Delineating the Boundary Between Permitted Biodefense and Prohibited Offensive Biological Research, Volume I   [open pdf - 4MB]

"The increased threat of bioterrorism has resulted in an unprecedented increase in efforts to enhance national biodefense capabilities. In the past ten years, the class of potential BW [Biological Weapons] users has expanded to include not only a growing number of developing nations but also non- state actors such as terrorist groups. The biological threat has changed to include the use of BW not only on the battlefield but also as agents of terror. The emergence of this threat has far reaching implications for US policy makers. Public perception of the dramatic increase in BW defense spending and the expansion of facilities and sites capable of working with biohazardous materials has resulted in fears of reemergence of an offensive BW program among both domestic and international audiences. Complicating that situation is the emerging struggle between the need for open scientific research and enhanced biosecurity measures that may require classification of some research. The US unilaterally renounced offensive biological warfare in the late 1960s and early 1970's and is a signatory to both the Geneva Protocol and the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC). This project explores interpretations of these biowarfare treaty protocols and the criteria for distinguishing between offensive and defensive biological warfare programs (Convention on the Prohibition). The objective of this project was to delineate how the boundary between permitted biodefense and prohibited offensive biological research has been established in the past and what criteria and processes are in place to make that determination today. We attempted to identify what the current filtering process is for designating biological research projects as either offensive or defensive in nature and to understand the historical path taken to establish said filters." Note: This document has been added to the Homeland Security Digital Library in agreement with the Project on Advanced Systems and Concepts for Countering WMD (PASCC) as part of the PASCC collection. Permission to download and/or retrieve this resource has been obtained through PASCC.

Report Number:
Advanced Systems and Concepts Office, Report Number 2004 004
Public Domain. Downloaded or retrieved via external web link as part of the PASCC collection.
Retrieved From:
ASCO/PASCC Archives via NPS Center on Contemporary Conflict
Media Type:
Help with citations