"Every senior leader, when you're asked what keeps you awake at night, it's the thought of a terrorist ending up with a weapon of mass destruction, especially nuclear."
-Robert Gates, Former U.S. Secretary of Defense
The threat of nuclear materials falling into the wrong hands is often overlooked, but it remains a present danger...
Boko Haram and ISIL have operated in or near countries that have, or are considering nuclear power.
Although most civilian nuclear facilities do not possess materials that can be made directly into improvised nuclear devices, some still do.
Leadership from both parties in the United States, and around the globe, have long understood the dangers posed by the spread of nuclear materials. At the urging of President Obama, dozens of world leaders attended four Nuclear Security Summits that took place from 2010-2016.
At these summits, political commitments were made and fulfilled, marking important gains in reducing stocks of fissile materials and increasing security, with a focus on nuclear material not under military control.
Industry and NGOs held parallel summits to demonstrate their commitment towards securing nuclear materials along with their respective governments.
But since the Nuclear Security Summits concluded, momentum to prevent nuclear terrorism has waned.
While states, industry, and civil society committed to preserving the work undertaken at the summits, it remains unclear how post-summit progress will be sustained.
Summit commitments are being fulfilled by countries in a national capacity or through bilateral partnerships, but there is no longer a central political mechanism to provide ongoing momentum to ensure that efforts are coordinated in the future.
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