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International Project Receives Strong Federal Support to Stem WMD Proliferation through Enhanced Trade Controls

Bryan Early, of the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy. (Photo by Mark Schmidt)

ALBANY, N.Y. (December 16, 2013) — The Project on International Security, Commerce, and Economic Statecraft (PISCES), directed by UAlbany political scientist Bryan Early, received significant expansion of its U.S. State Department funding in 2013 to aid countries that seek more stringent controls on their international commerce related to conventional arms and weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

The nearly $600,000 in State Department grants will support PISCES projects in Kazakhstan, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and the western Balkan countries of Montenegro, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia and Serbia. The awards build on previously funded PISCES projects, totaling approximately $1.75 million, which the group has used to provide strategic trade control assistance to countries in South America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.

"As part of our outreach efforts, our PISCES team works to help governments around the world better regulate their international commerce to ensure it does not contribute to other countries' or non-state actors' efforts to acquire WMDs," said Early, an assistant professor in UAlbany’s Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy. PISCES is part of the College’s Center for Policy Research.

The variety of initiatives Early and his four-member team of research fellows at PISCES direct in their latest projects include:

  • Consulting with governments on how they can best develop Strategic Trade Control (STC) legislation;
  • Conducting STC seminars to forge cooperation among national governments and their industries;
Bryan Early and PISCES

Bryan Early (back left) and the Project on International Security, Commerce, and Economic Statecraft team of research fellows: upper right, Jay P. Nash, and below, left to right, Richard Glen Young, Lara Howe and Ryan Cathie.

  • Providing STC officials in several nations with fundamental understanding of the U.S. European Union, and international norms regarding what Early called “a cross-section of international economic and security issues, including the proliferation of strategic technologies, economic sanctions, and strategic trade controls;" and
  • Holding training sessions with a nation’s industries to help them recognize the importance of their compliance with national and international nonproliferation obligations.

A major goal of PISCES, whose research and outreach on policy issues intersect the realms of economics and security, is to help nations avoid regional and global threats. These could arise when, for instance, industries in a nation transfer dual-use chemicals or chemical production equipment to end-users that might seek to employ them in creating chemical weapons.

Early’s expertise on economic sanctions, the proliferation of nuclear and aerospace technology, and the use of STCs as tools of economic statecraft have taken him around the world. His work with his PISCES team has demonstrated that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to the challenge of WMD proliferation.

“We draw on our academic and legal knowledge, our skills as policy analysts, and our practical understanding of the political systems of the countries with which we work,” he said. “The overall aim is help nations enhance their systems of control over potentially dangerous goods and technologies.”


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