"This report provides background and current status information on the regimes intended to limit the spread of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons and missiles. Weapons of mass destruction (WMD), especially in the hands of radical states and terrorists, represent a major threat to U.S. national security interests. Multilateral regimes were established to restrict trade in these goods and technologies and to monitor their civil applications. Congress may consider the efficacy of these regimes in consideration of the potential renewal of the Export Administration Act, as well as other proliferation-specific legislation in the 109th Congress. The nuclear nonproliferation regime encompasses several treaties, extensive multilateral and bilateral diplomatic agreements, multilateral organizations and domestic agencies, and the domestic laws of participating countries. Since the dawn of the nuclear age, U.S. leadership has played a decisive role in developing the regime. While the regime enjoys almost universal international agreement opposing the further spread of nuclear weapons, several challenges to it have arisen in recent years: India and Pakistan tested nuclear weapons in 1998; North Korea withdrew from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) in 2003; and Pakistani scientists sold nuclear technology illicitly to Iran, North Korea, and Libya. Efforts are underway to strengthen national controls on nuclear exports and coordinate interdiction efforts multilaterally."
CRS Report for Congress, RL31559