Accession Number:

ADA523267

Title:

New Forces Yet Undetermined: The Challenge of Biodefense

Descriptive Note:

Doctoral thesis

Corporate Author:

MASSACHUSETTS INST OF TECHNOLOGY CAMBRIDGE DEPT OF POLITICAL SCIENCE

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

2009-09-01

Pagination or Media Count:

381.0

Abstract:

This dissertation finds that the full implementation of the traditional security approaches of prevention, deterrence and defense would not be effective at protecting the United States from a catastrophic biological attack. The traditional approaches would not merely fail but would be counterproductive. Most of the relevant literature - in both the policy and academic worlds - urges the application of traditional strategies to combat the risk of catastrophic biological attack. The traditional strategies are undercut by two broad changes in the strategic environment 21st century biotechnologies and the emergence of serious non-state adversaries. This dissertation proposes refinements to the traditional strategies of prevention, deterrence, and defense. Prevention seeks to stop an adversary or a potential adversary from acquiring a capability that could be used to decisive effect in an attack. Deterrence seeks to dissuade an adversary from launching an attack by making it plain in advance that the costs would significantly outweigh the benefits. Defense is protecting against an adversarys attack so as to minimize its effects. Traditional prevention strategy should shift from emphasizing export controls and inspections to norm-building. It should use international technical elites to build and enforce norms. These strengthened norms would, in turn, strengthen existing prohibitions. Traditional deterrence strategies should shift from post-attack retaliation to a declaratory strategy more tailored to the biological threat, underscoring the risk of failure for a terrorist group and the resulting exposure and destruction of their key operational assets. Defense must strengthen both traditional defense and medical response.

Subject Categories:

  • Defense Systems
  • Chemical, Biological and Radiological Warfare

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE