Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI)

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Status Brief

The So San incident played a critical role in the newfound urgency for the development of PSI. A “lessons learned” study of the So San incident followed directly after the ship’s release. “The White House then decided that the issue was sufficiently important and innovative in its approach to WMD and missile proliferation that it warranted a Presidential initiative. The result was President Bush’s proposal to create the Proliferation Security Initiative. (Comparative Strategy, 2009)

“PSI was officially announced by President Bush on May 31, 2003 in Krakow, Poland, in order to combat the threat of the proliferation of WMD.” (Hodgkinson, 2007)

“John R. Bolton, former US Under-Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security as well as former US Ambassador to the United Nations, is considered the architect of PSI. Bolton worked with numerous countries to form the framework of PSI.” (Byers, 2004)

“The Proliferation Security Initiative was developed in the context of increasingly complex and dangerous WMD and missile proliferation threats, as well as of the existing international treaties and arrangements aimed at constraining them.” (Comparative Strategy, 2009)

Developmental Milestones/Developments to Date:

More than 90 nations are PSI participants. – (

11 nations have signed bilateral Mutual Shipboarding Pacts with the US which allows a mutual expedition of shipboarding requests for ships under those nations’ flags. – (

Over 20 Operational Experts Group Meetings have taken place with two more already planned for 2011. – (

PSI has conducted 48 Activities (Exercises, Workshops, Gaming) since September 2003. – (

Current Assessment/State of the Field:

“PSI is a voluntary organization in which countries agree to take steps to halt proliferation.” (Muzinich, Justin)

“PSI has registered substantial success in actual interdictions and in improving partern’s capabilities – political, diplomatic, legal, military – to prevent proliferation shipments from reaching their destinations.” (Comparative Strategy, 2009)

“PSI remains an active, growing, and important counterproliferation program.” (Hodgkinson, 2007)

“There is little logic in arguing that a nuclear explosion, with its accompanying loss of life and threat to peace, must occur before interdiction is allowed.” (Muzinich, 2010)

Specific PSI Policies:

Measures to interdict the transport or transfer of WMD and related materials “to and from states and non-state actors of proliferation concern,” procedures for information exchange in such cases commitments to strengthen applicable legal measures, undertaking by member-states to board ships or require aircraft in transit to land and have suspect cargoes searched and/or seized. (Muzinich, 2010)

Specific Restrictions of PSI:

The ships or aircraft concerned must be within the territorial seas or air-space of member-states, or be flagged or registered by a member-state, or be flagged or registered by a state willing to cooperate in this specific case or on an ad hoc basis. (Muzinich, 2010)


“International law does not match international rhetoric, doing little to restrain the countries that matter most.” (Muzinich, 2010)

“The problem with all the treaty-based approaches is that the nations most likely to traffic in WMD and associated technologies are unlikely to accord stop-and-search powers to other states.” (Byers, 2004)

“Those who sign UN resolutions, join PSI, and consent to inspection of their ships are those already committed to nonproliferation. But it is the countries that remain outside these agreements that are the most likely proliferators.” (Muzinich, 2010)

“Hostility toward PSI from a large and powerful country could limit its effectiveness and provide a source of unnecessary friction in international affairs.” (Byers, 2004)


“The problem of nonconsenting states such as North Korea will remain, leaving those wishing to take a high seas action against vessels flying such flags with three options: securing a United Nations Security Council resolution that authorizes interdiction; claiming that the vessels pose a threat that falls within the scope of an existing, or evolving, customary international law right of preemptive self-defense; or simply violating international law.” (Byers, 2004)


Editors, “Practicing to Provoke”, The Economist Newspaper Limited, 20 September 2003, Vol. 368, Issue 8342.

