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The Chemical and Biological Threat to Naval Forces

Over the course of this study, the committee discovered a considerable mismatch between its view of the chemical and biological warfare threat to naval forces and what should be done about it, compared with the view of the Navy on these same issues. The latter, in fact, presented itself in many different ways. These varying views within the Navy should be reconciled and the elements of a path forward should be defined at the outset. This introductory chapter attempts to lay groundwork for that process by describing both the problem and the principles of a solution.

The committee found a more consistent and appropriately serious view of the threat among most organizations in the Marine Corps that were consulted during this study. As a result, the emphasis in this chapter and throughout the report tends to be on actions to be taken by the Navy, although areas for attention by the Marine Corps are noted when appropriate.

FRAMING THE PROBLEM

A Clear and Present Threat

To set the context for the findings, conclusions, and recommendations presented in Chapters 2 through 5, the committee first evaluates the present and projected threat of chemical and biological weapons to naval force operations in littoral and open-ocean regions.



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Naval Forces’ Defense Capabilities Against Chemical and Biological Warfare Threats 1 The Chemical and Biological Threat to Naval Forces Over the course of this study, the committee discovered a considerable mismatch between its view of the chemical and biological warfare threat to naval forces and what should be done about it, compared with the view of the Navy on these same issues. The latter, in fact, presented itself in many different ways. These varying views within the Navy should be reconciled and the elements of a path forward should be defined at the outset. This introductory chapter attempts to lay groundwork for that process by describing both the problem and the principles of a solution. The committee found a more consistent and appropriately serious view of the threat among most organizations in the Marine Corps that were consulted during this study. As a result, the emphasis in this chapter and throughout the report tends to be on actions to be taken by the Navy, although areas for attention by the Marine Corps are noted when appropriate. FRAMING THE PROBLEM A Clear and Present Threat To set the context for the findings, conclusions, and recommendations presented in Chapters 2 through 5, the committee first evaluates the present and projected threat of chemical and biological weapons to naval force operations in littoral and open-ocean regions.

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Naval Forces’ Defense Capabilities Against Chemical and Biological Warfare Threats In the committee’s assessment, there is a serious threat to naval forces from chemical and biological weapons today, and it is likely to grow with time. Because of the viability of short-range, land-based, or airborne-delivery systems, the littorals present a higher-risk environment than does the open ocean (which was the Cold War focus for chemical and biological weapons defense). But the committee believes that the threats could be even greater in ports, logistics chains, and military installations, where simple delivery methods can be utilized and reliance on commercial and/or foreign suppliers is the rule. As key technologies become more mature and widely available, adversaries armed with chemical or biological weapons can be expected to gain increased technical sophistication and operational capability. Taking into account the types of events listed in the prologue, this assessment of the chemical and biological threat to naval forces derives from the following principal factors: Today, chemical and biological weapons and/or weapons development programs can be found worldwide in every region where the possibility of interstate war exists. The programs of concern stretch in a virtually unbroken arc from Northern Africa through Southwest Asia, into South and Central Asia, up to Northeast Asia.1 Thus, in any theater where a major war is a planning imperative for U.S. military forces, chemical and biological threats are present. Moreover, among terrorist groups there is a rising interest in causing mass casualties and a parallel rising interest in the use of both chemical and biological weapons. Although many terrorists seem to regard the use of such weapons as unnecessary or counterproductive, the Japanese cult Aum Shinrikyo did acquire and use them for many purposes, including attacks on U.S. naval forces.2 Al Qaeda is said to have established the acquisition of chemical and biological weapons as a “holy duty” for Muslims in its war with the United States and its secular allies.3 Given the proclivity of terrorists for making broader use of techniques whose effectiveness has been demonstrated (as in the well-known examples of skyjacking and suicide bombings), precedents for and any encouragement of the use of chemical and biological weapons are a source of particular concern. The term “asymmetric strategy” has come into vogue to describe the kinds of approaches that regional powers and nonstate actors must pursue in confronting a country such as the United States that is militarily superior by any index of conven- 1   Cohen, William S., Secretary of Defense. 2001. Proliferation: Threat and Response, Washington, D.C. Available online at <http://www.defenselink.mil/pubs/ptr20010110.pdf>. 2   WuDunn, Sheryl, Judith Miller, and William J. Broad. 1998. “Sowing Death, A Special Report: How Japan Germ Terror Alerted World,” New York Times, May 26, p. A-1. 3   Yusufzai, Rahimulla. 1999. “Conversation with Terror,” Interview with Osama bin Laden, Time, Vol. 153, No. 1, p. 38.

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Naval Forces’ Defense Capabilities Against Chemical and Biological Warfare Threats tional and nuclear power. The logic of asymmetric conflict suggests that U.S. adversaries will target vulnerabilities in a military theater and in the homeland as a way to generate fear, induce “conflict fatigue,” and by coercion keep the United States from defending certain interests that the aggressor is challenging. For the bold and wellarmed adversary willing to try by asymmetric means to inflict operational defeat on U.S. forces across an entire theater, chemical or biological weapons may seem more destructive than conventional weapons, but, if employed in a targeted and controlled fashion, perhaps less likely than nuclear weapons to provoke unleashing of the full brunt of U.S. power. Compared with nuclear weapons, chemical or biological weapons are also more accessible and their use less easily attributed. How might chemical or biological weapons actually be used in asymmetric conflicts? Among the possibilities are threatened use, perhaps to dissuade the United States from attempting to reverse an act of aggression, to deter other nations from joining a U.S.-led coalition, or perhaps to coerce U.S. acceptance of tolerating the survival of a regime if its aggression is stopped. They further compound retaliatory strategies through diffuse operations, including those in and amongst civilians to achieve goals such as disruption or financial chaos. Such weapons might also be used in overt or covert attacks to slow the arrival of U.S. power projection forces or even to defeat coalition forces in theater, for example, or to cause widespread disruption and hardship in retaliatory attacks on the United States during or after a war.4 The Navy’s Current Views of the Threat Based on its collective experience and knowledge gained prior to and throughout this study, the committee observed that the Navy appears to lack a unified view of the threat posed by chemical or biological weapons. Some in the Navy do share the committee’s view of a clear and present threat and seek further insights into the threat’s precise character so as to be able to focus naval defense strategies. Among these taking the initiative to improve capabilities, however, some have tended to focus on the better-known approaches to countering chemical weapons, such as the Marine Corps’ Chemical and Biological Incident Response Force (CBIRF), sometimes mislabeling their efforts as constituting both a chemical and a biological defense. Others perceive both chemical and biological threats but see them as too hard to address and seem paralyzed about taking further steps. Still others simply do not recognize a problem and see no reason to dwell on the matter further. And some focus on both the improbability of an attack and the difficulty of a solution in order to rationalize placing attention and 4   For more on weapons of choice in asymmetric warfare, see Roberts, Bradley. 1998. Biological Weapons in Major Theater War, Institute for Defense Analyses, Alexandria, Va., November; and Roberts, Bradley. 2000. Asymmetric Conflict 2010, Institute for Defense Analyses, Alexandria, Va., November.

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Naval Forces’ Defense Capabilities Against Chemical and Biological Warfare Threats resources elsewhere. Examples of each of these views exist within individual commands and/or among individuals within a given command. To help address these disparate views and get past this potential stumbling block to progress in improving overall naval defensive posture, the committee offers the discussion below. Too hard? Many who regard defense against chemical and especially biological weapons as being too hard focus on the potential for their use to kill huge numbers of people and to cripple military operations. A recent study conducted jointly by the Defense Science Board (DSB) and the Threat Reduction Advisory Committee (TRAC) concluded that biological weapons are potentially “comparable to nuclear weapons” in the scale of damage they might do.5 If the problem posed by chemical or biological weapons is viewed as indeed overwhelming, then it seems to some that there is little that a military official might do to reduce the operational or political impact of such weapons used in a strategic role. The potential for massively destructive uses of chemical and biological weapons is real.6 But uses on that scale seem highly unlikely in the absence of a peer competitor actively concerned with the possibility of extinguishing U.S. society and institutions. National leadership appears to be assuming that the United States faces no such peer competitor in the foreseeable security environment because it has framed a defense strategy that describes instead a world in which a handful of regional powers and transnational terrorist organizations are acquiring weapons of mass destruction to gain regional dominance and to confound U.S. power projection strategies. The uses that such adversaries might make of chemical or biological weapons are unlikely to be “apocalyptic,” but rather “asymmetric,” as described above. In the committee’s view, the potentially catastrophic nature of chemical warfare (CW) or biological warfare (BW) and the potential utility of nuclear threats in deterring these most devastating types of attacks7 represent a very limited perspective of the threat that is now apparent. There are many other uses 5   Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics. 2001. Report of the Defense Science Board/Threat Reduction Advisory Committee Task Force on Biological Defense, Washington, D.C., June, p. v. 6   As both intelligence sources and a highly placed defector have stated, the Soviet Union intended to follow an initial intercontinental nuclear exchange with a salvo of biologically tipped missiles on American cities—missiles filled with biological agents engineered to reduce or eliminate the efficacy of antibiotic treatments that survivors might have used to treat the victims. See Alibek, Ken, and Stephen Handelman (contributor). 1999. Biohazard: The Chilling True Story of the Largest Covert Biological Weapons Program in the World Told from the Inside by the Man Who Ran It, Random House, New York. 7   Adversaries may well dismiss such U.S. threats as not being credible, given that their asymmetric tactics seem not to require retaliation with overwhelming force.

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Naval Forces’ Defense Capabilities Against Chemical and Biological Warfare Threats that could be operationally and/or politically advantageous for the adversary—and for which nuclear deterrence is irrelevant. Thus, reducing U.S. vulnerabilities is essential. Another part of the argument that CW or BW defense is too hard is based on the long-standing Department of Defense (DOD) emphasis on contamination avoidance, that is, driving to zero any direct exposure to the effects of chemical or biological weapons. This zero-risk approach is at odds with the fact that robust warning to avoid exposure remains a goal yet to be achieved, especially for BW, despite years of investment in developing technologies and systems for that purpose. The committee believes that such a philosophy must be reassessed in this era of asymmetric threats. A more prudent approach that accepts some level of risk and shifts investments to a balance among warning and response capabilities (e.g., decontamination, medical therapeutics, and countermeasures) is called for. Not a problem? Among those who do not believe that there is a problem the reasons are varied. One argument is that U.S. adversaries simply would not dare to use chemical or biological weapons because of the extreme punishment that the United States could and would inflict, whether military or political. The logic of asymmetric conflict, as described above, diminishes this argument. Adversaries may well believe that the threatened or actual use of chemical or biological weapons promises some benefits, at what is judged to be a reasonable risk. Some adversaries may even desire such punishment in the belief that it would be criticized as excessive and thus discredit the United States. A second argument for there being “no problem” follows from the lack of historical precedent for widespread military use of chemical and biological weapons. The United States did indeed relinquish both chemical and biological weapons, but not on the argument that they lack military utility. In fact, the U.S. weapons development program clearly demonstrated the tactical, operational, and strategic value of biological weapons. Their potential high utility and the relative ease of acquiring a biological weapons capability as opposed to a nuclear weapons capability were primary motivators of the Nixon administration’s decision to renounce biological weapons. The hope was that creating a norm and treaty regime against biological weapons would inhibit their proliferation to additional states and persuade states with existing programs to disarm.8 Lethal chemical weapons, with their more rapid lethal effects and limited area coverage (for individual bombs or artillery shells), were categorized as tactical weapons. While the United States had a no-first-use policy for chemical weapons, a defensive-only chemical capability would have placed the United States (and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)) at a disadvantage 8   For further discussion of the U.S. decision to renounce biological weapons, see Tucker, Jonathan. 2002. “A Farewell to Germs: The U.S. Renunciation of Biological and Toxin Weapons, 1969-1970,” International Security, Vol. 27, No. 1, June, pp. 107-149.

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Naval Forces’ Defense Capabilities Against Chemical and Biological Warfare Threats (i.e., due to the debilitating effects of defensive gear). Thus, the United States did retain offensive chemical weapons until chemical arms control agreements could be negotiated.9 In addition, the United States committed a significant level of effort to fashioning an ability to fight and survive against Warsaw Pact use of chemical weapons in spite of most other NATO members’ recalcitrance about doing the same. Any remaining doubts about how potential enemies might view the utility of such weapons ought to be set to rest by the revelations over the past decade of the biological weapons activities of Iraq, South Africa, and the Soviet Union/Russia—all of which exceeded assessments in both scale and sophistication. The third argument for the position that neither CW nor BW presents a serious problem is that naval forces are essentially invulnerable to whatever the threat may be, given their ability to maneuver away from toxic releases and the ability to close up and wash down many vessels. The committee believes that this argument fails to see the Navy as a whole. The majority of U.S. naval personnel are not at sea. Operations at sea depend on an extensive port and shore infrastructure system. Operations in theater depend not just on ports but also on host nation support, contractors, ready access to safe food and water, and the like. Even at sea the Navy is sometimes restricted in its ability to maneuver, especially if engaged close to shore. Moreover, to maneuver around a dispersed cloud of agent, naval forces must have a robust means to sense the presence of that cloud—a capability not now in existence. Furthermore, covert use of chemical and biological weapons does not require a technique for highly precise delivery, since dispersion downwind can make up for delivery shortfalls if the dispersion is modestly predictable. In the committee’s assessment, as the Navy transitions from being a deep-water force to a theater-support force engaged in littoral operations, it will face a more formidable challenge from both CW and BW. Limitations to What Intelligence Can Provide A further argument against the seriousness of a chemical or biological threat to naval forces is that the intelligence community has not made a strong case for type of biological threat. This committee is similarly unimpressed by threat assessments that focus on technical descriptions of chemical or biological warfare agents and do not address operational issues from both adversarial and U.S. 9   On November 25, 1969, U.S. President Richard Nixon declared that the United States would unilaterally renounce the first use of lethal or incapacitating chemical weapons and would unconditionally renounce all methods of biological warfare. The U.S. biological program would be confined strictly to research on defensive measures such as communication. The President further instructed the Department of Defense to draw up a plan for the disposal of existing stocks of biological agents and weapons.

