NATO dismisses nuclear security concerns after militants strike Pakistani naval base
Pakistan has made significant efforts to keep the majority of the country's military personnel uninvolved in guarding its nuclear weapons. The Strategic Plans Division, a unit of about 10,000 that is kept largely separate from the rest of the military, bears the responsibility of guarding the country's nuclear stockpile, which is estimated to be between 70 and 120 warheads.
Personnel working with the weapons are screened every two years, and only 5 percent of those screened are actually cleared for the work, The New York Times reports. Bases with nuclear weapons have much more stringent security than those without and attacks at those bases have typically been easily thwarted.
The International Atomic Energy Agency "expressed fears" in 2008 about the country's control of its nuclear arsenal. The public concern prompted Pakistan, normally very secretive about its stockpile, to make several public assurances that its weapons were being kept safe, Bloomberg reported. A Reuters briefing notes that the US has been publicly supportive of Pakistan – in 2009, President Obama said he was "confident" about its nuclear weapon security, although the weakness of Pakistan's government concerned him.