Institute for Science and International Security
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|Predominantly United States of America|
The Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) is a nonprofit, non-governmental institution to inform the public about "science and policy issues affecting international security." Founded in 1993, the group is led by founder and former United Nations IAEA nuclear inspector David Albright. ISIS was founded on a belief that scientists have an obligation to participate actively in solving major problems of national and international security. ISIS focuses primarily on four parts: 1) prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and related technology to other nations and terrorists, 2) lead to greater transparency of nuclear activities worldwide, 3) reinforce the international non-proliferation regime, and 4) cut down nuclear arsenals. Furthermore, ISIS seeks to build stable foundations for various efforts to reduce the threat posed by nuclear weapons to U.S. and international security by integrating technical, scientific and policy research. As the effectiveness of ISIS was appreciated and recognized in the Global “Go-To Think Tanks” rankings, ISIS consistently places in the top 25 Science and Technology Think Tanks in the world and in 2015 placed as one of the top United States and foreign policy think tanks in the world.[promotional language]
Board and funding
ISIS's board consists of the following members:
- David Albright - Chairman/President
- Michael Rietz - Treasurer, Lawyer, private practice
- Houston Wood - University of Virginia
- Steven Aftergood - Federation of American Scientists
- Laura Rockwood - Vienna Center for Disarmament and Nonproliferation
ISIS has been funded by: Ploughshares Fund, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, Colombe Foundation, New-Land Foundation, The Prospect Hill Foundation, United States Institute of Peace, The International Atomic Energy Agency, Ford Foundation, The Scherman Foundation, Smith Richardson Foundation, Compton Foundation, The Stanley Foundation, The John Merck Fund, The Rockefeller Foundation, The Rockefeller Brothers Fund, W. Alton Jones Foundation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, United States Department of Energy
ISIS's staff consists of the following people:
- David Albright – President and Founder of ISIS
- Andrea Stricker – Senior Policy Analyst
- Serena Kelleher-Vergantini – Research Analyst
Research Fellows, Interning Research Associates, Technical Consultants
Focus and analysis
The institute regularly publishes technical analyses of nuclear proliferation programs by examining technical data and satellite imagery. ISIS is cited in non-proliferation circles and in international media regarding its analysis. The majority of the current material produced by ISIS is focused on the analysis and monitoring of the nuclear programs of North Korea, Iran, Pakistan, Syria, and cases of worldwide illicit nuclear trade.
In August 1991, David Albright and Mark Hibbs, writing for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists wrote that there were many technological challenges unsolved with Iraq's nuclear program. Albright and Hibbs wrote that Iraq's nuclear program "was so primitive that the international sanctions put in place after the August 2 invasion may have had more substantive effect than the tons of bombs dropped by U.S. and allied planes five months later".
In an October 2002 posting ISIS published a report which said "One of the most significant accomplishments of the intrusive inspections mandated by UN Security Council in 1991 is that Iraq is not believed to have nuclear weapons now. This single accomplishment demonstrates both the power and value of intrusive nuclear inspections in Iraq." The report further argued that "the nuclear inspection process provided a powerful deterrent against Iraq reconstituting its nuclear weapons program until inspectors left in late 1998."
ISIS has been following since the 1990s the circumstances surrounding the Iranian nuclear program and has created a website dedicated to informing readers about the history of Iran's nuclear program and facilities, providing IAEA reports, providing information about diplomatic efforts, and providing ISIS technical assessments.[promotional language]
A June 2009 posting on ISIS argued that "we do know that a lasting, military solution to Iran’s nuclear program is not realistic. This leaves diplomacy as the best route to bring about a suspension of Iran’s uranium enrichment program, regardless of who holds Iran’s presidency."
On October 2, 2009 ISIS posted a subject to revision working document by IAEA safeguards experts which it described as an "Internal IAEA Document on Alleged Iranian Nuclear Weaponization". The document led media to report that Iran has tested a two-point implosion design. Gordon Oehler, who ran the CIA’s nonproliferation center and served as deputy director of the presidential commission on weapons of mass destruction, wrote “if someone has a good idea for a missile program, and he has really good connections, he’ll get that program through.. But that doesn’t mean there is a master plan for a nuclear weapon.” Outside experts noted that the parts of the report made public lack many dates associated with Iran's alleged activities. The Washington Post reported that "nowhere are there construction orders, payment invoices, or more than a handful of names and locations possibly connected to the projects." Former IAEA Director Mohamed ElBaradei said the Agency didn't have any information that nuclear material has been used and didn't have any information that any components of nuclear weapons had been manufactured. Iran asserted that the documents were a fabrication, while the IAEA urged Iran to be more cooperative and Member States to provide more information about the allegations to be shared with Iran.
In December 2009, the conservative-leaning The Times, working with ISIS analysis, claimed that a document from an unnamed Asian intelligence agency described the use of a neutron source which has no use other than in a nuclear weapon, and claimed the document appeared to be from an office in Iran's Defense Ministry and may have been from around 2007. The Institute for Science and International Security, said that it “urges caution and further assessment” of the document and noted that "the document does not mention nuclear weapons .. and we have seen no evidence of an Iranian decision to build them.” Western intelligence agencies did not give any authentication to the document, while Russia noted that though the IAEA is in possession of these documents, the IAEA's findings "do not contain any conclusions about the presence of undeclared nuclear activities in Iran." In response to allegations that the document was forged from Iran and some within the United States, Albright said ISIS felt "that this document does need to be authenticated, and we welcome a debate and actually a collecting [of] information from people, people who've done linguistic analysis, inside information".
In a January 28, 2010 report, ISIS found: "There remain sound reasons to suspect that the military regime in Burma might be pursuing a long-term strategy to make nuclear weapons. Despite the public reports to the contrary, the military junta does not appear to be close to establishing a significant nuclear capability. Information suggesting the construction of major nuclear facilities appears unreliable or inconclusive." During an ASEAN meeting in Thailand in July 2009, US secretary of state Hillary Clinton highlighted concerns of the North Korean link. "We know there are also growing concerns about military cooperation between North Korea and Burma which we take very seriously," Clinton said.
Reception to ISIS
In 2006, David Albright received the prestigious Joseph A. Burton Forum Award from the American Physical Society, a professional society of American physicists. He was cited for "his tireless and productive efforts to slow the transfer of nuclear weapons technology. He brings a unique combination of deep understanding, objectivity, and effectiveness to this vexed area.”[promotional language]
- "Institute for Science and International Security: About ISIS". Isis-online.org. Retrieved November 30, 2011.
- "Institute for Science and International Security: Staff". Isis-online.org. Retrieved November 30, 2011.
- "Institute for Science and International Security: About ISIS". Isis-online.org. Retrieved September 24, 2013.
- "Institute for Science and International Security: ISIS Board". Isis-online.org. Retrieved November 30, 2011.
- "Institute for Science and International Security " About " ISIS Funders". Isis-online.org. Retrieved 2011-09-21.
- "Institute for Science and International Security: ISIS Principal Staff". Isis-online.org. Retrieved November 30, 2011.
- "ISIS Website". Isis-online.org. Retrieved November 30, 2011.
- Albright, David; Mark Hibbs (March 1991). "Iraq and the bomb: Were they even close?". Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. 47 (2): 16–25. Retrieved 2009-08-04.
- "Institute for Science and International Security: Intrusive Inspections in the 1990s Means Iraq Lacks a Nuclear Arsenal Now". Isis-online.org. October 7, 2002. Retrieved November 30, 2011.
- "Institute for Science and International Security". ISISNuclearIran. Retrieved November 30, 2011.
- "Institute for Science and International Security: Beware the neocon agenda for Iran". Isisnucleariran.org. Archived from the original on August 3, 2012. Retrieved November 30, 2011.
- "Institute for Science and International Security: Excerpts from Internal IAEA Document on Alleged Iranian Nuclear Weaponization" (PDF). Retrieved November 30, 2011.
- Julian Borger, diplomatic editor (November 5, 2009). "''The Guardian'': Iran tested advanced nuclear warhead design – secret report". The Guardian. UK. Retrieved November 30, 2011.
- "Iran Dope Arms Control Wonk: Concerns RV Not Warhead". Armscontrolwonk.com. Retrieved November 30, 2011.
- Christian Science Monitor: Iran's nuclear disclosures: why they matter Archived October 20, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
- Linzer, Dafna (February 8, 2006). "''Washington Post'': Strong Leads and Dead Ends in Nuclear Case Against Iran". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 30, 2011.
- International Atomic Energy Agency: Transcript of the IAEA Director General's Remarks at the Joint Press Conference with the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, October 4, 2009[dead link]
- "Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and relevant provisions of Security Council resolutions 1737 (2006), 1747 (2007), 1803 (2008), and 1835 (2008) in the Islamic Republic of Iran" (PDF). Retrieved November 30, 2011.
- Special to the New York Times (March 18, 1982). "''The New York Times'': New Editor Takes Over At Times of London". The New York Times. Great Britain; London (Eng). Retrieved November 30, 2011.
- "Voting Intention by Newspaper Readership". Ipsos Public Affairs. Retrieved November 30, 2011.[permanent dead link]
- Roland Watson and Sam Fleming (June 25, 2009). "Secret document exposes Iran's nuclear trigger". The Times. UK. Retrieved November 30, 2011.
- "Document Sparks New Concerns About a Nuclear Iran". National Public Radio. December 17, 2009. Retrieved November 30, 2011.
- Broad, William J. (December 15, 2009). "Spy Agencies Are Puzzled by Nuclear Memo in Persian". The New York Times. Iran. Retrieved November 30, 2011.
- "Secret documents on Iran must be verified: Russia's representative to IAEA | Politics | Trend". En.trend.az. December 25, 2009. Retrieved 2011-09-21.
- "U.S. Intelligence Found Iran Nuke Document Was Forged". Inter Press Service. Archived from the original on December 28, 2011. Retrieved November 30, 2011.
- "Diane Sawyer Interviews Iranian President Ahmadinejad". ABC News. December 22, 2009. Retrieved November 30, 2011.
- "Interview: Nuclear Expert Believes Iran Likely Wants Kazakh Uranium For Civil Purposes". Radio Free Europe. Retrieved November 30, 2011.
- "Burma: A Nuclear Wannabe; Suspicious Links to North Korea; High-Tech Procurements and Enigmatic Facilities". Institute for Science and International Security. Retrieved November 30, 2011.
- "Myanmar building nuke reactor, says media report". The Times of India, August 2, 2009.
- Gregg Sangillo and Mark Kukis (May 25, 2004). "The Experts: Weapons Threat Nuclear, and Other, Worries". National Journal. Archived from the original on January 29, 2013. Retrieved August 26, 2012.
- "2006 Joseph A. Burton Forum Award Recipient". American Physical Society. July 27, 2011. Retrieved November 30, 2011.