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Developmental Milestones/Developments to Date:

Current Assessment/State of the Field:




Betts, Richard. “The New Threat of Mass DestructionForeign Affairs. 26. January/February 1998

  1. ”The importance of the different types among WMD has shifted. Biological weapons should now be the most serious concern, with nuclear weapons second and chemicals a distant third.” – page 27
  2. ”The most troubling conclusion for foreign policy as a whole is that reducing the odds of attacks in the United States might require pulling back from involvement in some foreign conflicts. American activism to guarantee international stability is, paradoxically, the prime source of American vulnerability.” – page 28
  3. ”Rolling along in what some see as a revolution in military affairs, American forces continue to make unmatched use of state-of-the-art weapons, surveillance and information systems, and the organizational and doctrinal flexibility for managing the integration of these complex innovations into ‘systems of systems’ that is the key to modern military effectiveness.” – page 28
  4. ”The primary risk is not that enemies might lob some nuclear or chemical weapons at U.S. armored battalions or ships, but it is that they might attempt to punish the United States by triggering catastrophes in American cities.” – page 30
  5. “Biological weapons have received less attention than the others, but probably represent the greatest danger.” – page 30
  6. ”The 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) requires the United States to destroy its stockpile.” – page 31
  7. ”One simple fact should worry Americans more about biological than about nuclear or chemical arms: unlike either of the other two, biological weapons combine maximum destructiveness and easy availability.” – page 32
  8. ”A host of minor measures can increase protection or recovery from biological, nuclear, or chemical effects. Examples are stockpiling or distribution of protective masks; equipment and training for decontamination; standby programs for mass vaccinations and emergency treatment with antibiotics; wider and deeper planning of emergency response procedures’ and public education about hasty sheltering and emergency actions to reduce individual vulnerability.” – page 37

Chemical, Military, WMD, CWC, Biosurveillance, U.S. Foreign Policy


Brennan, Richard et al. “Chemical Warfare Agents: Emergency Medical and Emergency Public Health Issues.Annals of Emergency Medicine, Volume 34 Issue 2. 191. August 1999

  1. ”Although it is prudent not to overstate the risk posed by chemical warfare agents (CWA), the proliferation of chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons (weapons of mass destruction [WMD]) was recently recognized by the US Congress as the most serious threat to national security.” – page 191
  2. “Risks to civilian populations include terrorism, military stockpiles, military use, and industrial accidents involving chemicals used as CWAs.”
  3. “To ensure that American cities and communities are appropriately prepared for a terrorist attack with a chemical, biological, or nuclear weapon, Congress passed The Defense Against Weapons of Mass Destruction Act of 1996 (WMD Act).” – page 192
  4. ”CWAs are broadly classified as nerve agents, vesicants, pulmonary agents, and cyanides (formerly bloody agents).” – page 194
  5. ”Their clinical effects, and their comparative advantages as weapons, vary according to their physiochemical characteristics, toxicity, and primary site of action.” – page 194
  6. ”Relevant issues in disaster preparedness for an incident involving a CWA include education and training of emergency personnel, disaster planning, public education, deployment of specialized teams, and stockpiling of appropriate antidotes.” – page 195
  7. ”The federal response to terrorism consists of 2 components: crisis management and consequence management. The lead federal agency for crisis management is the FBI and the lead federal agency for consequence management is FEMA.” – page 198
  8. ”Recent trends in terrorism, the production and transport of industrial chemicals, and the aging of the military stockpile have increased the risk that civilians may be exposed to CWAs.” – page 202
  9. “Principles of emergency response and medical treatment include levels of response, command and control, personal protective equipment, assessment, demarcation of the contaminated area, agent detection and identification, triage, decontamination, preparedness of the emergency department, protecting the public, medical treatment and antidotes, poison control centers, and surveillance.

Chemical, WMD, Public Health, Military, Japan, Sarin, CWC, Chemical Surveillance


Kaliadin, Aleksandr, “In Search of an Effective Coercive Strategy to Deter Weapons of Mass Destruction,” Russian Social Science Review, Vol. 49, no. 2, March-April 2008, pp. 77-93.

  1. “The PSI (Proliferation Security Initiative) aims at keeping proliferators away from the materials necessary for developing WMDs and their delivery systems by monitoring the trade routes used for proliferation and intercepting suspicious cargoes.”
  2. “Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), believes that the ‘black market’ in nuclear technologies and materials has become a reality and exists outside the effective control of either the IAEA or the leading special services.”
  3. “(NPT) does not impose sanctions on member states …(BWC) also has no statement on sanctions …(CWC) were not designed to curb proliferation among nonstate structures.”
  4. “An essential flaw of the nonproliferation treaties is that they stipulate no mechanisms for the physical prevention of the activities they ban.”
  5. “The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced its decision to support the PSI on 31 May 2004, on its first anniversary.”
  6. “(UNSCR) Resolution 1540, …helps establish the necessary legal foundations for PSI-related activities. …its key statements and its messages are in line with PSI’s principles.”
  7. “During the first half of the year (2004) PSI participants conducted ten exercises: five at sea, three in the air, and two on the ground.”
  8. “The highly sensitive information on which PSI operations must be based will demand a qualitatively new (and unprecedented) level of cooperation between Russian and U.S. state agencies.”
  9. “Russian … first greeted the initiative (PSI) with restraint, even with skepticism and distrust.” {further discussion on Russian perspective excluded}
  10. “Russia faces complex challenges in balancing the requirements to promote WMD nonproliferation against the need to develop the nuclear and other branches of industry that manufacture and export dual-use goods and technologies and to reassess its regional geopolitical interests.”
  11. “It is vital to Russia’s interests that its strategic stability not be undermined by its neighbors acquiring nuclear arms while Russia is reducing its own strategic offensive weapons–for economic and technical reasons, among others.”

PSI, NPT, BWC, CWC, UNSCR 1540, Dual Use, WMD, Russia


Millett, Piers, “The Biological Weapons Convention: Securing Biology in the Twenty-First Century,J Conflict Security Law, April 9, 2010.

  1. “The BWC has been working, in one form or another, for each of the last 19 years.”
  2. “From 1991 to 1994 interested States Parties examined the technical aspects of verifying compliance with the treaty. This led to a second process, which ran from 1995 to 2001, to develop a legally binding protocol to supplement the treaty with a traditional model arms control regime.”
  3. “Certain technologies (associated solely with prohibited activities) are banned and other resources (which can be used for both prohibited and permitted purposes) are regulated.”
  4. “The majority of technology (for example, chemicals in the case of chemical weapons) falls outside the regime and remains unregulated.”
  5. “It should also be noted that these regimes do engage in some degree of human-centric activities designed to develop ethical, moral and social aspects but this is often seen as outside of the compliance framework and ancillary to realizing the aims of a treaty.”
  6. “For example, the total value of publicly traded biotech companies in the USA in April 2008 was $360 billion.”

BWC, Bioterrorism, CWC, Biotechnology


Editors, “OPCW Monitors to Inspect Undeclared Libyan Chemical Arms” Google. Nov. 11, 2011.

  1. “”We also hope to keep a small group of inspectors on the ground, to liaise with the government on security arrangements.””
  2. “Countries in the chemical weapons treaty “have had different kinds of forces on the ground and they have been focused on certain things such as keeping eyes in the sky on the chemical weapons out on the desert, making sure there is a semblance of security,” Luhan said.”
  3. “The OPCW “will set what we feel would be a reasonable deadline, to keep pressure on the government to address this but also give enough latitude as it is becoming a new government,” the spokesman said”

Biosecurity, CWC, Biodefense, Biosafety, Chemical, Bioterrorism


Miller, J. Berkshire, “North Korea’s Other Weapons Threat” 12 November 2011, The Diplomat,’s-other-weapons-threat/, Last Checked 15 November 2011.

