Center for Strategic Communication

An op-ed piece published in the July edition of Maritime Reporter by Joan M. Bondareff and Patricia O’Neill quoted analysis provided by ASP’s May panel on the threat of nuclear terrorism and port security.

The article argued for increased investment in port security and infrastructure, quoting ASP panelists Dr. Stephen Flynn, David Waller, and Rear Admiral (Ret.) Jay Cohen as they discussed the ease in which terrorists could smuggle a nuclear device undetected into American ports:

Recently, in light of the Boston bombing, a number of maritime security experts have questioned whether the U.S. is doing enough to protect our seaports, the cargo entering those ports and the population from a smuggled nuclear device in a container.  At a May 29, 2013 panel on “Nuclear Terrorism: What’s at Stake”, hosted by the American Security Project in Washington, D.C., as reported in “Security Management” (, Dr. Stephen Flynn, a professor at Northeastern University, said that “smuggling  through shipping containers is already happening on a daily basis, which demonstrates the possibility of a nuclear device, planted by terrorists to go undetected.”  His concerns were echoed by other panelists, including David Waller, the former deputy director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Rear Admiral (ret.) Jay Cohen, former Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Science and Technology.  According to Waller, “[n]uclear material arriving at a U.S. port in a container, in all likelihood, has arrived from elsewhere, and [was]shipped undetected from elsewhere” making international cooperation “very important in securing our ports.”  Cohen agreed that the nuclear threat was very real, stating that “[i]t’s only a question of where, when, and to what magnitude.”

A full copy of the article can be viewed here.

A recap of the ASP event can be read here.