The demise of bipolarity created new security concerns for the United States. Terrorism now thrives in the new world environment. While much has been written on terrorism, the specter of nuclear terrorism in the United States has received little attention. Nuclear terrorism cannot be looked at through the traditional nuclear weapons paradigm nor can it be viewed within the confines of traditional terrorism paradigm. There are currently two perspectives of nuclear terrorism: the optimists, who do not see it as a threat, and the pessimists, who see it as inevitable. Each view has its merits but neither alone can explain this security concern. Merging of the two views is required to understand the motivational considerations behind this potentially horrific problem. A brief history of U.S. policies on nuclear weapons and terrorism is offered to explain why there has not been a U.S. policy on nuclear terrorism. A better understanding of the nuclear terrorist mindset is required if effective policies are to be developed.
Naval Postgraduate School, Dudley Knox Library: http://www.nps.edu/Library/index.aspx