Department of Defense warns of "next big thing" in bioterrorism

The Department of Defense's Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter warned a group of experts this week that the department is already monitoring scientists over fears of the "next big thing" in terror.

The DoD is concerned about a new form of bioterrorism utilizing synthetic germs created in labs around the world. As a precaution, Carter said that the DoD is already watching scientists to "make sure they don't get into trouble," Business Insider reports.

The DoD believes that weaponized diseases will be used against Americans on the battlefield and at home and says that it has made preparations for that eventuality.

"It's going to be a defense problem," Carter said, according to Business Insider. "They will be used in war. They will be used in terrorism."

The DoD is now working to balance its work on existing pathogens, such as anthrax, with work on potential pathogens.

Carter warned the group that it's the potential pathogens that now carry the highest risk.

As a precaution, Carter said, the department is watching scientists involved in immunology research and germ development, with a closer eye kept on those who have previously bred pathogens. Scientists with the "know how" to make a germ are also under scrutiny, according to Business Insider.