Susan Koch

Sept. 1, 2012

The Presidential Nuclear Initiatives of 1991-1992

On the morning of September 28, 1991, then-Colonel Frank Klotz witnessed an historic moment at Grand Forks Air Force Base, North Dakota. As he and other senior officers from the base bomber and missile units watched, the crews for the B-1 strategic bombers that had been on alert that day climbed into their cockpits, started the planes, and taxied one after another away from the alert aircraft parking area. That scene was repeated at all 11 Strategic Air Command (SAC) bases in the United States. By the end of the day, there were no U.S. bombers on alert for the first time in over 30 years.

June 1, 2012

Proliferation Security Initiative: Origins and Evolution

On December 9, 2002, the United States and Spanish navies cooperated to interdict a North Korean vessel, the So San, in the Arabian Sea.1 The operation initially appeared to be an unqualified success, a textbook example of interdiction to prevent proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), related materials, or delivery systems. According to press reports, the United States began tracking the vessel when it first left North Korea, believing that it was carrying a cargo related to Scud ballistic missiles. The So San flew no flag, making it a stateless vessel under international law, subject to interception and boarding by warships on the high seas.2 The United States asked the Spanish navy to stop and search the So San when the ship reached the patrol area of Combined Task Force (CTF) 150, then under Spanish command. The mission of CTF 150 was “to promote maritime security in order to counter terrorist acts and related illegal activities” in the Gulf of Aden, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea, and Indian Ocean.3 Thus, the United States proposed—and Spain agreed—to use a tool developed to combat global terrorism in a counterproliferation mission.