AMMAN, Jordan, May 18, 2017 — Fancy bikes. Professional golf clubs. Fertilizer. On the surface, these items seem relatively harmless. However, they all contain “dual-use material” such as carbon fiber or explosive chemicals that can be used to build weapons of mass destruction. While the manufacturers of these items have no intention of building WMD or missiles, it is incumbent upon all nations to have processes and procedures in place that allow them to ensure that nefarious actors cannot acquire or use dual-use materials for dangerous purposes.
This is where the Proliferation Security Initiative comes in. This initiative, which started in 2003, is a response to the serious challenge posed by the proliferation of WMD, their delivery systems and related materials worldwide. The PSI builds on efforts by the international community to prevent proliferation of such items, including existing treaties, United Nations Security Council Resolutions and regimes. Jordan is one of 105 countries to endorse the PSI Statement of Interdiction Principles and to participate in the global effort to stop the trafficking of WMD, their delivery systems and related materials.
Eager Lion 2017
PSI endorsers agree to interdict WMD-related materials if they are transited through their territory. From May 9-11, during Exercise Eager Lion 2017, the United States and Jordan participated in a capacity-building workshop to discuss interdiction principles and the goals of interdiction. The tabletop discussion also covered a framework for strengthening counterproliferation capabilities and the ability to provide a more flexible approach to stopping WMD proliferation to meet today’s evolving threat environment.
“Jordan has been a leader in preparing to mitigate today’s threats stemming from chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear weapons, and ensuring that they are postured to protect their citizens and the broader region,” said Andrea Yaffe, director of transnational threats from the U.S. Office of the Secretary of Defense. “Our work together these last few days through the PSI was intended to help them develop another national security tool – ensuring that their government is prepared to prevent the proliferation of WMD-related materials through their territory, even if there is not an imminent threat to Jordan.”
The objectives for the PSI Workshop were to:
— Examine national and international legal authorities available during interdiction opportunities;
— Identify opportunities to strengthen national legal authorities;
— Exercise whole-of-government decision-making under compressed timelines;
— Discuss challenges in preventing WMD proliferation when only limited and/or ambiguous information is available;
— Demonstrate the benefits of cooperation with partners in support of the PSI Statement of Interdiction Principles; and
— Consider Jordan’s role in implementing relevant U.N. Security Council Resolutions.
Activities like this strengthen interoperability among PSI endorsing nations and can impart useful skills and experience relevant to interdiction, officials said.
The initiative heightened awareness of proliferation threats, making the proliferation of WMD increasingly difficult, they noted, adding that the intent of these PSI engagements is to increase traffickers’ operational costs and the risks associated with trafficking prohibited items. These engagements also help to improve the interdiction capacity of, and cooperation among, PSI endorsers, they said.
First U.S.-Jordanian PDI Engagement
Jordan has participated in multilateral PSI engagements in the region in the past, but this was the first bilateral U.S.-Jordan PSI engagement. Both countries recognized the continued and evolving threats from the proliferation of WMD and related materials, and committed to remain postured to interdict dangerous materials if opportunities arise.
“We are stronger when we confront these threats together, and the PSI is an important example of that cooperation,” said Brig. Gen. Amjad B. Al Rudaini, chief of planning and defense requirements for the Jordanian armed forces.