Assessment of the Emerging Biocruise Threat
USAF COUNTERPROLIFERATION CENTER MAXWELL AFB AL
Pagination or Media Count:
The rogue nations Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, and Syria are pursuing the acquisition of land-attack cruise missiles as part of a mix of aircraft, ballistic- and cruise-missile long-range strike forces. A major reason for these acquisitions is that a land-attack cruise missile configured to disseminate biological warfare agents comprises a technically and economically attractive, yet highly lethal weapon of mass destruction. Such a weapon serves as a lever of strategic power available to rogue nations who want to deter, constrain, or harm the United States and its allies, but of necessity must challenge the conventionally superior Western forces via asymmetric means. Aiding the rogue nations pursuit of these biological weapon systems are the dual-use nature and availability of the materials, technologies, and equipment for producing biological warfare agents and the widespread proliferation of the enabling technologies for land-attack cruise missiles, such as satellite navigation and guidance compact, highly-efficient engines and composite, low-observable airframe materials. With these technologies and some limited foreign assistance from countries such as China and Russia, many of the rogue nations can indigenously produce land-attack cruise missiles. Also, they will increasingly be able to directly purchase these missiles. The number of countries other than the United States that will be producing advanced, long-range, land-attack cruise missiles will increase from two to nine within the next decade, and some producers are expected to make them available for export. Or, they can choose to convert antiship cruise missiles, which have been widely proliferated and are in the rogue states military arsenals, into land-attack missiles. With the abundant proliferation pathways for biological warfare agents and land-attack cruise missiles, it is quite probable that by 2005 one or more of the rogue nations will possess a long-range, land-attack cruise missile.
- Chemical, Biological and Radiological Warfare
- Air- and Space-Launched Guided Missiles
- Surface-Launched Guided Missiles