Pentagon focuses funding request on program to counter biological weapons

The Pentagon recently requested funding for the Nimble Elder program, which tracks weapons of mass destruction.


The Department of Defense received new information showing an increased need to locate chemical and biological weapons, according to USA Today.


Nimble Elder uses teams to track WMD and work with combatant commands to rapidly deploy teams to crisis locations around the world. The teams work with technical support to "provide the (combatant commands) and other U.S. government agencies with the capability to counter WMD threats," USA Today reports.


Officials requested $6.8 million for "low-visibility Chemical/Biological search," but DTRA officials refused to comment on Nimble Elder, saying the program is classified.


"Biological weapons are a considerable threat that we need to pay attention to and develop new capabilities that are able to respond to bio threats," Gerald Parker, a former deputy assistant secretary of Defense for chemical and biological defense, said, according to USA Today. "Bio threats can emanate from state-sponsored and non-state-sponsored programs."


Federation of American Scientists Senior Fellow in non-proliferation law and policy Christopher Bidwell said creating biological weapons is easier than it used to be, and costs significantly less to develop, USA Today reports.


"It's cheaper, there's more knowledge being transferred and the gene sequence for creating a biological agent has gone from costing millions of dollars per sequence to a few thousand," Bidwell said, according to USA Today.