Defining 'Weapons of Mass Destruction' [January 2012]   [open pdf - 911KB]

"When the original version of this occasional paper appeared in January 2006, DOD [Department of Defense] was still debating how to revise its WMD [Weapon of Mass Destruction] definition. Accordingly, the paper focused on framing the issues that confronted DOD in selecting a new definition. This revised edition takes into account developments during the past 5 years, and it reduces the focus on DOD-specific considerations. The result is an updated and reorganized review of the topic intended for readers interested in better understanding issues related to the proliferation and control of weapons of mass destruction. The paper has three main parts. Following a short introduction, the first section describes the origins of the term WMD and its subsequent use in arms control and disarmament negotiations. The second section discusses how the national security and law enforcement communities use the term. A third section dissects the main alternative definitions for WMD, including an assessment of the problems associated with their use."

Report Number:
National Defense University: Occasional Paper No. 8
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
National Dfense University, Center for the Study of Weapons of Mass Destruction: http://wmdcenter.dodlive.mil/
Media Type:
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