Profit-Minded Suppliers: The WMD Pathways and Combating Convergence

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CTC Sentinel
Knowledge, materials, infrastructure, personnel, finances, and lines of communications are all components of both a weapons of mass destruction (WMD) proliferation network and an improvised explosive device (IED) facilitation network. Convergence describes occasions when profit-minded suppliers of an IED facilitation network use their transnational linkages to proliferate the critical components for WMD development and facilitate their employment by non-state actors. Convergence, however, does not necessarily lead immediately to a non-state actor possessing a WMD. There are several gaps that must be overcome that are dependent on the type of WMD involved and its delivery mechanism. Upon examining the risk associated with convergence of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons networks, it is unlikely that profit-minded suppliers will be able to overcome the acquisition hurdles for obtaining the special nuclear material required to make a nuclear device. Convergence will, however, assist non-state actors in developing and employing biological and chemical weapons of minimal complexity, with its biggest contribution likely in propagating raw materials and knowledge similar to current IED proliferation. Combating the convergence of WMD and IED networks is difficult because much of the critical material and information required for the development of a WMD is not illegal.
improvised explosive device (IED), weapons of mass destruction (WMD)
Stephen Hummel, Douglas McNair, F. John Burpo, and James Bonner. "Profit-Minded Suppliers: The WMD Pathways and Combating Convergence". CTC Sentinel, 2019.