Network Science Analysis for Nonproliferation Likelihood


D. Sweeney, J. Kornell, “Network Science Analysis for Nonproliferation Likelihood” Annual Meeting of Institute of Nuclear Materials Management (INMM), Indian Wells, CA, USA, 12-15 July 2015.

The dynamics of nuclear weapons proliferation are not yet fully understood. This may be due in part to a lack of understanding of the countervailing drivers of nonproliferation. Early studies have correlated a lack of global economic integration and lack of super powers alliances with a greater likelihood of proliferation. More recent studies have revealed that the inverse is also true: positive relationships and strong ties with states that value nonproliferation indicate a decreased proliferation likelihood. These results suggest that nonproliferation motivation may be spread through international relations as a counter to proliferation motivations. Quantification of the ability to spread nonproliferation motivation could further develop the understanding of the dynamics of nuclear weapons proliferation and support nonproliferation policy development. It is possible to characterize states’ international relationships through network science. This type of analysis may provide a technical means to quantify the dynamics of nonproliferation motivations and impact on nonproliferation likelihood. This paper examines the extent that nonproliferation influences and motivation can be characterized through network science parameters.


Safeguards Hardware and Software Regulation


E. Katzenson, J. Kornell, “Safeguards Hardware and Software Regulation” Annual Meeting of Institute of Nuclear Materials Management (INMM), Atlanta, GA, USA, 24-28 July 2016.

Nuclear processing equipment relies on complex hardware and software. Software can be altered both by elements internal to the originating group and by externally-sourced insertions. Though discussed less, hardware can be hacked or altered in ways that are difficult to detect, either from within the manufacturer or by covert interdiction and modification. These are widely-acknowledged safeguards concerns. While barriers to greater transparency often come from national interests, some derive from manufacturers’ intellectual property protections. Short of full open source for both hardware and software, a good model of close regulation that nonetheless protects the proprietary interests of the manufacturer can be found in an unexpected place: Las Vegas slot machines. Five aspects of gaming machine regulation are of particular interest to safeguards: (a) all software is on file and any variation from the filed software is cause for immediate shutdown; (b) all computing hardware, including embedded processing chips, is on file, and similarly, variations in hardware are cause for shutdown and investigation; (c) equipment certification is done independently of the manufacturer, with no financial or other influence from the manufacturer on the regulatory procedures or results; (d) regulatory monitoring is constant and adequately funded, so inspections can occur at any time; and (e) the cultural bias is strongly toward clean and transparent operation, so regulators do not hesitate to order stops when justified by evidence. While the scale of the software and computing hardware for nuclear processing and verification is different, the need for commercial manufacturers to protect their proprietary systems can be reconciled both with the need for regulatory control and with the ability to quickly identify and isolate cyber attacks.

Quantifying Correlations between International Relations and Nuclear Proliferation Status


N. Mahowald, B.L. Goldblum, T. Hickey, J. Kornell, “Quantifying Correlations between International Relations and Nuclear Proliferation Status” ANS Topical Meeting: Advances in Nuclear Nonproliferation Technology and Policy Conference (ANTPC), Santa Fe, NM, USA, 25-30 September 2016.

The spread of nuclear weapons remains a grave concern. Unfortunately, the influence of political and economic relations on nuclear proliferation is not well understood, and is further complicated by complex interplay between internal and external factors. Here, we present a new method for quantifying correlations between international relations and proliferation. This work builds on quantitative political science investigations of the relationships between proliferation and alliances, macroeconomic ties, conflicts, and nuclear cooperation agreements (NCAs).

Informational Sensing for Nonproliferation


J. Kornell, Z.N. Gastelum, B.L. Goldblum, “Informational Sensing for Nonproliferation” ANS Topical Meeting: Advances in Nuclear Nonproliferation Technology and Policy Conference (ANTPC), Santa Fe, NM, USA, 25-30 September 2016.

Verifying nuclear nonproliferation is difficult, in that the goal is to continually confirm the absence of undeclared nuclear materials and activities, to say with high confidence that what we don’t see doesn’t exist. The nuclear security community has largely relied on physical sensing for detection of potential clandestine activity. There are many kinds of information that could complement physical sensing, including open source data, publicly available images produced by commercial or scientific satellites, networked sensors, various societal verification tools, quantitative political science datasets, and social media.