Counterproliferation Financing Programme

This programme aims to reduce and mitigate the risks related to the financing of weapons of mass destruction, as well as drive global thought leadership through timely and relevant policy-oriented research and analysis.

Lt Stuart Antrobus RN | UK MOD © Crown copyright 2005

Proliferators of weapons of mass destruction, such as North Korea and Iran, fund their programmes through illicit means, evading international sanctions in the process. Since 2015, RUSI has produced ground-breaking research in this area, focusing on the underlying financial services that enable proliferators and their facilitators to carry out these illicit activities.

Our programme aims to reduce and mitigate the risks related to the financing of weapons of mass destruction through research, analysis and capacity-building. Our main focus areas are: understanding and reducing the risks of proliferation financing; promoting the effective implementation of targeted financial sanctions through public-private partnerships; and assessing the risks posed to sanctions regimes by emerging technologies.

Our activities include: providing technical assistance and training; convening key stakeholders across public and private sectors; and developing guidance, recommendations and best practices to better calibrate sanctions and minimise unintended impacts.

Lt Stuart Antrobus RN | UK MOD © Crown copyright 2005

Key research areas:

Technical Assistance

The centrepiece of our CPF work is the technical assistance and training programme, which delivers an innovative curriculum to both public- and private-sector partners, designed to raise awareness and reduce the risks associated with the financing of weapons of mass destruction.

The team works with public-sector stakeholders, including financial intelligence units, central banks, relevant ministries, and law-enforcement agencies, to improve their understanding of international CPF obligations and provide guidance on shaping and enhancing legal, regulatory and enforcement regimes. Similarly, RUSI conducts outreach to private-sector partners to advance compliance standards and promote public-private partnerships.

The technical assistance programme’s core curriculum is informed through in-depth research and analysis of the most salient and pressing issues related to the design, implementation and consequences of national and international economic statecraft.

CPF Technical Assistance Programme is Compliance Training Provider of the Year

Future of CPF

There has been little in the way of progress in terms of further defining and implementing the counterproliferation finance (CPF) obligations in UN Resolution 1540 since its adoption in 2004. This research stream focuses broadly on the political, economic and technical challenges that CPF international obligations face, the potential long-term consequences, and what needs to be done in order to facilitate more effective and complete implementation.

Virtual Assets & Sanctions Evasion

As global use and adoption of digital assets such as cryptocurrency grows, particularly among less-regulated non-banking sectors, the risk of exploitation by illicit actors increases. Specifically, North Korea has a long history of using cryptocurrency to circumvent sanctions and finance its nuclear weapons programme. This stream of research examines the regulatory vulnerabilities and policy gaps associated with this evolving threat.


Access projects to this programme of work.

DPRK Reports Database

CPF Technical Assistance Programme

Proliferation Financing Risk Assessment

National Risk Assessments

Assessment of Military Capabilities Programme

Project Sandstone

Proliferation Financing Risk Exercise
Counter Proliferation Financing Resources

We have curated a set of articles and resources on counter proliferation financing from different perspectives and with specific focuses.