Biowarfare Lessons, Emerging Biosecurity Issues, and Ways to Monitor Dual-Use Biotechnology Trends in the Future
Occasional paper no. 61
INST FOR NATIONAL SECURITY STUDIES US AIR FORCE ACADEMY CO
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The study summarizes policy lessons for future efforts to monitor possible covert biological warfare programs based on past Iraqi and South African covert biowarfare programs. This comparative case study approach identified several commonalities in past biowarfare programs in developing countries. One was a tendency of governments to recruit some of the brightest students and send them abroad for advanced studies at western universities. This trend changed dramatically after the September 11, 2001, and it is now much more likely that future scientists working for government-sponsored bioweapons programs or for terrorist groups in the developing world will receive their advanced training at nonwestern institutions. A second commonality is that covert biological weapons research and development efforts have focused on exploiting readily available, naturally occurring pathogens for use as weapons of mass disruption or terror, in addition to efforts to develop sophisticated, genetically modified, weaponized organisms delivered in sophisticated delivery systems. Both the Iraqi and South African programs relied heavily on open-source literature to develop biological pathogens at multiple dual-use civilian facilities. This diffusion of covert research and development facilities is likely to increasingly in the future as mobile equipment and production facilities are more readily available for sale to any interested buyer. While these trends will make it difficult to detect preliminary covert biowarfare-related research and development, the full-scale production will continue to be difficult to hide. The second section of this study identified and discusses new biosecurity issues that emerged since September 11, 2001. These security issues increasingly collide with the economic development goals embraced by countries who are trying to increase civilian biotechnology research and development capacity in order to produce high-valued biotechnology exports and jobs.
- Chemical, Biological and Radiological Warfare
- Government and Political Science