Meanwhile, there is a need to teach, reinforce, and strengthen ethical standards of the S&T community against the production and use of biological weapons; this will reduce the likelihood of scientists working in covert programs and increase the chance of them helping to abort malevolent efforts.

Although much has been written about the potential efficacy (or inefficacy) of ways to deter biological attacks, the S&T community has yet to fully explore means for strengthening deterrence. An obvious option is biological forensics (discussed later), because without reliable attribution, most deterrence strategies are likely to fail. Nucleic acid sequence databases for pathogen strain types and advances in chemical-trace analysis and the use of taggants will help the process of attribution, thus discouraging terrorism, but they will by no means guarantee that perpetrators can be identified.

The greatest potential benefit of a counterterrorism strategy might derive from preemptive efforts at earlier points in the bioterrorism-attack timeline—that is, the evolution of a bioweapons program from inception through weapon deployment, before any biological agent is released. The S&T communities have had relatively little input into detection and characterization of terrorist activities during this early stage, yet they could offer significant untapped resources. Opportunities for their involvement in the area of human intelligence should be explored (see Box 3.1).

BOX 3.1
Opportunities for Integrating the Intelligence and S&T Communities

Short Term

  • Recruit members of the S&T community for assistance and advice on the collection and early analysis of relevant human intelligence in bioterrorism activities.

  • Promote collaborative research programs that enhance contact between members of the S&T community and scientists from former or current biowarfare or bioterrorism research programs (e.g., cooperative research programs).

  • Develop a database for locating bioterrorism or related expertise in academic and industrial laboratories.

Long Term

  • Recruit and train intelligence analysts in state-of-the-art biology, microbiology, and bioinformatics.

  • Train or sensitize working scientists to recognize malevolent intent, as well as signatures of offensive bioweapons programs, and develop a plan for sharing this information with appropriate parties.

  • Facilitate the development of tools for aiding in the recognition of such signatures.

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