  1. “North Korea’s latent nuclear weapons program is rightfully the main point of concern for its neighbors and the international community. But far less publicized is Pyongyang’s ongoing efforts to build upon its capabilities to produce and maintain chemical and biological weapons (CBW). “
  2. “North Korea’s expansion of these programs is no secret to intelligence agencies around the world, and there are a number of reports detailing sites across the country dedicated to the production of CBW.”
  3. “North Korea isn’t a state party to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and has never been subject to inspections of its chemical industry facilities or sites believed associated with its CW program. Regardless, there’s little debate about the existence of the North’s CW program, with intelligence assessments from Russia, Britain, the United States and South Korea all indicating that Pyongyang continues to produce CW stocks.”
  4. “Much less clear is the scope of the CW program and its level of advancement. Most assessments concur that the North has produced all of the main chemical agents such as nerve (including VX gas), blood, blister and choking agents.  There’s less certainty regarding the amount of chemical agents stockpiled by the regime, although estimates range from 1,000 to 5,000 tons. However, even if the North’s program is at the low end of estimates, its capacity is bolstered by the fact that its military has a variety of sophisticated delivery vehicles for CW attacks including missiles, artillery and airborne bombs.”
  5. “While Pyongyang publicly denies the need for transparency on its CW program, its production of biological weapons is muddied and concealed by weak international non-proliferation standards. Unlike the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which has robust verification standards, the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) is plagued by the failure of its members to agree on a universal verification mechanism that would adequately ensure that all state parties are held to account for their treaty commitments.”
  6. “States at the BWC have been engaged in talks to come to an agreement on a suitable verification arm, but these efforts were cut short after the United States withdrew its support back in 2001. At the time, George W. Bush’s administration insisted that such a mechanism would require considerable financial capital with little pay off in security terms. The Pentagon also stressed that it was concerned about diverting precious resources on combating BW to a multilateral organization that would in turn take away funds from its successful biodefense programs. But perhaps the largest hurdle is to overcome U.S. and other members’ concerns that a strict verification regime may impose heavy restrictions on the biotech industry.”
  7. “Regardless, Pyongyang has taken advantage of the BWC’s verification gap by using its position as a state party to the BWC in order to blanket accusations that it continues to produce and maintain biological weapons.  The South Korean Defense Ministry claims that North Korea has possession of several biological agents such as anthrax bacterium, botulinum and smallpox – all of which can be weaponized.”
  8. “The thorniest issue between members of the BWC relates to the dual-use nature of biological agents and how to determine whether a program is peaceful or intended for nefarious purposes. The global science industry relies on the research conducted by studying biological materials. However, from an international security perspective, there’s the potential that this dual-use research could be diverted into a biological weapons program.”
  9. “There’s also the terrifying possibility that the government may – or already has – traded chemical or biological agents and suitable delivery vehicles to terrorist groups, which could weaponize them to use in an asymmetric attack. The improved ability of intelligence agencies around the world to determine weapons forensics would in theory deter such an illicit transfer, but it can’t be guaranteed”
  10. “South Korean officials have recently claimedthat their intelligence confirms that CBW factories were constructed in the North Korean province of Chagang last year. In response to this, the South Korean government has indicated that it will continue to pour millions of dollars into programs aimed at detecting, deterring and protecting their citizens and soldiers from a possible CBW attack from an unpredictable regime in the North.”
  11. “However, while the government is satisfied with its CW prevention efforts, Seoul has largely neglected creating a sufficient biodefense infrastructure. Korean parliamentarian Shin Hak-yong recently outlinedthis, stressing that the country’s“military defense has been excessively focused on preparedness for North Korea’s chemical attacks, rather than for its biological attacks.”
  12. “Seoul’s new biodefense strategy has three central prongs. The first relies on detection, and has been supported by the government’s planned implementation of scanning technology at ports of entry that will be able to detect ten separate disease threats. The second pillar focuses on deterrence, which is based on South Korea’s continued investment in its hard power resources, such as medium and long range surface-to-air missiles. The final ingredient is the much needed investment in protecting South Koreans in the event of a biological attack through the development and stockpiling of vaccines.”
  13. “Beginning a serious dialogue on CBW with North Korea is necessary, and could facilitate an opening for a smoother resumption to the stalled Six Party Talks on the regime’s nuclear weapons program.”
  14. “Kim Jong-il’s regime has displayed its insincerity and belligerence on several previous occasions when such talks resumed. Attempting to include CBW in the Six Party Talks would be counterproductive and would give Pyongyang more avenues to stall and launch salvos against Korea and the United States.”

