Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Weapons and Missiles: Status and Trends [Updated February 20, 2008] [open pdf - 193KB]
"The United States has long recognized the dangers inherent in the spread of nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) weapons, and missiles. This report, which analyzes NBC weapons programs potential threat patterns around the globe, is updated as needed. The total number of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons in the world is shrinking as the major powers scale back their inventories through unilateral reductions and arms control, but other countries and groups still try to acquire these weapons. There are five established nuclear weapon states (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States). India and Pakistan declared their nuclear weapons capability with nuclear tests in 1998, as did North Korea in 2006. Israel is also widely believed to have a nuclear weapon arsenal. About a dozen countries have offensive biological weapons (BW) programs, and the same number have chemical weapons (CW) programs. That number could grow, as new technologies are developed and the international flow of information, goods, expertise, and technology continues. […]. The number of countries or groups that will acquire or produce NBC weapons may decrease if diplomacy, arms control treaties, nonproliferation regimes, and security and assistance strategies are effective. NBC weapons and missiles will remain a potential threat for the foreseeable future, but most observers readily agree that, even if nonproliferation policies alone are insufficient to halt NBC programs, such measures can slow those programs until states are persuaded that NBC weapons are not in their national security interest."
CRS Report for Congress, RL30699