New intelligence indicates ISIS pursuing biological weapons

Brig. Gen. Maria Gervais, commandant of the U.S. Army Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear School, discussed the threat of weapons of mass destruction posed by Islamic State, and state actors, Oct. 7, 2014, at a National Defense Industrial Asso | David Vergun

Brig. Gen. Maria Gervais spoke Tuesday at a National Defense Industrial Association-sponsored breakfast and indicated the possibility of weaponized biological agents being pursued by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Among continued concerns of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in North Korea and Iran, ISIS is researching the weaponization of the bubonic plague and using infected animals to spread the disease.

"We must be prepared to bring our unique CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear) capabilities to the fight, and continue training the Army and joint force not only to survive, but to win in the CBRN environment," Gervais said.

U.S. forces fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan have already faced CBRN tactics from enemy combatants including the use of toxic industrial materials.

In Syria, U.S. forces were successful in disposing of chemical agents.

Gervais also said that the military has been preparing for increased probability of CBRN warfare, but there must be an increased effort and utilization of skilled officers and training of new officers and soldiers.

Assistance in industrial solutions is greatly needed, as soldiers are only able to detect contamination while being in a dangerous zone.

"I'm still baffled by the fact that the [CBRN] soldier has to be in the contamination or has to drive through it to know there's contamination," Gervais said "We have to change this."