. The Global Initiative to Counter Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT) is a voluntary partnership of 88 countries and six international observer organizations that are committed to strengthening global capacity to prevent, direct, and respond to countering nuclear terrorism by conducting multilateral activities that strengthen the plans, policies, procedures, and interoperability of partner nations. The GICNT’s Response and Mitigation Working Group (RMWG) promotes a collaborative, sustainable counter nuclear terrorism culture through multilateral information sharing on counter nuclear terrorism response capabilities. This paper examines the vital importance of multilateral cooperation and coordination before, during, and after a nuclear terrorist attack. In addition, this paper highlights lessons learned and best practices from previous RMWG workshops. Lastly, this paper explains how sustainability is critical to the RMWG’s strategy in fostering a counter nuclear terrorism culture.
As the name suggests, the RMWG focuses on a response capabilities to a nuclear terrorist attack. In the past two years, the Working Group held six workshops with participants from over 50 countries and 3 organizations. Throughout the workshops, multilateral planning and preparation for a nuclear terrorist attack arose as a common theme. To facilitate response in a timely, appropriate manner in order to save countless lives, it is of paramount importance to properly prepare and establish networks within the international community to create a unified response. One mechanism for leveraging international partnerships and information exchange is through multilateral exercises and training; the workshop “Panda Warrior” is just one example of the RMWG’s work in this arena. The workshop, hosted by China, focused on multilateral preparations for major public events and discussed procedures for preventing and responding to a nuclear terrorist attack that if not prevented could cause mass casualties at the event.
The RMWG acts as a venue for partners to share standard operating procedures and best practices on coordination within the international community during a devastating terrorist attack; the Working Group also provides an opportunity for international organizations to identify the types and level of assistance they can provide. To this end, Argentina and Chile hosted a bilateral response exercise “Paihuen II” to identify the standard operating procedures for bilateral coordination. By understanding the types and procedures of international coordination and assistance, countries can ensure they receive the optimum amount of aid during a response.
International assistance extends beyond immediate response, and can further enhance capacity for investigation and prosecution of nuclear terrorist incidents. Through RMWG workshops, such as the regional “Valiant Eagle” workshop in Nigeria, countries and international organizations can discuss the international and national legal frameworks for prosecuting nuclear terrorist incidents. The RMWG events also provide a venue to share best practices for passing legal frameworks through their legal systems and operating procedures for prosecuting a terrorist incident across borders. In addition, international organizations, like INTERPOL and the IAEA, can discuss what investigative and legal assistance they can provide to a country. Through international cooperation and prosecution, countries can ensure terrorists are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, thus deterring further terrorists from committing this heinous crime.
Sustainability is as a crosscutting pillar of RMWG’s strategy. The RMWG strives to ensure all partner nations can implement RMWG’s workshop outcomes in their home countries. A major mechanism for sustainability is the RMWG exercise playbook, which allows countries to use past workshop exercises on a national basis, thus continuing the discussions of policy and best practices within their country. Another mechanism is RMWG’s Fundamentals for Establishing a Nuclear Security Response Frameworks document, which details the important mechanisms of a response strategy and explains how to create one.