What happens when nuclear-armed states face internal revolt? Jenkins analyzes the consequences.
SAN JOSE, Calif.
April 8, 2013
's escalating civil war has raised concerns about the security of the country's arsenal of chemical weapons. The Pentagon reportedly has secret plans to secure
's nuclear weapons against terrorists, a jihadist coup, or civil war. It also has conducted war games to explore how it might try to secure
's nuclear arsenal in case of a coup or collapse of the regime. Against this worrisome backdrop, international counterterrorism authority Brian Michael Jenkins, director of the
Mineta Transportation Institute
's Transportation Safety and Security Center, has released a new eBook,
When Armies Divide.
It is available for download at Amazon.com
and the Apple iBookstore
When Armies Divide
addresses the security of nuclear weapons during revolts, coups, and civil wars. To identify the dilemmas and decisions governments would face if rebels or disloyal military commanders threatened to seize control of nuclear weapons, Jenkins uses a real-life case as a platform to raise broader questions of current relevance.
A real-life case forms the basis.
was testing nuclear weapons at its Sahara test site in southern
, an unusual situation to begin with, since French forces were at the same time engaged in a bloody war against Algerian nationalist guerrillas seeking independence. The first three nuclear tests went well, but the final preparations for the fourth test coincided with a rebellion by commanders of the French forces in
who were determined to keep Algeria French. They feared that French President de Gaulle, in order to end the costly conflict, was about to betray their cause.
At the outset of the uprising, the leader of the revolt called the general commanding the test site, telling him, "Do not detonate the small bomb. Keep it for us. It may be useful." While the rebellious generals tried to consolidate their control in
pushed for the test to be conducted as scheduled. And it was, although with disappointing results, leading some to suggest that the test had been deliberately scuttled to ensure that the rebels could not get their hands on the device.
Mr. Jenkins believes that the possibility of similar circumstances arising today is not so far-fetched, given the history of political upheavals in the
, and other nations. Although nuclear weapons (or their potential components) did not fall into dangerous hands in any of these cases, they could be at peril in future episodes.
An event today would be different.
In 1961, the French army's revolt was viewed as an internal matter for
. Few even knew about the potential threat to the nuclear test. A similar event today would be very different. A seizure of power by generals in
or a military revolt in
or some future nuclear-armed state could create a major international crisis. Pressures to intervene would mount swiftly, but success, Mr. Jenkins concludes, would be a long shot. The consequences of missing nukes could also have profound consequences, including ratcheting up repression.
In a commentary added to the book,
Stephen J. Lukasik
, a former director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, notes that nuclear crises like the one described by Mr. Jenkins have been repeated in various contexts many times over. "A tribute to the human spirit, or perhaps simply hubris," Mr. Lukasik writes, "is the belief that crises are subject to 'management.'"
A second addition to
When Armies Divide
is the remarkable personal recollections of
, who, as Coordinator for Intelligence for the prime minister of
from 1959 to 1962, played a key role in the events described in the publication. Mr. Melnik's candid memoir offers an unvarnished firsthand account of the panic, disarray, suspicion, and chaos that prevailed in
during the revolt.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Brian Michael Jenkins
is an international authority on terrorism and sophisticated crime. He directs the Mineta Transportation Institute's research on protecting surface transportation against terrorist attacks. He is also a senior advisor to the president of the RAND Corporation and, from 1989-1998, was deputy chairman of Kroll Associates. Before that, he was chairman of RAND's Political Science Department. He holds a BA in fine arts and a Masters degree in history, both from
. He also studied in
and was a Fulbright Fellow in
, where he received an additional fellowship from the Organization of American States. A captain in the Army Special Forces, Jenkins is a decorated combat veteran with service in both
and Vietnam. He has authored numerous articles, reports, and books, including
Will Terrorists Go Nuclear?
For more information about the author and his publications, visit
ABOUT THE MINETA TRANSPORTATION INSTITUTE
The Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) conducts research, education, and information and technology transfer, focusing on multimodal surface transportation policy and management issues, especially as they relate to transit. MTI was established by Congress in 1991 as part of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) and was reauthorized under TEA-21 and again under SAFETEA-LU. The Institute has been funded by Congress through the U.S. Department of Transportation's (DOT) Research and Innovative Technology Administration, by the California Legislature through the Department of Transportation (Caltrans), and by other public and private grants and donations, including grants from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. DOT selected MTI as a National Center of Excellence following competitions in 2002 and 2006. The internationally respected members of the MTI Board of Trustees represent all major surface transportation modes. MTI's focus on policy and management resulted from the Board's assessment of the transportation industry's unmet needs. That led directly to choosing the
San Jose State University
College of Business as the Institute's home. Visit
MTI Communications Director831-234-4009donna.maurillo (at) sjsu.edu
SOURCE Mineta Transportation Institute