Biological Warfare and American Strategic Risk   [open pdf - 611KB]

From the thesis abstract: "After the Cold War and absent a monolithic threat, the Department of Defense adopted a threat assessment based on 'weapons of mass destruction' (WMD) called Proliferation: Threat and Response. Further, President Clinton identified generic WMD as the greatest potential threat to global security. This deluge of rhetoric associated with the diplomatic term of art 'weapons of mass destruction' and the doctrinal amalgamation of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons obscures and confuses understanding of modern biological warfare. Unfortunately, most military and national security leaders do not consider biological weapons as independently decisive; instead, they view them as they regard airpower, as simply tools to be used on the battlefield. As this thesis shows, however, biological warfare is fundamentally distinct from chemical and nuclear warfare and must be treated as such to fully understand its nature and prepare its defense. This thesis disengages biological weapons from WMD and focuses on biological warfare's unique characteristics and constraints. Biological weapons in the hands of state or non-state actors pose intricate and multi-level national security conundrums. The ubiquitous and duel-use [sic] biotechnological revolution is fundamentally altering mankind's relationship with life on Earth and portends a future in which any actor may be able to create and disseminate mass casualty biological weapons. Using analogies from other strategic forms-airpower and nuclear warfare-this thesis delves into the complex enigmas of biological warfare counterproliferation, deterrence and defense, offering novel approaches to America's most dangerous security threat."

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United States Department of Defense: http://www.dod.mil
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