Chemical, Biodefense, BWC, CWC, North Korea, South Korea, Dual Use


Smith, R. Jeffrey; Warrick, Joby; Lynch, Colum, “Iranian help suspected in secret Libyan chemical weapons arsenal” 20 November 2011, Iwatchnews,, Last checked 23 November 2011.

  1. “The Obama administration is investigating whether Iran supplied the Libyan government of Moammar Gadhafi with hundreds of special artillery shells for chemical weapons that Libya kept secret for decades, U.S. officials said.”
  2. “The shells, which Libya filled with highly toxic mustard agent, were uncovered in recent weeks by revolutionary fighters at two sites in central Libya. Both are under heavy guard and round-the-clock drone surveillance, U.S. and Libyan officials said.”
  3. “The discovery of the shells has prompted a U.S. intelligence-led probe into how the Libyans obtained them, and several sources said early suspicion had fallen on Iran. “We are pretty sure we know” the shells were custom-designed and produced in Iran for Libya, said a senior U.S. official, one of several who spoke on condition of anonymity because the sensitivity of the accusation.”
  4. “A U.S. official with access to classified information confirmed there were “serious concerns” that Iran had provided the shells, albeit some years ago. In recent weeks, UN inspectors have released new information indicating that Iran has the capability to develop a nuclear bomb, a charge Iranian officials have long rejected. Confirmed evidence of Iran’s provision of the specialized shells may exacerbate international tensions over the country’s alleged pursuit of weapons of mass destruction.”
  5. “Mohammed Javad Larijani, an adviser to Iran’s supreme leader and the brother of Iran’s former negotiator on nuclear issues, denied the allegation. “I believe such comments are being fabricated by the U.S. to complete their project of Iranophobia in the region and all through the world. Surely this is another baseless story for demonizing [the] Islamic Republic of Iran,” he said in an e-mail. The stockpile’s existence violates Gadhafi’s promises in 2004 to the United States, Britain, and the United Nations to declare and begin destruction of all of Libya’s chemical arms, and raises new questions about the ability of the world’s most powerful nations to police such pledges in tightly-closed societies.”
  6. “This newly-discovered stockpile will now need to be protected from theft by militia groups or others in the politically unsettled nation. Disposal of the munitions poses an additional challenge for Libya’s new government and allied Western powers, since the chemical-filled shells cannot be readily relocated, and may take as long as a year to destroy in place, according to some estimates.”
  7. “One U.S. official said Iran may have sold the shells to Libya after the close of its eight-year war with Iraq, in which the Iraqis used mustard and nerve agents against tens of thousands of Iranian soldiers. “These were acquired over many years” by the Libyans, another U.S. official said. Iran ratified the international Chemical Weapons Convention in late 1997, nearly seven years before Libya, and said it would foreswear such arms because they were “inhumane.” But in a subsequent declaration to inspectors — not previously disclosed — it admitted making 2500 tons of mustard agent near the end of its war with Iraq. It said it then shuttered its program.”
  8. “Pentagon and CIA analysts have asserted that Iran fired chemical artillery shells at Iraqi troops in 1988, a contention supported by secret Iraqi government documents obtained after the fall of Baghdad in 2003. A 1987 letter, written by Iraq’s military intelligence director and stamped “top secret,” described three Iranian chemical attacks and sought to assess what appeared to be a growing Iranian interest in mustard agent. “The enemy has chemical bombs/shells,” concluded the letter, part of an archives acquired by the Conflict Records Research Center at National Defense University. It said Iran probably received help from a foreign power in obtaining the chemicals to fill its munitions, and asserted that Tehran was attempting “by various means to reach an advanced stage of chemical agent production.”
  9. “Iran’s obligation to report any transfer of such shells – if it occurred — is unclear. The convention requires a declaration of the transfer or receipt of munitions specifically designed for use with mustard and similar agents, but does not require reporting of so-called “dual-use” munitions that could be filled with either conventional explosives or chemical agents.”
  10. “Libya agreed in 2003, under sustained U.S. and British pressure, to give up all of its work on weapons of mass destruction, and to permit U.S. and international inspection of its declared stocks of mustard and of nerve-agent ingredients. Libya has “provided full and transparent cooperation,” then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair said during a meeting with Qaddafi outside Tripoli in March 2004. But Libya only admitted to producing aerial bombs, not artillery shells, and U.S. officials watched as Libyans flattened some bomb casings with bulldozers and detonated their burster charges in the desert. In total, more than 3500 aerial bombs were destroyed by the Libyans, according to the OPCW. Some of the casings had been hidden in a garage owned by a top Libyan weapons official, while others were kept at a turkey farm.”
  11. “Inspectors will soon “establish whether these sites contain materials that should have been declared previously,” said Michael Luhan, the OPCW spokesman, in an e-mail. “Libyan authorities have advised us they are preparing to declare a detailed description of their contents, and when we receive that our inspectors will promptly visit the country to verify the inventories. Until then we cannot comment or speculate on the outcome.”

Chemical, WMD, CWC, Ira


Editors, “Guinea Approves Chemical Weapons Law” 22 November 2011, GSN,, Last checked 29 November 2011.

  1. “The government of Guinea on Friday approved legislation prohibiting the production, holding and employment of chemical weapons in the African state, Guineenews reported.”
  2. “The move by the Guinean National Transition Council is in keeping with the nation’s obligations as a member of the Chemical Weapons Convention.”
  3. “The law also addresses trade, production and usage of certain chemical materials.”

CWC, Chemical, WMD, Africa


Editors, “U.S. chemical weapons arsenal threatens world peace” 29 November 2011, Tehran Times,, Last checked 29 November 2011.

  1. “Iran’s representative to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has said that the illegal efforts of the United States to maintain its chemical weapons threaten world peace and security. Kazem Gharibabadi, who is also Iran’s ambassador to the Netherlands, made the remarks in The Hague on Monday during the first day of the Sixteenth Session of the Conference of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention, which opened on November 28 and closes on December 2.”
  2. “He said that the continued existence of chemical weapons stockpiles will endanger international peace and security, and the use of such inhumane and lethal weapons would be a nightmare.”
  3. “Iran’s opposition to chemical weapons is based on certain principles, the legal dimensions of which are based on the articles of the convention and the humanitarian dimensions of which are based on the disastrous impact of the use of such weapons against innocent people, he added.”
  4. “The threats to the world can only be eliminated through complete and sincere commitment to the terms of the convention, Gharibabadi stated. He also said that April 29, 2012 has been set as the final deadline for the total eradication of all chemical weapons, but the U.S., which is the country that has the largest stockpiles of chemical weapons, has officially announced that it will not meet the 2012 deadline and has set 2021 as its target date.”
  5. “The United States’ non-compliance with the Chemical Weapons Convention must be addressed by the international community, including the United Nations, because this measure will undermine the only international treaty on chemical weapons, he added. “We doubt the political will of the government of the United States. The U.S. decision to delay the total eradication of its chemical weapons for a long time… has made the world worried,” he stated.”
  6. “On Monday, OPCW Director General Ahmet Uzumcu visited an exhibition of photographs of Iranian victims of Iraq’s chemical weapons attack on Sardasht, West Azerbaijan Province, which occurred on June 28, 1987. Uzumcu said he hoped that catastrophes like the Sardasht attack never occur again. The exhibition is being held in The Hague on the sidelines of the chemical weapons conference.”

CWC, Chemical, U.S. Foreign Policy, Iran


Editors, “Chemical Weapons Holders Avoid Penalties for Missing Disposal Deadline” 1 December 2011, GSN, Last checked 6 December 2011.