  1. “Ships and aircraft gathered in the Coral Sea off Australia’s Queensland coast for Operation Pacific Protector to rehearse the tracking and boarding of ships suspected of carrying cargoes that could be used in making weapons of mass destruction.”
  2. *“North Korea, whose proliferation activities–selling drugs, counterfeit dollars and missiles in order to finance imports of technology and equipment for its nuclear, chemical or biological weapons–make it a prime target for such stop-and-search tactics.”
  3. “North Korea, for example, finding its ships under uncomfortably close watch, is now thought to rely more on air routes across China to the Middle East to ply its weapons-related trade.”
  4. “The UN Security Council may be asked to endorse new restrictions on trade in certain goods and technologies. But for now the emphasis is on tightening existing laws and enforcing them more rigorously.”

PSI, North Korea


Morash, Brett James, “Intelligence Operations in Maritime Interdiction Operations and the Global War on Terrorism,” Naval War College, Newport, RI essay, May 17, 2004.

  1. “Maritime Interdiction Operations (MIO) units.”
  2. “Denial of sponsorship, support, and sanctuary to terrorists.”
  3. “Use intelligence to intercept suspect vessels.”
  4. “As part of the strategy on terrorism it is critical to deny terrorists a safe refuge, and by denying them the use of legitimate vessels they will be forced increasingly to use stateless vessels which are prohibited by the International Maritime Organization.”

Nonproliferation, PSI


Prosser, Andrew, et. al, “The Proliferation Security Initiative in Perspective,” June 16, 2004,

  1. “PSI states remain secretive about the methods being employed and the number of actual interdictions being carried out.”
  2. “Can board vessels “flying a given country’s flag at sea” that participates in the initiative.”
  3. “The power to stop and seize in high seas is ‘virtually non-existent’, can stop ships flying own flag and those that aren’t flagged.”
  4. “Internal waters, authority diminished in territorial seas.”
  5. “Freedom of navigation on the high seas is limited in situations of slave trading, piracy, illicit narcotics trafficking, and unauthorized broadcasting, while innocent passage is inalienable ‘so long as it is not prejudicial to the peace, good order, or security of the coastal state.”
  6. “Where a suspected WMD cargo is transported under the flag of a foreign state that does not wish to grant PSI member countries permission to board its ship, PSI participants will usually not have the authority to act.”
  7. “States not bound by an international treaty prohibiting the transfer of WMD technologies are permitted to transport mass destruction weapons cargoes.”
  8. “Interception of WMD transfers at sea might be viewed as consistent with UNSC resolutions.”
  9. “If a country opposes the initiative, PSI operations cannot be carried out.”

PSI, UNSCR 1540, Nonproliferation, WMD, Law Enforcement


Byers, Michael, “Policing the High Seas: The Proliferation Security Initiative”, The American Journal of International Law, Vol. 98, No. 3 (July, 2004), pp. 526-545.

  1. “Much of PSI involves nothing more than the consistent and rigorous application of existing rights under national and international law. Concurrently, the initiative promotes the development of new legal authorities by way of bilateral and multilateral treaties.” Pg. 528
  2. “A ship may be forcibly boarded on the high seas if it is reasonably suspected of engaging in piracy or the slave trade; lacks a flag (i.e., a single country of registration); or is broadcasting in an unauthorized manner toward, or is registered in, the state that wishes to board.” Pg. 527
  3. “Ships flagged by nonconsenting states may be searched when in foreign harbors if reasonably suspected to be carrying armaments that have not been declared.” Pg. 531
  4. “In certain circumstances, customary international law might already allow for the high seas interdiction of suspected WMD or missile-laden vessels flagged by nonconsenting states. These circumstances could arise when the vessel posed an imminent threat, either to the interdicting state or to a third state that requested the interdiction.” Pg. 532
  5. “The problem of nonconsenting states such as North Korea will remain, leaving those wishing to take high seas action against vessels flying such flags with three options: securing a United Nations Security Council resolution that authorizes interdiction; claiming that the vessels pose a threat that falls within the scope of an existing, or evolving, customary international law right of preemptive self-defense; or simply violating international law.” Pg. 528
  6. “States may choose to breach the rules without advancing strained and potentially destabilizing legal justifications. By doing so, they allow their action to be assessed subsequently, not in terms of the law, but in terms of its political and moral legitimacy, with a view to mitigating their responsibility rather than exculpating themselves.” Pg. 543

PSI, Law Enforcement, WMD, North Korea


Winner, Andrew C., “The Proliferation Security Initiative: The New Face of Interdiction,” The Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, THE WASHINGTON QUARTERLY, Spring 2005, 28:2, pp. 129-143.

