DoD and the Biological Weapons Domestic Response Plan: Does it Contribute?   [open pdf - 396KB]

The domestic response plan, or passive defense, regarding biological weapons involves deterrence by diminishing the prospects that an attack will attain the desired results and minimizing the consequences of an attack if it were to take place. The three layers of passive defense involve peacetime precautionary measures and preparation, crisis management, and consequence management. Currently, DOD plays a supporting role to other agencies with assets including, but not limited to, the US Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Disease, US Army National Guard Weapons of Mass Destruction-Civil Support Teams, and the US Marine Corps Chemical Biological Incident Response Force. The planned role of DOD assets in this policy is resource intensive and in some cases has questionable added value in supporting a reaction to an attack. In establishing an effective and efficient response plan, while minimizing risk to the U.S., resources are better directed to enhancing the medical and public health capabilities in this arena prior to enhancing DOD assets. This paper evaluates the role the DOD plays in the Federal Response Plan in the event biological weapons are used against non-military targets within the United States. It defines the threat, outlines the current policy toward terrorism and biological agents, presents analysis of the passive defense component of homeland security strategy as it applies to biological warfare using a risk assessment framework, and makes policy recommendations regarding the role the DOD plays to posture for success in the near term extending to 2010.

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