U.S. and Thailand Conduct First Training Workshop to Combat Nuclear Proliferation

Press Release
Oct 20, 2011

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) announced today the completion of the first-ever “Pilot Weapons of Mass Destruction Commodity Identification Training” (WMD-CIT) workshop at the RTC Academy in Bangkok with Royal Thai Customs (RTC) and the Royal Thai Government. Conducted from October 19-20, the training reflects the United States’ strong partnership with Royal Thai Customs and the Royal Thai Government to combat nuclear proliferation.     

NNSA began work with RTC in 2009 on the development of a comprehensive training program for customs officers aimed at strengthening Thailand’s ability to prevent the smuggling of sensitive commodities that could be used by state proliferators or terrorists. 

This week’s event marks the culmination of the joint NNSA-RTC two-year effort that included the development of a national WMD CIT course that was specifically tailored to the needs of Thai customs inspectors.  Future iterations of the course, which is designed to train enforcement officials to recognize and interdict illicit transfers of WMD-related materials and technologies, will be taught primarily by officials from the Royal Thai Government. Thailand is the first member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to develop and implement its own national WMD-CIT course.

“Our work with Thailand to detect illicit WMD commodity transfers is an important example of NNSA’s collaboration with international partners to respond to shared nuclear security threats,” said Anne Harrington, NNSA Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation.  “Investing in programs like NNSA’s Commodity Identification Training is a key part of President Obama’s nuclear security agenda and the global effort to prevent nuclear smuggling and keep proliferators from obtaining the sensitive material, equipment, and technology needed to acquire weapons of mass destruction.”

NNSA’s International Nonproliferation Export Control Program (INECP), with funding and oversight from the Department of State’s Export Control and Related Border Security (EXBS) Program, worked with RTC to develop this national export control program.  In addition to the CIT course with RTC, INECP, EXBS, and the Thai Department of Foreign Trade (DFT) of the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) also co-hosted a fourth joint enterprise outreach workshop  on October 18.  Experts from the European Union, Japan, and the United States met with Thai corporations and Thai governmental regulators to raise awareness about export control obligations and WMD-related commodities of concern.

NNSA’s INECP works collaboratively with dozens of countries worldwide to strengthen national interdiction capabilities, focusing on illicit shipments of proliferation-sensitive goods and other WMD-related “dual-use” materials and equipment, which also have legitimate commercial applications. Since 2001, INECP, EXBS, and a growing number of international CIT partners have trained more than 15,000 customs and export control officials to counter the spread of WMD-related commodities.

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Established by Congress in 2000, NNSA is a semi-autonomous agency within the U.S. Department of Energy responsible for enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear science in the nation’s national security enterprise. NNSA maintains and enhances the safety, security, reliability, and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear testing; reduces the global danger from weapons of mass destruction; provides the U.S. Navy with safe and effective nuclear propulsion; and responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the U.S. and abroad.