to nuclear terrorism; weaknesses of nuclear security systems; and the capabilities demonstrated by thieves around the world. People will be more likely to take action to strengthen nuclear security if they believe that nuclear terrorism poses a real threat to their own country’s interests and their actions can significantly reduce the threat. There have been many incidents in recent years that demonstrate the need for strong and sustainable security at both military and civilian nuclear facilities.

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation:

Matthew Bunn, Nickolas Roth, and William H. Tobey, "Combating Complacency about Nuclear Terrorism," (Cambridge, Mass: Project on Managing the Atom, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School, March 2019).

The Authors