Richard Cupitt

Senior Fellow and Director

Partnerships in Proliferation Prevention

Richard T. Cupitt is a Senior Fellow and Director of the Partnerships in Proliferation Prevention program at Stimson. His areas of expertise include WMD nonproliferation, export controls, and foreign policy. Prior to joining Stimson, he served as the Special Coordinator for U.N. Security Council resolution 1540 in the Office of Counterproliferation Initiatives at the U.S. State Department from 2012 through 2016. As such, he led U.S. government efforts to further implementation of the more than two hundred legally binding obligations and recommendations of the resolution, which aims to combat proliferation of WMD and their means of delivery, especially to non-state actors such as terrorists and criminal organizations. From 2005 to 2012, he worked as an Expert for the Committee established pursuant to U.N. Security Council resolution 1540 (2004), a subsidiary body of the U.N. Security Council, monitoring and facilitating implementation of the resolution in all U.N. Member States, along with building relationships with more than forty international organizations, coordinating assistance activities, and conducting outreach with industry and academia. Elected coordinator of the Experts from 2010-2012, his also led the work in several specialized areas including combating the financing of proliferation and export controls.    

From 2004 to 2008, Cupitt also held a position as Scholar-in-Residence at American University and worked as Special Adviser for International Cooperation for the U.S. Undersecretary of Commerce in the Bureau of Industry and Security from 2002-2004. From 1988 to 2002, Cupitt had various posts for the Center International Trade and Security (CITS) of the University of Georgia, including Associate Director, as well as acting as a visiting scholar at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in 2000-2002. Cupitt also has held academic positions at Emory University and the University of North Texas. He has produced four books and more than 20 peer-reviewed articles on nonproliferation export controls, along with dozens of other security or trade-oriented publications. In addition, he has served as a consultant on projects for the U.S. State Department, several U.S. national commissions, U.S. national nuclear laboratories, and various international organizations.

To learn more about how Cupitt got his start in WMD nonproliferation, export controls and foreign policy, read his My Story.


The ubiquity of radioactive materials in modern society poses serious security risks

Applied research on distributed ledger technology to improve trust, security, and transparency

Enhancing frontline officers’ chemical trade control compliance by increasing access to information to help identify chemicals of proliferation concern

Preventing the proliferation of dangerous and dual use chemicals with research, resources, and analysis

Keeping the most dangerous weapons out of the worst hands by facilitating assistance partnerships

Research & Writing
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A New Paradigm for Terrorism: September 11 and Strategic Trade Controls to Prevent the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction

After the attacks, the international community developed new forums for international cooperation to oppose WMD proliferation and terrorism

Policy Paper
Missing: Legal Frameworks for Chemical Security

In the aftermath of the widespread use of chemical weapons during the First World War, many countries committed to not use such weapons again in the 1925 Geneva Protocol.United Nations, Office of Disarmament Affairs, Protocol for the Prohibition of the…

Working Paper
Leveraging Cheminformatics to Bolster the Control of Chemical Warfare Agents and their Precursors

This article was also co-authored by Stefano Costanzi and Gregory D. Klobentz.Stefano Costanzi is an Associate Professor of Chemistry at American University with an educational background in both the chemical sciences and international affairs. His cur…

Policy Memo
Increase the Security of Radioactive Sources

Radioactive materials remain notably vulnerable to use by violent groups

Policy Memo
Fix the Nonproliferation Assistance Maze

It could be easier for countries to get help for their nonproliferation efforts

Working Paper
Lists of Chemical Warfare Agents and Precursors from International Nonproliferation Frameworks

This article was also co-authored by Stefano Costanzi, Charlotte K. Slavick, Brent O. Hutcheson, and Gregory D. Koblentz Abstract To support efforts to stem the proliferation of chemical weapons (CW), we have curated and structurally annotated CW-contr…

Policy Memo
Reduce the Threat of Chemical Weapons with New Security Standards

There are not clear international standards or legal obligations to ensure the security of these chemicals that can be used to make chemical weapons

Policy Paper
Match or Mismatch?: Comparing Formal Requests and Offers for Assistance in Border and Export Controls

Originally published in the Strategic Trade Review Journal Originally published in the Strategic Trade Research Journal Volume 5, Issue 7, Winter 2019.

Preventing Biological and Chemical Weapons Proliferation during COVID-19

Even in a pandemic, global governance institutions still need to prevent the spread of biological and chemical weapons.

Catalogue of Civil Society Assistance for BWC States Parties

Highlighting civil society assistance activities to strengthen biological safety and security

Data Tool
Radiological Trade Controls by UN Member States

Databases of UN Member States’ legal measures related to radiological trade controls

Data Tool
Radiological Source Security by UN Member States

Databases of UN Member States’ legal measures that include an explicit obligation to secure radioactive sources, related apparatus, or facilities to empower stakeholders

Partnerships in Proliferation Prevention Program

Assistance Support Initiative States worldwide struggle to implement effectively the obligations of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540 and other international nonproliferation treaties and commitments.  As a result, States, international g…

Richard T. Cupitt Joins Stimson as Senior Associate

The Stimson Center announced today that Richard T. Cupitt has been appointed as a Senior Associate and Director of the Center’s new Partnerships in Proliferation Prevention program. The Partnerships in Proliferation Prevention program supports the 1540…

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