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About Us


Assistance Support Initiative

In 2004 the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 1540, which stipulates that all States must adopt and enforce laws and regulations to specifically prohibit the spread of weapons of mass destruction within or across their borders, complementing and supporting implementation of other nonproliferation treaties, conventions and resolutions. However, many States worldwide struggle to implement these obligations effectively. Many States have submitted requests for assistance to the 1540 Committee. Similarly, many States, international governmental and non-governmental organizations have offered assistance.

This demonstrated interest in requesting and offering assistance has struggled to transform into tangible action. The challenge of transforming requests into practical assistance frustrates donors and requestors and, thus, diminishes prospects for the full and effective implementation of Resolution 1540. The UN Security Council has identified the inability of many requesting governments to move beyond high-level, generic statements of need toward specific requests tied to a sustainable national implementation strategy as one of the challenges impeded effective action.

In collaboration with the Institute for Security Studies (Pretoria) and expanding on their initial compendium of capacity building programs in Africa to counter CBRN weapons, the Stimson Center created the Assistance Support Initiative (ASI) in response to this challenge. Through funding by the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Trade and Development and in close cooperation with the 1540 Committee, its Group of Experts, and other partners, the ASI aims to help States build their capacity to make more effective assistance requests, including the creation of a public, searchable database of relevant assistance programs and projects. This database serves as a single source of valuable information for States interested in obtaining assistance on the programs offered by States, international government organizations, and non-governmental entities. In addition to program and project descriptions, the data provides points of contact for each program to facilitate stronger connections between assistance providers and those in need of assistance.


Dr. Richard T. Cupitt, Database Director

Dr. Richard T. Cupitt directs the Assistance Support Initiative. A Senior Fellow and Director of the Partnerships in Proliferation Prevention Program at the Stimson Center since 2017, Dr. Cupitt served as the Special Coordinator for UN Security Council resolution (UNSCR) 1540 at the U.S. State Department from 2012 to 2016. From 2005 to 2012, he worked as an Expert for the UN Security Council’s 1540 Committee, leading the work in several specialized areas including combating the financing of proliferation and export controls. Prior to working for the 1540 Committee, Dr. Cupitt served as Special Adviser for International Cooperation for the U.S. Undersecretary of Commerce in the Bureau of Industry and Security from 2002-2004. From 1988 to 2002, Dr. Cupitt had various posts for the Center International Trade and Security (CITS) of the University of Georgia, including Associate Director. Dr. Cupitt also has held academic positions at American University, Emory University, University of North Texas, Georgetown University School of Law, and Northwestern University School of Law. His areas of expertise include WMD nonproliferation, export controls, foreign policy and qualitative research methods. He has produced four books and more than 20 peer-reviewed articles on nonproliferation export controls, along with dozens of other security or trade-oriented publications. In addition, he has served as a consultant on projects for the U.S. State Department, several U.S. national commissions, U.S. national nuclear laboratories, and various international organizations.

Mary C. Vecellio, Research Associate

Mary C. Vecellio is a Research Associate with the Partnerships in Proliferation Prevention Program at the Stimson Center. Her research focuses on WMD nonproliferation with specific focus on radiological source security, United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540 assistance programs, and chemical weapons-related material security. Vecellio is particularly interested in issues related to preventing the spread of chemical weapons and related materials. She holds a B.A. in History with summa cum laude honors from Albion College in Michigan. She also has a M.A. in Non-Proliferation and International Security from King’s College, London.


The Stimson Center

The Stimson Center is a nonpartisan policy research center working to protect people, preserve the planet, and promote security & prosperity. Stimson’s award-winning research serves as a roadmap to address borderless threats through concerted action. Our formula is simple: we gather the brightest people to think beyond soundbites, create solutions, and make those solutions reality. We follow the credo of one of history’s leading statesmen, Henry L. Stimson, in taking “pragmatic steps toward ideal objectives.” We are practical in our approach and independent in our analysis. Our innovative ideas change the world.