Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Weapons and Missiles: Status and Trends
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE
Pagination or Media Count:
The United States has long recognized the dangers inherent in the spread of nuclear, biological, and chemical NBC weapons, and missiles. Despite the preeminence of U.S. military power, or perhaps because of it, these weapons continue to pose very serious threats to the United States and its foreign interests. NBC weapons could be delivered by means ranging from ships or trucks that terrorist groups might employ, to aircraft, cruise or ballistic missiles of states. This report, which analyzes NBC weapons programs around the globe and potential threat patterns, is updated as needed. The total number of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons in the world is shrinking as the major powers scale back their inventories through unilateral reductions and arms control, but other countries and groups still try to acquire these weapons. There are five established nuclear weapon states China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States and India and Pakistan declared their nuclear weapons capability with nuclear tests in 1998. Israel and North Korea are widely believed to have nuclear weapon arsenals, although neither has directly declared its capabilities. North Korea may have between 2 and 8 nuclear weapons. Recent international inspections in Iran have revealed significant strides in Irans nuclear fuel cycle capabilities and many believe Iran to have a covert nuclear weapons program. Iraq and Libya are no longer states of proliferation concern despite Libyas ability to procure significant nuclear components, its scientists lacked the wherewithal to proceed aggressively toward a nuclear weapon.
- Chemical, Biological and Radiological Warfare