"Understanding has evolved in the last decade about how an adversary might use nuclear, radiological, biological, or chemical weapons against the United States. Increasingly, America is concluding that potential adversaries view these not as 'weapons of last resort' but rather as tactically and strategically useful. The United States can expect their use early in a conflict as well as throughout the extended battlefield, including on U.S. territory itself. States and state-supported terrorists are of primary concern, for these actors can most readily harness the full range of technical and operational capabilities needed to use nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) weapons in sophisticated, effective ways. The U.S. military is becoming more aware of the requirements for operating in an NBC environment, but more needs to be done to ensure success. Deterring NBC use may be more difficult than it was during the Cold War. New concepts and capabilities, including more sophisticated active and passive defenses, will be required. Missile defense will play an essential role. A fully capable national response will require not only a better prepared military but also a better prepared public health infrastructure."
Strategic Forum No.187