  1. “PSI employs different tools and focuses on the interdiction of WMD-related items in the transport phase.”
  2. deterrence, denial of shipments causing to seek other, more difficult methods of obtaining WMD’s.
  3. PSI ship boarding agreements based on narcotics ship boarding agreements.

PSI, WMD, Interdiction, Nonproliferation


Logan, Samuel E., “The Proliferation Security Initiative: Navigating the Legal Challenges,” Journal of Transnational Law & Policy, Vol. 14:2 Spring, 2005, pp 253-272.

  1. “According to the Statement [of Interdiction Principles], PSI countries are to pursue the goals of the initiative “to the extent their national legal authorities permit and consistent with their obligations under international law and frameworks.” p 257
  2. “The Statement of Interdiction Principles lays out “specific actions” to be undertaken by PSI participants. Subparagraphs 4(b) and (c) call on flag states to board and search their own vessels regardless of their location in the world and to consider providing consent to other states for such boardings.” p257
  3. “According to Dr. Michael Beck, Executive Director of the Center for International Trade and Security, PSI efforts “face a major problem because 95 percent of the ingredients for WMD are dual-use in nature, having both civilian and WMD applications.” p 259
  4. “But Resolution 1540 is insufficient in itself. The Resolution recognizes proliferation to be “a threat to international peace and security,”133 but does not explicitly authorize the types of interdictions to take place under the PSI.” p270



Karageorgis, Konstantinos, “Interdict WMD Smugglers at Sea”, U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, March 2005, Vol. 131, Issue 3.

  1. “The Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) countries should inspire and lead the rest of the world in taking bold measures against smuggling.”
  2. “Greece, the country with the largest merchant fleet in the world, is not a PSI member.”
  3. “In an effort to persuade Greece to become a member of the PSI, the United States could support Greece’s efforts to exercise its legal right (according to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea) and expand its territorial waters from 6 to 12 nautical miles.”
  4. “In the sensitive area of the Eastern Mediterranean, the 12-mile territorial sea, if adopted by every country, will expand the territory where the PSI countries will have the legal right to seize suspected vessels and interdict weapons smugglers.”

PSI, Jurisdiction


Cotton, James, “The Proliferation Security Initiative and North Korea: Legality and Limitations of a Coalition Strategy”, Security Dialogue, Vol. 36 Issue 2, pg. 193-211, June 2005.

  1. “Under current norms, the export of missiles by non-MTCR (Missile Technology Control Regime) countries to non-MTCR recipients does not violate any international agreements or obligations.” Pg. 197
  2. “The PSI lacks sufficient basis in international law to legitimize the interdiction of alleged North Korean WMD and weapons shipments on likely shipping routes.”  Pg. 208
  3. “The vessels in question will most likely be North Korean flagged and will avoid state jurisdictions where these activities may be subject to challenge.” Pg. 197
  4. “If the USA comes to determine that the threat posed by North Korean proliferation is now so great that it cannot await changes to international law or specific UN endorsement, Washington may well seek the backing of a like-minded coalition for more stringent action.” Pg. 204
  5. “It is not yet possible to reconcile the ambitious intentions of the PSI with current international law and practice. Further cooperation with key states will be necessary, and a specific UN Security Council endorsement will be required.” Pg. 201
  6. “If it is supposed that the PSI is especially applicable to North Korea, then any program to restrict the movement of goods in and out of North Korea would require the active cooperation of China and South Korea, given the extensive use of Chinese ports and railways by North Korean commercial entities, and also the extensive and poorly regulated inter-Korean trade.” Pg. 196
  7. “The formation of a truly effective PSI coalition would require the full participation of South Korea. This is the case not only for reasons of geography and because US air and naval units would most likely need to operate from or use bases in South Korean territory, but also because since 2000 South Korea has emerged as North Korea’s most important trading partner and because there have even been some tentative agreements between Seoul and Pyongyang to permit shipping from the North to use South Korean territorial waters.” Pg. 206-207
  8. “Only with regime change in Pyongyang will the danger North Korea poses both to the USA and to world order be removed. This is held to be the case since ‘rogue’ regimes do not necessarily operate according to the conventional canons of deterrence, nor can they be trusted not to pass WMDs to terrorists.” Pg. 205

PSI, Jurisdiction, WMD, North Korea, South Korea, China


Perman, Ben, “Provide the Capability for Interdiction Operations”, U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, Jan2006, Vol. 132 Issue 1.

  1. “Despite the catastrophic consequences of WMD and the asymmetric nature of their threat, maritime powers such as the United States have a unique opportunity to gain the upper hand, because all WMDs will probably be on board a commercial vessel at some point during the proliferation cycle.”
  2. “International law and the economic forces that drive international shipping (and, by extension, smuggling) lead to the conclusion that the most effective locations to focus interdiction operations are areas where all elements of jurisdiction intersect.”
  3. “High seas interdiction operations, however, are tactically complex, demand excellent intelligence, require large commitments of resources, and may lack sufficient authority and jurisdiction to withstand legal review.”
  4. “One possible limitation is that, without detailed intelligence, the boarding team is not aware of any one item, or situation, that indicates the presence of weapons of mass destruction.”
  5. “Equipping all boarding teams with a common detection and analysis suite will overcome this limitation and provide an additional arena for overt intelligence collection.”
  6. “Boarding teams should be equipped with modern, accurate spectrometers that can discriminate between most radionuclides and can provide the on-scene commander with the data required to make informed decisions.”
  7. “If the threat of WMD entering the United States is from maritime shipments, it is clear that some effort must be made to provide boarding teams with simple detection kits.”

PSI, WMD, Jurisdiction, Biodetection


Auerswald, David P., “Deterring Nonstate WMD Attacks,” Political Science Quarterly, Volume 121, Number 4, 2006, pg 543-569.

  1. “For deterrence to work against an individual, a terrorist or crime group, or a nation-state, you must either increase the costs that the entity has to pay, or decrease the benefits they get, should they change their behavior.” * “PSI is both defensive and deterrent in nature.”
  2. “UNSC Resolution 1540 makes it a global crime to traffic in WMD materials or delivery systems, demands improvements in border controls and internal security over WMD materials, and sets the legal framework for future interdiction and punishment.”

WMD, Biodefense, PSI, UNSCR 1540, deterrence by denial and punishment


DAVID E. SANGER, “U.S. and Russia Will Police Nuclear Terrorists,”  NY, July 15, 2006

  1. “Within months, the officials said, they expect China, Japan, the major European powers, Kazakhstan, and Australia to form the initial group of nations under what the two leaders are calling “The Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism.” The informal organization of countries is based on the American-led “Proliferation Security Initiative,” a group of more than 70 countries that have pledged to help seize illicit weapons as they move across oceans or are transported by air. Some countries in that group now hold regular drills to share intelligence and practice seizures.”

PSI, China, Kazakhstan, JapanAustralia


Guilfoyle, Douglas, “Maritime Interdiction of Weapons of Mass Destruction,” JOURNAL OF CONFLICT & SECURITY LAW, 2007, Volume 12, No.1, pages 1-36.

  1. Maritime law enforcement- stop and search a vessel at sea “potentially seizing cargo and arresting persons aboard.”
  2. flag vessels enforced by their states, flag-state consent
  3. “a coastal state can enforce its criminal law against ships bound for, or leaving, its internal waters.”
  4. “so long as the acts of a vessel situated within the contiguous zone produce an infringement of a coastal state’s customs, fiscal, sanitary, and immigration laws within the territorial sea, ‘control’ could be asserted to punish those acts.”
  5. “In 1992, the Security Council identified the ‘proliferation of all WMD’ as a ‘threat to international peace and security.’”

PSI, UNSCR 1540, Law Enforcement, Law, Nonproliferation, WMD, UN Convention on the Law of the Sea


Hodgkinson, Sandra L., “Challenges to Maritime Interception Operations in the War on Terror: Bridging the Gap,AMERICAN UNIVERSITY INTERNATIONAL LAW REVIEW, Washington College of Law, 22 Am. U. Int’l L. Rev. 583, 2007.

  1. MIOs- Maritime interception Operations – to deter, deny, disrupt movement of terrorists and terrorist related materials
  2. maritime interdiction as “anticipatory self-defense”
  3. PSI – more than 75 participating nations
  4. “PSI does not specifically establish any boarding authority and does not provide participating states with any new legal authority to conduct interdictions in intl waters”
  5. SOSAN incident helped in the development of PSI – Spanish forces found “fifteen scud missiles” along with the reported cement on a North Korean ship; brought to the attention of Spanish forces
  6. “PSI was officially announced by President Bush on May 31, 2003 in Krakow, Poland”
  7. BBC China – German owned ship – thousands of “gas centrifuge components that can be used to enrich uranium” were found and recovered; brought to attention of US and British intelligence, components recovered in Italy
  8. Post October 2003 – US has formed bilateral boarding agreements with 6 nations

Nonproliferation, PSI, WMD, Law Enforcement, Interdiction


Song, Yann-Huei, “The U.S.-Led Proliferation Security Initiative and UNCLOS: Legality, Implementation, and an Assessment”, Ocean Development & International Law, 38: 101-145 (2007).

  1. “UNCLOS, which is considered ‘[a] Constitution for the Oceans,’… has been praised as the most comprehensive political and legislative work ever undertaken by the United Nations.” (pg.102)
  2. “There is nothing in UNCLOS that explicitly prohibits the possession or transportation of ‘WMD, their delivery systems, and related materials’ by a foreign-flagged vessel.” (pg115)
  3. “‘PSI requires participating countries to act consistent with national legal authorities and relevant international law and frameworks,’ which includes the law reflected in the Law of the Sea Convention.’” (pg.113)
  4. “Three major factors should be considered in determining if a PSI interception is permissible under international law: first, the nature of the cargo transferred or transported by the intercepted vessel; second, the location where the interception action takes place; and third, the nationality of the intercepted vessel.” (pg.114)
  5. “In order to legally intercept WMD-related cargos, PSI participating countries must present reasonable evidence showing that the WMD-related cargoes are being transferred or transported to and from ‘states and non-state actors of proliferation concern’ and will be used for nonpeaceful purposes.” (pg.115)
  6. “An interdiction is legal under UNCLOS if the vessel that is being interdicted flies the flag of the interdicting country or flies the flag of a state that consents to the interdiction.” (pg.118)
  7. “It would also be legal for a PSI participating country to stop a vessel flying no flags or more than one flag in its national waters or international waters.” (pg.118)
  8. “Interdictions can be undertaken in different maritime zones, including internal waters, territorial sea, archipelagic waters, contiguous zone, straits used for international navigations, EEZs, and the high seas.” (pg.116)
  9. “There are other international treaties, regimes, and frameworks that can be relied on if interdiction actions against suspect vessels that carry or transport ‘WMD, their delivery systems, and related materials’ to and from ‘states and non-states of proliferation concern’ are necessary.” (pg.125)
  10. “The United States maintains that the PSI Statement of Interdiction Principles are consistent with the UN Security Resolution 1540, operative paragraph 10 which ”’calls upon” all States, in accordance with their national legal authorities and legislation and consistent with international law, to take cooperative action to prevent illicit trafficking in nuclear, chemical or biological weapons, their means of delivery, and related materials.’” (pg.113)
  11. “The legality of an interdiction action must be examined on a case-by-case basis.” (pg.122)

Law, WMD, Law Enforcement, PSI, UNSCR 1540


Khurana, G.S., “Proliferation Security Initiative: An AssessmentStrategic Analysis, Vol. 28, no. 2, 2008.

  1. argues that PSI threatens free trade, arbitrary interdictions on the high seas, “based on narrow interests of a few powerful states”
  2. PSI as a supplement to other nonproliferation efforts

PSI, Nonproliferation


Kaliadin, Aleksandr, “In Search of an Effective Coercive Strategy to Deter Weapons of Mass Destruction,” Russian Social Science Review, Vol. 49, no. 2, March-April 2008, pp. 77-93.

  1. “The PSI (Proliferation Security Initiative) aims at keeping proliferators away from the materials necessary for developing WMDs and their delivery systems by monitoring the trade routes used for proliferation and intercepting suspicious cargoes.”
  2. “Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), believes that the ‘black market’ in nuclear technologies and materials has become a reality and exists outside the effective control of either the IAEA or the leading special services.”
  3. “(NPT) does not impose sanctions on member states …(BWC) also has no statement on sanctions …(CWC) were not designed to curb proliferation among nonstate structures.”
  4. “An essential flaw of the nonproliferation treaties is that they stipulate no mechanisms for the physical prevention of the activities they ban.”
  5. “The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced its decision to support the PSI on 31 May 2004, on its first anniversary.”
  6. “(UNSCR) Resolution 1540, …helps establish the necessary legal foundations for PSI-related activities. …its key statements and its messages are in line with PSI’s principles.”
  7. “During the first half of the year (2004) PSI participants conducted ten exercises: five at sea, three in the air, and two on the ground.”
  8. “The highly sensitive information on which PSI operations must be based will demand a qualitatively new (and unprecedented) level of cooperation between Russian and U.S. state agencies.”
  9. “Russian … first greeted the initiative (PSI) with restraint, even with skepticism and distrust.” {further discussion on Russian perspective excluded}
  10. “Russia faces complex challenges in balancing the requirements to promote WMD nonproliferation against the need to develop the nuclear and other branches of industry that manufacture and export dual-use goods and technologies and to reassess its regional geopolitical interests.”
  11. “It is vital to Russia’s interests that its strategic stability not be undermined by its neighbors acquiring nuclear arms while Russia is reducing its own strategic offensive weapons–for economic and technical reasons, among others.”

PSI, NPT, BWC, CWC, UNSCR 1540, Dual Use, WMD, Russia


Baumgartner, William, “UNCLOS Needed for America’s Security” Texas Review of Law & Politics, Spring 2008, Vol. 2 Issue 2, pages 445-451.

  1. “With the rising terrorist threats from nonstate actors, the importance of the Law of the Sea Convention has steadily increased.” Pg. 448
  2. “Far from impeding PSI, if we accede to the Law of the Sea Convention, it will help our PSI efforts. It will remove the invalid, incorrect, bogus argument that PSI is a renegade regime that flies in the face of international law.” Pg. 451
  3. “Our status as a nonparty to the Law of the Sea Convention hobbles our efforts to address these claims in an effective manner.” Pg. 447
  4. “The result, if we accede, is that there will be more partners, more intelligence, and more preemptive actions that will help to protect us from serious and significant threats.” Pg. 451
  5. “We will lock in important freedom-of-navigation rights and preserve the rights of our military to move freely throughout the world’s oceans and airspace.” Pg. 446
  6. “We need cooperative partners in an understood framework in order to combat these threats. Leadership in this area is a central element of our strategy for national security and our national strategy for maritime security.” Pg. 448



Moore, John, “UNCLOS Key to Increasing Navigational Freedom”, Texas Review of Law & Politics, Spring 2008, Vol. 12, Issue 2 PG. 459-467.

