Disarmament DiplomacyIssue No. 24, March 1998
Non-Proliferation Technology ExhibitionOn 9 March, an exhibition entitled Technology for Non-Proliferation: Making the World a Safer Place opened on Capitol Hill, Washington. The exhibition has been organised by the Senate Proliferation Prevention Technology Working Group, the House Bipartisan Non-Proliferation Task Force, and the Department of Energy's Office on Non-Proliferation and National Security. Exhibits included already operational technology, such as radiation detection devices used by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA); technology planned for use, such as the Fast On-Orbit Recording of Events satellite which would be used to help verify compliance with the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty; and more experimental technology, such as a Spatial Paradigm for Information Retrieval and Exploration computer software programme which could be used to thwart the illicit trading and importation of nuclear materials, and a heartbeat detector for discovering intruders ("with this system." according to Energy Secretary Federico Pena on 9 March, "it would be virtually impossible for a terrorist to make unauthorised entry to a site where nuclear, chemical or biological materials were stored by hiding in a vehicle"). Overall, over 35 systems were on show, many requiring increased or renewed research-and-development funding.
Members of Congress from both parties gave their strong approval to the effort represented by the exhibition. According to Representative Edward Muskey (Democrat - Massachusetts), speaking on 11 March:
"We have to keep the pressure on to ensure that we focus upon this great threat not only to populations around the world but the American people as well... The one thing that we should all agree on is that non-proliferation is the single highest foreign policy objective of the United States..."
Speaking the same day, Republican Senator Dirk Kempthorne (Idaho) concurred: "As we have seen so vividly with recent events in Iraq, the spread of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons is a real and growing threat to the United States."
Reports: High-tech weaponry demonstrated for Congress, Reuters, 10 March; Pena, members of Congress laud non-proliferation efforts, United States Information Service, 11 March.
© 1998 The Acronym Institute.