Accession Number:



The Anthrax Terror. DOD's Number-One Biological Threat

Descriptive Note:

Journal article

Corporate Author:


Personal Author(s):

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



TODAY THE US military faces a variety of threats around the world, ranging from nuclear ballistic missiles to information warfare. The ability to conduct biological warfare BW to employ biological agents like anthrax as weapons lies within our adversaries threat arsenals. This increasingly discussed threat is not as readily appreciated and understood as kinetic-energy threats but presents no less and perhaps an even more daunting challenge to the Department of Defense DOD and the nation. The sobering reality is that this threat impacts our national security, and its effects could dramatically change our society. The relative ease with which biological weapons can be obtained, along with other changes in the world, sets the stage for a different type of warfare in the twenty-first century. BW may reshape the way nations fight wars. If used on a massive scale against the civilian populace, BW could redraw the patterns of our society as people become increasingly concerned about being victims of this silent and deadly mode of warfare. Scientists predict the next several decades will pose challenges as current BW technology evolves into futurist biological weapons such as binary BW agents, stealth viruses, and malicious designer genes. In fact, biological warfare capabilities are probably where nuclear weapons were in the 1940s.1 Underscoring how seriously the US military views biological weapons in general and anthrax in particular, the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1996 declared anthrax the number-one biological- weapon threat to our military forces.2 Why is DOD so concerned about biological warfare and particularly anthrax What can be done to mitigate this threat Knowing that all vaccines have potential risks, is DOD justified in having a goal of vaccinating one hundred percent of the military against anthrax, or should alternative solutions be adopted

Subject Categories:

  • Chemical, Biological and Radiological Warfare

Distribution Statement: