Accession Number:

ADA517679

Title:

President Nixon's Decision to Renounce the U.S. Offensive Biological Weapons Program

Descriptive Note:

Monograph

Corporate Author:

NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIV WASHINGTON DC CENTER FOR THE STUDY OF WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

2009-10-01

Pagination or Media Count:

32.0

Abstract:

A lesser known but equally dangerous element of the superpower competition involved biological weapons BW. By the late 1960s, the United States and the Soviet Union had both acquired advanced BW capabilities. The U.S. BW arsenal comprised two types of lethal antipersonnel agents three types of incapacitating agents and two types of anticrop weapons. The Army also developed two toxins, highly poisonous chemicals produced by bacteria and other living organisms. According to U.S. military doctrine at the time, the stockpile of lethal biological weapons served as an in-kind deterrent against enemy biological attack and, if deterrence were to fail, provided a retaliatory capability when authorized by the President. Soon after President Richard M. Nixon took office in January 1969, Members of Congress pressured the administration to clarify U.S. policies on the use of chemical and biological weapons CBW, as there had been no comprehensive review of this issue area in more than 15 years. Nixon announced his new policy on biological warfare at a press conference an the White House on November 25, 1969. Biological weapons have massive, unpredictable, and potentially uncontrollable consequences, he declared. They may produce global epidemics and impair the health of future generations. In recognition of these dangers, he continued, the United States had decided to destroy its entire stockpile of biological agents and confine its future biological research program to defensive measures, such as vaccines and field detectors. The monograph is divided into the following segments The Decision to Launch a Policy Review The National Security Study Memorandum Process, including Divergent Agency Positions, The Pentagon Divided, External Political Pressures, and The NSC Principals Meeting The Presidents Decision Toxins -- A Major Loose End, including Policy Review on Toxins and The President Decides and Consequences and Legacy.

Subject Categories:

  • Administration and Management
  • Government and Political Science
  • Chemical, Biological and Radiological Warfare

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE