Study Warns On New Chemical Weapons | January 31, 2011 Issue - Vol. 89 Issue 5 | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 89 Issue 5 | p. 38 | Concentrates
Issue Date: January 31, 2011

Study Warns On New Chemical Weapons

Department: Government & Policy
Keywords: biological chemical weapons

Gaps in defenses against chemical and biological (CB) weapon agents “pose a potentially serious risk to U.S. military operations,” warn the authors of a newly published Rand report. Adversaries could acquire emerging CB agents years before U.S. defense planners recognize those agents, and many more years before the U.S. establishes a comprehensive defense against them, according to the report. It notes that the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) prohibits the use of all existing and future chemical agents for offensive military purposes. “Still, some actors might try to avoid short-term treaty censure by pursuing agents and precursors that are not explicitly identified by the CWC and take similar action with biological weapons,” the report states. The development of new CB agents might be easier because scientific capabilities around the world are “accelerating,” and dual-use (military and commercial) industries are becoming more common, the document says. The report says the “best approach” to the threat would involve dissuading enemies from preparing new biological or chemical weapons systems and broadly deterring the use of such materials.

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