WHITEPAPERS: Army War College , ASM (American Society for Microbiology), CATO Institute, Center for a New American Security, Center for Biosecurity of UPMC, Center for Counterproliferation Research, Chemical and Biological Arms Control Institute, CRS (Report for Congress), GAO (General Accounting Office), Institute for National Strategic Studies, Institute for Science and Public Policy, Johns Hopkins University, National Academy Of Engineering, National Defence University, PERI (Public Entity Risk Institute), RIS (Research & Information System), Terrorism Intelligence Centre, The Federalist Society, UNESCO (United Nations), University of Laussane, and the WMD Center.
Date: February 23, 2003
Source: Institute for Science and Public Policy
Abstract: The shocking events of September 11, 2001, and the deliberate release of anthrax spores that occurred shortly thereafter have increased awareness of the dangers of terrorist attacks. Of all the actions that could be undertaken by terrorists, perhaps none has more potential for causing massive civilian casualties through asymmetric warfare than does the use of biological agents. Although most microorganisms that cause disease or produce toxins (i.e., viruses, bacteria, fungal spores, and toxins) may be used as biological weapons, some are more likely candidates for use in bioterrorism incidents because they are extremely infectious and exhibit high mortality or debilitating morbidity rates. Moreover, given the likelihood of delay in diagnosing some diseases caused by deliberate exposure, biological agents are a potent weapon in the hands of terrorists (1 - 4).
The growing threat of bioterrorism is based on four key and disturbing facts. First, the number of nations and groups possessing or seeking to acquire a biological agent capability is increasing. Second, biological agents with increasing lethality are possible with genetic engineering. Third, detection of biological agent development is difficult because much of the technology has legitimate dual-use applications in medicine and agriculture. And, unlike chemical or radiological/nuclear events, detection of a biological release may be delayed for days until individuals first display symptoms which are diagnosed accurately. Forth, and perhaps most troubling, bioterrorism has happen in the United States.
Computer modeling and field exercises have become the primary tools for simulating terrorist incidents and analyzing the consequences of terrorist attacks in order to evaluate options for minimizing casualties. This analysis provides an overview of the threat bioterrorism poses by identifying potential biological agents and describing sources of known vulnerability. The paper also summarizes S&T resources/needs and assesses response options for achieving effective biodefense (Institute for Science and Public Policy, 2003).