DoD report outlines strategies to counter bioweapons

The U.S. Department of Defense recently identified biological weapons as a continuing threat in a comprehensive outline of its strategy to counter weapons of mass destruction.

The DoD report said that the continuing evolution of WMDs or innovative concepts to utilize and employ existing technology, including biological weapons, pose a specific threat to U.S. interests.

The report noted that global access to both biotechnology capabilities and life science research is advancing at a rapid pace. Those trends increase the risk, whether by intention or accident, that novel biological agents could be created.

The DoD also said that emerging infectious disease outbreaks and dangerous pathogen collections allow for the illicit acquisition of those agents. Endemic diseases could present a threat to U.S. military forces if they pose an operationally significant risk.

The report identified three end goals of its counter-WMD strategy: no new WMD possession, no WMD use and the minimization of WMD effects. The DoD tries to achieve those goals through four objectives outlined in the report: a reduction in incentives to pursue WMDs, increasing barriers to acquisition of weapons, managing risks posed by WMDs from hostile or failed states and denying the effects of current and emerging WMD threats.

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