  1. “Nonadherence has reduced the voice of the United States of America, a terribly important voice in the world, and continued nonadherence will further reduce that voice on issues that are critical for us.” (pg. 462)
  2. “The issue is the entire Convention and our effort to protect the navigational freedom that we have been struggling for, over the past hundred years, and will continue to struggle for, in the next fifty years.” (pg. 464)
  3. “At stake in that debate was whether the United States was going to insist on all of our navigational rights, transit passage through, over, and under straits used for international navigation, or whether we would accept the advice of some that this was simply a nonnegotiable issue, and we should damp it down.” (pg.459)
  4. “The United States prevailed on all of the security provisions of the Convention— security provisions which were very much at stake in the negotiations.” (pg.460)
  5. “We fully preserved navigational freedom, including transit passage through, over, and under international straits.” (pg.460)
  6. “We extended United States’ resource jurisdiction into the oceans in an area larger than the entire land mass of the United States, and we insisted on assured access to seabed minerals for United States’ firms.” (pg.460)
  7. “This treaty was a great victory for the United States Navy and for navigational freedom and our security interests on the world’s oceans.” (pg. 461)
  8. “The United States was overwhelmingly the leader in this negotiation.” (pg. 460)
  9. “The Law of the Sea Convention and its negotiation remains one of the seminal negotiating successes of the United States throughout its history.” (pg. 460)

PSI, U.S. Foreign Policy, Jurisdiction


McNerney, Patricia A., “Conference on Global Perspectives of the Proliferation Landscape: An Assessment of Tools and Policy Problems” M2 PRESSWIRE, June 10, 2008.

  1. WMD’s as “the major security threat of the 21st century”
  2. challenge to get rid of the networks that supply these weapons
  3. challenge to interdict

WMD, PSI, UNSCR 1540, Nonproliferation


McNerney, Patricia, “United States Government Nonproliferation Priorities & AsiaSTATES NEWS SERVICE, July 1, 2008.

  1. increased trade in Asia leads to it being a target area for illicit trade
  2. UNSCR 1540- “strong global action to deny trade and financial support”
  3. PSI- “to stop shipments of equipment, material, and technology for WMD or delivery systems.”, interdiction

PSI, UNSCR 1540, Nonproliferation


Hayward, Mary Alice, “Proliferation Paths: Weak States, Rogues, & ActorsSCOOP INDEPENDENT NEWS, July 27, 2008.

  1. Global Threat Reduction Initiative- “to secure nuclear and radiological materials at civilia sites throughout the world in order to prevent them from falling into the hands of terrorists or other rogue actors.”
  2. UNSCR 1540- criminalizes proliferation, develops “capacity to fight proliferation”
  3. PSI- interdiction

PSI, UNSCR 1540, Nonproliferation


Riegel, Ralph and Phelan, Shane, “€500m Shipment Seized In Major ‘Sting’ Operation” 7 November 2008,–sting-operation-1526514.html Last Checked 28 October 2010.

  1. “A record haul of cocaine worth more than €500m was dramatically seized off the south-west coast yesterday in a sweeping international ‘sting’ operation.”
  2. “The ‘sting’ — dubbed Operation Seabight — had been co-ordinated by four international police forces, including the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) in the UK, and involved the yacht ‘Dances with Waves’ being tracked by satellites all the way across the Atlantic from the Caribbean.”
  3. “Three men — two Britons and a man travelling with Irish identity papers — were detained after a 60-foot yacht was stopped and boarded around 170 miles off the west Cork coast.”
  4. “The yacht was immediately ordered into Castletownbere in West Cork with a Naval Service escort.”
  5. “The vessel was due to arrive in the early hours of this morning and will immediately be cordoned off at an isolated pier outside Castletownbere pending a detailed forensic and technical examination.” *“The men can now be detained for up to seven days for questioning under drug trafficking regulations.”
  6. “Gardai said the operation, which had been ongoing for several weeks, also involved a number of foreign law enforcement agencies and used intelligence gathered by the Maritime Analysis and Operations Centre (MAOC) in Lisbon.”
  7. “Defence Minister Willie O’Dea hailed the seizure last night as a landmark success in the ongoing war against drugs — and a prime example of inter-service co-operation.”



Martin, Timothy, “Drawing Lines in the Sea“, U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, December 2008, Vol. 134 Issue 12, p58-62.

