The Challenges of Chemical Weapons Proliferation and Use

During the Stimson Center’s 25th anniversary year, we are convening events to celebrate accomplishments and to consider hard work that lies ahead.  One source of pride is Stimson’s involvement in the issues surrounding the negotiation and ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention.  The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is now 17 years old and the recipient of the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize “for its extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons”.  The OPCW, the United States and other member states explored new territory with the Syrian demilitarization effort, and are still digesting lessons learned. The Syrian government continues to use chemical weapons, and there are other outliers from the CWC and its obligations. Even so, the CWC has helped to strengthen norms against the use of chemical weapons. 


Ambassador Robert Mikulak

Ambassador Robert Mikulak is the U.S. Permanent Representative to the OPCW. Prior to his appointment, Dr. Mikulak was the Director of the Office of Chemical and Biological Weapons Threat Reduction in the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation at the Department of State, where he worked on the negotiation and implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, the Biological Weapons Convention, export controls and counter-terrorism. He also chaired the interagency backstopping committees for chemical and biological weapons arms control and nonproliferation.

Andrew Weber

Andrew Weber has served as the principal advisor to the Secretary of Defense, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, and the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics for matters concerning nuclear, chemical, and biological defense programs. He also served as the Staff Director of the Nuclear Weapons Council, which manages the nuclear weapons stockpile. His responsibilities also included overseeing the Defense Threat Reduction Agency and the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program.  Mr. Webber has retired from the Pentagon after 18 years of service to help accelerate the global Ebola response. 

John Parachini

John Parachini is a senior international policy analyst and director of the Intelligence Policy Center at the RAND Corporation. He has led RAND projects dealing with terrorist threats to acquire chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear weapons; how the U.S. government can capture terrorists’ digital information; scenario development for counter-terrorism planning; and the danger of terrorists and rogue states acquiring nuclear material expertise from the former Soviet Union. Mr. Parachini, who has an M.A. from the Johns Hopkins School of International Studies and an M.B.A. from Georgetown. He was the Stimson Center’s first Research Assistant in 1989. He returned in 1996-7 to work on issues related to the Senate’s consent to ratify the CWC.

Dr. Amy Smithson

Dr. Amy Smithson is a senior fellow at the Center for Nonproliferation Center and the author of numerous publications, including Germ Gambits: The Bioweapons Dilemma, Iraq and Beyond (Stanford University Press, 2011), based on in-depth field research about dual-use chemical and biological technologies, weapons proliferation, threat reduction mechanisms, defense, and homeland security. She worked at the Stimson Center from 1990-2003. Her publications at Stimson include Ataxia: The Chemical And Biological Terrorism Threat And The US Response and Open Skies, Arms Control and Cooperative Security (co-edited with Michael Krepon). In 1995-6, her responsibilities at Stimson included working with U.S. chemical industry leaders to address their concerns about the CWC.

Michael Krepon

Michael Krepon served as founding president and CEO of the Stimson Center from 1989 to 2000. After stepping down, he taught for ten years as a Diplomat Scholar at the University of Virginia while continuing to direct Stimson’s programming to prevent a dangerous military competition in space and to reduce nuclear dangers in South Asia. He worked previously at the Carnegie Endowment, the State Department, and on Capitol Hill.  He has written over 400 articles and is the author or editor of twenty books.

Watch the event below or here.  

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