Biodefense expert assesses WMD containment

Biodefense Expert Dana Perkins argued in a recent article for 1540 Compass that the U.N. resolution governing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) could be strengthened to adapt to evolving threats.

"1540 through the fog of war" examined U.N. Security Council resolution (UNSCR) 1540, adopted in 2004, and its relevance a decade later. Perkins cited specific instances that have threatened global security since 2004, including the worldwide economic crisis of 2008-2009 and the Syrian Civil War, as reasons to reassess the effectiveness of UNSCR 1540.

The resolution calls for member states to report on the implementation of UNSCR 1540 within their own borders, with 89 percent of states reporting at least once since 2004. Perkins said that number alone is not a good metric for measuring UNSCR 1540's success, and that better methods for measuring the quality of the reporting is necessary.

Perkins said that global economic security was critical for continued safety from the spread and use of WMDs, as a still-fragile economy is vulnerable to disruptions in food supplies.

Perkins also said that international cooperation is key to the successful implementation of UNSCR 1540, as non-state actors have continued to seek WMDs despite efforts to curtail their proliferation.

Dana Perkins is a former member of the group of experts supporting the U.N.'s 1540 Committee.