Middlebury Institute of International Studies
April 2020
CNS Receives USGIF 2020 Award
The James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies received the 2020 Academic Achievement Award from the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF) for its work identifying preparations for a North Korea missile engine test.

“The 2020 USGIF Awardees reflect the importance and the significance of the outstanding work that occurs daily in the GEOINT community. You will see how the GEOINT community always rises to the occasion to face head on the world’s toughest problems and this year is no exception,” said Kevin Jackson, chair of the USGIF Awards Subcommittee.

“We are honored to be recognized by USGIF for our cutting-edge work applying geospatial analysis to global nonproliferation challenges,” said CNS Deputy Director Jessica C. Varnum. “Our work in this area receives invaluable support from our corporate partners, and in this specific case our team led by Dr. Jeffrey Lewis benefitted enormously from CNS partner Planet’s timely imagery of the North Korean site in question.”
Planet imagery powered by Ceros
Assessing Fire Damage Near Chernobyl
Just weeks before the 34th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, fires broke out throughout Ukraine's "Exclusion Zone," the 19-mile-wide uninhabited zone surrounding the shut-down plant.

With differing reports emerging about the safety and possible radiation release caused by the fire, CNS analysts used satellite imagery to analyze and assess the damage to the Exclusion Zone's critical infrastructure.

The CNS team used imagery from our corporate partner Planet collected with a near-infrared data band, and published its findings using an interactive tool powered by Ceros.
Dual Use in the DPRK
CNS Occasional Paper #47, " Dual Use in the DPRK: Uranium Extraction from Phosphate Fertilizer Factories," examines the under-studied process of extracting uranium from the production of phosphoric acid as a possible—even probable—pathway for North Korea.

"There is ample rationale for the DPRK to pursue this method of uranium extraction," writes report author Margaret Croy. "The dual usage of existing infrastructure would both conceal the activity and make it more difficult for international audiences to positively identify and condemn. The DPRK certainly needs fertilizer, and the information on how to extract uranium from its production is readily available. Lastly, this method of yellowcake production embodies the policy of byungjin—parallel nuclear-weapon development and economic expansion—a hallmark of Kim Jong Un’s strategy."

Croy's findings were reported in Newsweek, Voice of America, and Radio Free Asia .
Russia, US, China Should Work Together against Bio Threats
Dr. Richard Pilch, director of the Chemical and Biological Weapons Nonproliferation Program, spoke with journalist Tatyana Kanunnikova at the Russian International Affairs Council about the prospects for international cooperation in the field of biological weapons and pandemics.

Dr. Pilch also discussed his previous work on global health threats as part of a joint Russia-US program established in the wake of the September 11, 2001, attacks. COVID-19 could potentially reinvigorate that relationship by providing a much-needed opportunity to work together based on transparency and trust, and on our shared role as leaders of the global community.

This article is included in our World War "V" portal , a collection of resources dedicated to expert analysis on the COVID-19 pandemic. Subscribe here to receive weekly updates from World War "V."
VCDNP Educational Outreach During COVID-19
On Monday, April 20, 2020, VCDNP Executive Director Elena Sokova , Senior Fellow Dr. Nikolai Sokov, and Research Associate Noah Mayhew met virtually with 25 students from the Erasmus Mundus  MA in Public Policy  (MAPP) program, a consortium including the University of York (UK), Central European University (Budapest), Institut Barcelona D’Estudis Internacionals (Barcelona) and the Institute of Social Studies (The Hague).

Each year, first-year students of the MAPP program visit a hub of international policy and this year they planned to come to Vienna to meet with key international organizations and leading think tanks, including the VCDNP. VCDNP experts meet on a regular basis with student groups to discuss the Center’s activities, as well as pressing nonproliferation and disarmament issues facing the international community.
Open Skies Treaty: Options in Case of US Withdrawal
Recent reports indicate that the United States is preparing to withdraw from the 1992 Open Skies Treaty, a major confidence-building measures that ensures a high degree of transparency regarding military activities in Europe and North America.

VCDNP Senior Fellow Dr. Nikolai Sokov discusses the treaty's challenges and whether it—unlike the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty—can continue without US participation, and how NATO countries may work to prevent Russia's withdrawal and the treaty's ultimate collapse.

James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies

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