South Africa's Weapons of Mass Destruction

South Africa's Weapons of Mass Destruction

Helen E. Purkitt and Stephen F. Burgess
Distribution: World
Publication date: 05/11/2005
ISBN: 978-0-253-00306-5
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South Africa’s Weapons of Mass Destruction offers an in-depth view of the secret development and voluntary disarmament of South Africa’s nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons program, Project Coast. Helen E. Purkitt and Stephen F. Burgess explore how systems used for nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons in South Africa were acquired and established beyond the gaze of international and domestic political actors. On the basis of archival evidence from Project Coast and their own extensive interviews with military and political officials, Purkitt and Burgess consider what motivates countries to acquire and build such powerful weaponry and examine when and how decisions are made to dismantle a military arsenal voluntarily. Questions such as how to destroy weapons safely and keep them from reappearing on international markets are considered along with comparative strategies for successful disarmament in other nation-states.

Author Bio

Helen E. Purkitt is Professor of Political Science at the U.S. Naval Academy.

Stephen F. Burgess is Associate Professor in the Department of Strategy and International Security at the U.S. Air War College and Associate Director of the U.S. Air Force Counterproliferation Center.

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction: The Ongoing Problem of South Africa's Unconventional Weapons
2. South Africa in a World of Proliferating Weapons
3. Origins and Evolution of Nuclear-Weapons Research and Development
4. Warheads, Missiles, and Nuclear-Deterrence Strategy
5. Project Coast and Its Origins
6. Dismantling the Nuclear-Weapons Program
7. The Rollback of Project Coast
8. Disarmament Trendsetter
9. Emerging Issues and Residual Concerns
Appendix: Policy Lessons from the South African Case