  1. “Libya, Russia and the United States will not be penalized for anticipated failures to destroy their stockpiles of chemical weapons by a April 2012 deadline set by an international arms control treaty”
  2. “Member nations of the Chemical Weapons Convention on Thursday instead called for a program of heightened reporting and transparency for the three nations’ disposal operations. A decision document produced by a 41-nation Executive Council to the accord’s verification body was approved without amendment in a 101-1 decision of the CWC Conference of States Parties. Iran was the lone dissenter in the vote, after having initially prevented the conference from making its decision by consensus.”
  3. “Russia and the United States have long acknowledged that they would not meet the final April 29 deadline next year, even after receiving a five-year extension from the original 2007 end date set by the convention for eradicating their world’s-largest, decades-old stockpiles. Moscow now expects to eliminate 40,000 metric tons of chemical warfare materials by 2015. Meanwhile, the U.S. declared stockpile of more than 27,000 metric tons of substances — including mustard blister agent and VX and sarin nerve agents — is due to be finished off in 2021.”
  4. “While penalties such as stripping the nations of their voting rights at the organization had been possible, they were not expected. Diplomats from Russia and the United States, along with informed observers, have noted the nations’ demonstrated commitment to eliminating the chemical stockpiles in the face of funding challenges and other issues. Walker noted the that the document approved on Thursday made no mention of the three nations being in violation of their treaty commitments.”
  5. “Iranian delegate Kazem Gharib Abadi signaled his government’s opposition to the declaration earlier this week in a statement that lashed the United States for failing to meet its obligations under the convention while failing to cite Libya or Russia. U.S. envoy Robert Mikulak responded forcefully, adding that the document “has many shortcomings, but it represents a precarious balance of interests and concerns.”
  6. “The declaration calls for the Executive Council to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to meet immediately after the April 29 deadline passes next year. At that session, the panel would receive a briefing from OCPW Director General Ahmet Üzümcü regarding the amounts of chemical weapons that have been eliminated and those that remain in the three nations. Each of the possessor nations would be required at the council meeting to deliver a “detailed plan for the destruction of its remaining chemical weapons, which are to be destroyed in the shortest time possible,” the declaration states. The plans must offer specific dates by which chemical weapons disposal operations are expected to be completed. The states must then undertake necessary activities to meet those schedules.”
  7. “Also required would be specifics on the types and amounts of warfare agents to be destroyed each year for all operating and planned disposal plants, along with a count of active and anticipated plants. Each nation and the OPCW director general would also be required to submit reports at every Executive Council meeting on progress in the demilitarization efforts. Additional reports would be delivered at the annual meetings of the full membership to the convention. A “comprehensive review” of Thursday’s decision is also to be conducted at next year’s review conference on the convention.”
  8. “Separately, the OPCW chief and a delegation from the Executive Council would also be authorized to make biannual visits to the possessor nations “to obtain an overview of the destruction programs being undertaken,” the declaration states. “These visits are to inter alia include visits to destruction facilities as well as meetings with parliamentarians, if possible, and government officials in capitals as a formal part of the visits.”

CWC, Chemical, Russia, Iran


Editors, “North Korea making missile able to hit U.S.The Washington Times. Dec 5th, 2011.

  1. “New intelligence indicates that North Korea is moving ahead with building its first road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile, an easily hidden weapon capable of hitting the United States, according to Obama administration officials.”
  2. ““We believe this new intelligence reiterates the need for the administration to correct its priorities regarding missile defenses, which should have, first and foremost, the missile defense of the homeland.””
  3. “Mobile missiles are difficult for tracking radar to locate, making them easier to hide. They also can be set up and launched much more quickly than missiles fired from silos or launchpads.”
  4. ““North Korea has three paths to building ICBMs. One is using the Taepodong-2, with a range of up to 9,300 miles, as its main strategic missile. A second way is to further develop the ranges of existing missiles like the Musudan, and last is to “use the very large launch facility that is being constructed on the west coast of North Korea to launch a very large missile,” the cable said.”
  5. “North Korea also has a new solid-fueled short-range missile called the Toksa, with a range of 75 miles, and has sold a number of shorter-range Musudan missiles to Iran, the report said.”
  6. “Pressed for details, he said, “I don’t think it’s an immediate threat, no. But on the other hand, I don’t think it’s a five-year threat.””
  7. ““They are developing a road-mobile ICBM. I never would have dreamed they would go to a road-mobile before testing a static ICBM. It’s a huge problem. As we’ve found out in a lot of places, finding mobile missiles is very tough”

Nuclear, Biosecurity, Biodefense, Bioterrorism, Biotechnology, Emergency Response, Military, Public Health, CWC, Russia, North Korea, Homeland Security, Biodetection





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