Nonproliferation

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Nonproliferation is an aspect of arms control that focuses on the dissemination of technology and materials from nations acknowledged to have them, to those national and non-national actors who do not. It is not limited to concerns with weapons of mass destruction, as certain conventional weapons, such as man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS), can be a major force multiplier. Conventional weapons do include precision-guided munitions.

MANPADS, for example, are a major threat to civil aviation if in terrorist hands. Very serious work is underway to provide MANPADS protection to airliners and at airports. Antipersonnel land mines are another weapon of concern, which are subject to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction. Some cluster munitions are increasingly considered equivalent to land mines.

Means of delivery are as important as weapons of mass destruction proper. In hindsight, it appears that Saddam Hussein put his WMD program on hold until he could develop ballistic or cruise missiles of appreciable range; tactical ballistic missiles, and unmanned aerial vehicles were the only prohibited weapons actually found by inspectors.