There are too many trite adages about data and decision-making to count: “You can’t manage what you can’t measure”; “Good data leads to good decisions"; or one of my personal favorites, “In God we trust. All others must bring data.” With sophisticated analytical tools on every hard drive and cheap digital storage, decision-makers today have access to terabytes of information. But good data on which to base decisions can be hard to find. Unfortunately, solid, actionable evidence that can be measured and analyzed to improve outcomes often exists but is not easy to access or analyze.
In 2011, NTI recognized that there was a gap in accessible data and information related to the security of nuclear materials around the world. Working with the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), NTI gathered and analyzed information related to global nuclear security conditions from international organizations and from governments with and without weapons-usable nuclear materials and offered recommendations for improving the security around some of the world’s potentially deadliest materials. The evaluation of national-level rules for managing nuclear materials, sites, and facilities done across three biennial reports to date (in 2012, 2014 and 2016) allows countries to compare their performance to and learn from others with similar risks—whether related to theft of large quantities of highly enriched uranium or sabotage of nuclear power reactors. NTI publishes the data and rankings in full as a transparent check on the accuracy and rigor of the analysis.