  1. “PSI is a cooperative although informal arrangement, without a formal treaty. All states party to this arrangement agreed to the 2003 Statement of Interdiction Principles (SIP), which gives guidance on the interception of vessels under accepted international law as laid out in the 1982 United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Participating states agree to abide by these principles, but the SIP does not authorize states to conduct interdictions at sea.”
  2. “Determining what cargo is ‘reasonably suspected’ is likely to be contestable, as many states reserve the right to ship military, nuclear, and other material by sea, and there is nothing in UNCLOS that specifically prohibits the transport of WMDs through international waters.”
  3. “To determine acceptable measures for law enforcement and interdiction in international waters requires that common perceptions exist regarding the level of threat, and that the national interests of states have been considered.”
  4. “Vessels registered or flagged to a particular state retain that state’s sovereign protection. So when authorities interdict a suspicious vessel, they must pay attention to these limitations, or risk being accused either of violating a foreign state’s territorial jurisdiction, or breaching international conventions on freedom of the seas.”
  5. “International agreements greatly accelerate the process by which law enforcement officials from one state can board suspect vessels flying the flag of another, especially when the flag state is unable to exercise control over the vessel due to its location or other factors, or maintain contact with suspect vessels entering national waters and airspace.”

PSI, Law Enforcement, WMD, Military


National Institute for Public Policy, “The Proliferation Security Initiative: A Model For Future International Collaboration,” 2009. Comparative Strategy, Volume 28, no. 5: 395-462.

  1. “one of the most important measures of PSI’s actual impact is its record of successful interdictions.”
  2. A former senior US gov’t official told the authors that PSI partners had conducted about 50 PSI interdictions–as of 2009
  3. BBC China incident — PSI “ensured that it happened as quickly, smoothly, and effectively as possible.”
  4.  PSI strengths: “enhances participants’ awareness of proliferation threat and their commitment to take action against it,” improves information sharing, develops counterproliferation capabilities
  5. Jean Francois-Rischard: 4 criteria of success by global issues networks = speed, redefining legitimacy on a global scale, diversity, and compatibility with traditional institutions
  6. PSI meets all of these criterion

PSI, Nonproliferation, WMD


Lee, Jeo-Hang, “Key Issues of PSI and Recent Developments,” THE KOREA HERALD, April 23, 2009.

  1. “PSI Statement of Interdiction Principles” – steps for effectively interdicting WMD shipments
  2. proliferation of a WMD deemed a threat to international peace and security
  3. UNCLOS- UN Convention of the Law of the Sea – “right of innocent passage” – have th right to sail through territorial seas as long as they carry “documents and observe precautionary measures detailed in international agreements.”
  4. Convention for Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Maritime Navigation
  5. Congress suggested in 2007 that “clear PSI authorities, responsibilities, and structures” be established.

PSI, Interdiction, Nonproliferation


Kerr, Simeon,  & Morris, Harvey, Financial Times, August 29, 2009, p. 4.

  1. “The United Arab Emirates has seized a ship secretly carrying embargoed North Korean arms to Iran, say diplomats.”
  2. ”The UAE reported the seizure to the UN sanctions committee responsible for vetting the implementation of measures, including an arms embargo, imposed against North Korea under Security Council resolution 1874…”
  3. ”A UN diplomat whose country is represented on the sanctions committee said the UAE reported the ship was carrying 10 containers of weapons and related items, including rocket-propelled grenades and ammunition. He said the consignment had been ordered by Iran’s TSS, a company said to be linked to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps and previously subject to international bans on importing weapons-related items.”
  4. ”The vessel, identified by diplomats as the Bahamian-flagged ANL-Australia, … The UN sanctions committee has written to the Iranian and North Korean governments pointing out that the shipment puts them in violation of UN resolution 1874.”
  5. ”The UN resolution, adopted following North Korea’s second nuclear test in May, extended an existing ban on the transfer of heavy weapons and nuclear and missile-related technology to cover all arms exports by Pyongyang.”
  6. ”The binding resolution authorises states to seize and dispose of items that break the embargo. The resolution also requires states to report to the committee on what action they are taking to implement sanctions.”
  7. ”While most focus is on dual-use technology, diplomats said the clampdown on public dissent after Iran’s contested elections had also raised concerns about supplies of arms to state-linked militias.”

United Arab Emirates, Iran, North KoreaUNSCR 1874, Dual Use, PSI


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