Date of Award/Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S. in International Studies


International Studies

First Supervisor

David McGregor

Second Supervisor

Zachary Shirkey

Third Supervisor

David Baronov


Nuclear Proliferation is one of the greatest challenges to international security. The Bush administration in 2003 launched the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), a US-led international anti-proliferation coalition formed to control the spread of nuclear weapons through interdiction. This study examines the creation of the Proliferation Security Initiative as an international antiproliferation force. It attempts to ascertain if the PSI as an international antiproliferation coalition will prove to be an effective means for managing the spread of nuclear weapons. This thesis discusses the background of the PSI, highlighting the steps taken in establishing such an international antiproliferation effort and giving it the kind of power it requires to function properly and achieve the desired result. It reviews the benefits and successes of the initiative since its creation, identifying the challenges facing the PSI while offering recommendations to overcome these challenges. A close examination of the PSI reveals that it is a positive move in the battle against weapons of mass destruction. The United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540 is useful in providing the legal backing the initiative needs to be effective. The PSI has recorded success in conducting actual interdictions as well as deterring the delivery of nuclear materials by sea. However it faces many legal and operational challenges which can hinder the ability of the initiative to achieve its ultimate goals. If these challenges are met with adequate improvements, the PSI will be very efficient in dealing with the threat posed by WMD. This project is a part of a growing body of research on anti proliferation measures and is intended to contribute positively to previously unsuccessful attempts in dealing with the menace of nuclear proliferation.