Sen. Lugar details risks posed by bioweapons

Senator Richard Lugar (R–Ind.) gave a policy speech on November 8 in Madrid, Spain, that detailed how the Nunn-Lugar initiative will expand globally to face the risks posed by biological weaponry.

“The global spread of advanced technologies, the rise of asymmetric warfare, and the growing interdependence of societies and economies have made discerning the intentions of potential adversaries more important than ever before,” Lugar said in his speech. “The footprint of weapons-producing laboratories and the size of today’s strategic weapons grow smaller every day. A delivery system may be as mundane as a commercial cargo carrier. In the case of infectious pathogens, the delivery system could be an individual human being.”

Lugar, former Chairman and now Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was in Spain to give the keynote address to the first International Conference on Science and International Security at the Madrid Polytechnic Institute.

Lugar will next travel to Uganda, Burundi and Kenya with a team of experts from the Pentagon. He plans to inspect a number of disease laboratories and test sites. Lugar also expects to reach cooperative security and research agreements with those governments. He called for more international scientific cooperation in order to counter the spread of biological weapons.

“The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the diffusion of scientific knowledge are inextricably linked,” Lugar said. “Agents used in chemical weapons became part of chemotherapy. Rockets designed to carry nuclear warheads also deliver modern communications satellites into orbit. Today, any scientist here could post his or her research online, and within moments it is available to those seeking to use that knowledge for either constructive or destructive purposes.”