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Naval Forces’ Defense Capabilities Against Chemical and Biological Warfare Threats perspectives. On the basis of the information presented to the committee, the Office of Naval Intelligence’s (ONI’s) own characterization of the threat appeared to be deficient, for reasons elaborated below, but it is important for skeptics to understand some of the reasons why the picture drawn by the intelligence community is not more compelling. CW and BW development programs are inherently difficult for the intelligence community to assess. Many such programs are embedded in dual-use capabilities: that is, they have both legitimate commercial and military as well as terrorist purposes. Also, the “footprint” for acquiring a capability (e.g., production, storage, delivery) is inherently small, compounding the detection challenge. Moreover, proliferators have been able to study Iraqi, Soviet, and other’s techniques of concealment and deception to make such targets more difficult to identify and characterize. The difficulty of accurately characterizing adversary capabilities is well illustrated by the revelations of the last decade about undetected weapons development in South Africa and elsewhere.10 The intelligence community has been harshly criticized for not doing well enough with the information that is available.11 The standard approach of the intelligence community characterizes the CW or BW threat in technical as opposed to operational terms. For example, threat agents and their technical characteristics are described and countries of concern are listed, but trends in the proliferation of delivery systems are not generally linked with weapon configurations to provide insight into overall capabilities. Insights into adversaries’ strategies and tactics and thus concepts of operations are rare. The result is an assessment that conveys little about the operational implications of adversaries’ possession and use of chemical or biological weapons. Threat briefings by the intelligence community have done a poor job of informing the military decision maker’s understanding of how an adversary might employ chemical or biological weapons to achieve specific objectives with resulting consequences for U.S. missions and plans. As the recent DSB/TRAC study concluded, in order to avoid future BW surprise, the intelligence community must completely reengineer its focus, process, and product, enlisting expertise that it does not currently have with respect to biological weapons 10   Burgess, Steven F., and Helen E. Purkitt. 2001. The Rollback of South Africa’s Chemical and Biological Warfare Program, U.S. Air Force Counterproliferation Center, Air War College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. See also Kay, David A. 1995. “Denial and Deception Practices of WMD Proliferators: Iraq and Beyond,” Washington Quarterly, Vol. 18, No. 1 (Winter), p. 83. 11   Concern about the community’s ability to track and interpret available information has been regularly flagged by independent studies and analyses and is a regular topic of congressional discussion as the hearings after September 11 illustrate. Earlier documented concerns can be found in the following: Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology. 1997. Defense Science Board 1997 Summer Study Task Force on DoD Responses to Transnational Threats, Final Report, Vol. 1, Washington, D.C., October.

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Naval Forces’ Defense Capabilities Against Chemical and Biological Warfare Threats and assessing a much broader range of information sources, most especially human intelligence.12 Having more and better information about adversaries’ CW or BW capabilities and intentions would undoubtedly be useful. To the extent that new approaches by the intelligence community can provide that information, Navy leadership should support them. It is important to recognize, however, that such information may not simply be lying somewhere in secret, awaiting discovery by the right means; the complexities of attribution may make the task of capturing such intelligence impossible, since hard information about when, where, why, and how chemical and biological weapons will be used may not in fact exist until a time of crisis or war and may therefore not be possible to ferret out ahead of time. What Is Known Today The committee recognizes that debating the nature of the CW or BW threat tends to distract attention from the simple fact that a great deal is already known. A number of states have been confirmed as having chemical and/or biological weapons and the means to deliver them. An additional number of states are suspected of being well along in one or more of these areas. Still others are known to have the technical capability to move to a weapons program whenever a decision is made to do so. Transnational terrorist organizations have shown both interest and some competency in chemical and biological weapons. States sometimes collaborate with terrorists, and the known state sponsors of terrorism are also the known possessors of banned weapons. These facts ought to be clear enough to persuade any military planner of the importance of being prepared to operate in a CW or BW environment.13 STEPS TOWARD IMPLEMENTING A SOLUTION Subsequent chapters of this report present general and specific recommendations in a variety of topical areas. The committee’s purpose in the remainder of this chapter is to elaborate three basic principles upon which the recommendations of this report are built. To focus its response strategies effectively, the Navy should emphasize these three key principles: 12   Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics. 2001. Report of the Defense Science Board/Threat Reduction Advisory Committee Task Force on Biological Defense, Washington, D.C., June, pp. 74-78. 13   DOD has identified Libya, Sudan, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, India, China, North Korea, and Russia as countries of concern with respect to nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons capability. See Office of the Secretary of Defense. 2001. Proliferation: Threat and Response, 3rd ed., Washington, D.C., January. Available online at <http://www.defenselink.mil/pubs/ptr20010110.pdf>.

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Naval Forces’ Defense Capabilities Against Chemical and Biological Warfare Threats Recognize that chemical weapons and biological weapons constitute different threats. Each has a set of unique requirements for achieving an acceptable defensive posture. Manage to risk, not to threat alone. There should be use of risk assessments that combine a broad view of adversary intent and force vulnerabilities with an analysis of the operational consequences of adversary actions and defensive countermeasures to these (passive and active), to understand the impact on accomplishing a mission and on overall campaign success. Adopt a reasoned view of chemical and biological weapons exposure environments—not simply worst-case scenarios—to prioritize investments of people, time, and dollars. Requirements for defense against chemical and biological weapons should be based on operationally realistic exposure environments; levels of protection should be established to accept casualties that are consistent with those expected from conventional operations spanning similar time and spatial domains. Each of these principles is elaborated below and then tied to the emphasis on capabilities-based planning in the most recent Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR).14 Recognizing That Chemical and Biological Weapons Pose Different Threats A first and fundamental principle is that the threats posed by chemical and biological weapons are similar but not identical. Many in naval leadership positions tend to lump chemical and biological defense together and to link such defense closely with protection against nuclear, radiological, and other types of unconventional attack. Lost in the process is an appreciation of the essential distinctions between and the defenses needed against chemical and biological weapons. Throughout this report, the committee attempts to note how responses to chemical risks can be similar to and different from responses to biological risks, both technically and operationally. Chemical and biological warfare agents have different technical characteristics that require appropriate operational responses. Chemical weapons are poisons whose direct physiological effects are generally well characterized. They incapacitate or kill by damaging the exterior of the human body (e.g., the burns of mustard agent) or its interior processes (e.g., interference with the processing of gases in the blood and/or the flow of nerve impulses throughout the nervous system). The effectiveness of deployed chemical weapons may be temporary or 14   Rumsfeld, Donald H., Secretary of Defense. 2001. Quadrennial Defense Review Report, Washington, D.C., September 30. Available online at <www.defenselink.mil/pubs/qdr2001.pdf>.

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Naval Forces’ Defense Capabilities Against Chemical and Biological Warfare Threats persistent. Some chemical agents have both short- and long-term toxic and genetic effects. (Toxins, although of biological origin, behave similarly to and should be understood technically and operationally as chemical agents.) Generally, chemical agents are considered tactical weapons: Their effects on forces are immediate or nearly so and their practical employment range limited. Their strategic value would come largely from inducing fear or by degrading the overall effectiveness of naval forces by placing them in a continuous protective posture. (Appendix B lists various chemical agents and their effects, including effective doses and rates of action.) Biological weapons contain microbes that harm or kill through replication in the infected body. They are neither dermally active nor volatile as compared with chemical agents. Because the microbial agent can replicate, extremely low-level exposures can infect an individual and may lead to contamination of many more people than were first exposed, if the agent is transmissible (e.g., smallpox). Biological weapons are vulnerable to meteorological factors in ways that chemical weapons are not: for example, exposure to sunlight may quickly kill some types. Other agents, such as anthrax, are more persistent in the environment. BW agents are not generally used for tactical advantage since the onset of their effects occurs in hours or days, not minutes. However, an infected naval unit can be out of action for extended periods once an agent starts to cause symptoms. (Appendix B also lists biological agents and some of their properties, including effective doses and onset times. The reader is also referred to the DSB/TRAC report for a more detailed primer on biological weapons and their effects.15) Given the technical differences between chemical and biological weapons, means of employment and targets will probably differ for the two weapon types, with different operational implications for U.S. forces. A chemical attack could be delivered either by standard military ordnance on target or by covert means, though the latter approach would likely reduce the quantity of agent deliverable and limit the possibility of sustained re-attack. Chemical attacks could also include toxic industrial chemicals (TICs). A biological attack may be delivered by standard ordnance, but because the necessary quantities to achieve target coverage are so small when compared to those for chemical agents, unconventional delivery becomes more attractive, as the anthrax attacks conducted through the mail demonstrated in the fall of 2001. In contrast to chemical attacks, biological attacks may go undetected until illness begins to present itself, hours, days, or even weeks later. Attack with a biological agent is not simply another version of “getting slimed,” as with a chemical agent, and the differences point to different requirements for defense posture. 15   Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics. 2001. Report of the Defense Science Board/Threat Reduction Advisory Committee Task Force on Biological Defense, Washington, D.C., June, pp. 13-29.

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Naval Forces’ Defense Capabilities Against Chemical and Biological Warfare Threats As with other forms of warfare, there is a “learning curve” associated with acquiring an effective CW or BW capability. At the low end of the curve are initial research and development (R&D) and the production of traditional threat agents. A bit higher up the curve are improved technical solutions to the challenges of effective weaponization and closer integration of the R&D and operator communities. Higher up the curve is an understanding of an opponent’s vulnerabilities and a focused effort to exploit those vulnerabilities with tailored agents and delivery systems. Higher yet is an exploitation of advancing technologies to enhance the potency, specificity, and survivability of both chemical and biological agents. Circumventing any of these steps in the learning curve is possible (e.g., through buying a capability outright), and lower levels of capability can still cause significant damage. But the Navy should recognize that a determined adversary committed for the long term will make steady progress with time and experience—with the potential to create an ever more formidable threat. As intelligence community leaders repeatedly emphasize, nation-state proliferator programs are climbing this curve.16 Proliferator programs are becoming more sophisticated, and the resulting capabilities are being integrated into the different states’ military systems and postures. Although terrorist success in mastering these capabilities has been limited, it was reported in the late 1990s that both Aum Shinrikyo and al Qaeda had made significant investments and were at work assembling potentially effective capabilities.17 In the CW realm, those states that have dabbled in entry-level capabilities with first- and secondgeneration chemical warfare agents appear to be moving on to third- and fourthgeneration agents.18 In the BW realm, there is sharply rising concern about the impact of the biotechnology revolution on the BW threat. As the recent DSB/ TRAC study emphasizes, the likely impact of this revolution on the threat over the coming decade could be a dramatic transformation in the threat: “Time is short. Modern molecular biology has not yet been effectively applied to biological warfare, but when and if it is, a defense against the resulting weapon will be very difficult. It is critical to stop the development of biological weapons.”19 A 16   Roberts, Bradley. 1998. Biological Weapons in Major Theater War, D-2234, Institute for Defense Analyses, Alexandria, Va., November, pp. 5-6. 17   See Kaplan, David, and Andrew Marshall. 1996. The Cult at the End of the World: The Terrifying Story of the Aum Doomsday Cult from the Subways of Tokyo to the Nuclear Arsenals of Russia, Crown Publishers, New York; and Lifton, Robert J. 1999. Destroying the World to Save It: Aum Shinrikyo, Apocalyptic Violence, and the New Global Terrorism, Henry Holt, New York. 18   Director, Central Intelligence Agency. 2003. Unclassified Report to Congress on the Acquisition of Technology Relating to Weapons of Mass Destruction and Advanced Conventional Munitions, 1 July Through 31 December 2001, Washington, D.C., January 7. Available online at <http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/bian/bian_jan_2003.htm>. 19   Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics. 2001. Major Findings, Report of the Defense Science Board/Threat Reduction Advisory Committee Task Force on Biological Defense, Washington, D.C., June, p. 1.

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Naval Forces’ Defense Capabilities Against Chemical and Biological Warfare Threats recent study by the JASONs20 similarly underscored the potential impact of genetic modification techniques on the threat.21 Proliferators also appear increasingly capable of engineering work-arounds to U.S. defenses, which are evolving slowly. Managing to Risk, Not to Threat Alone In developing strategies to address the CW or BW threat, it is important to understand that the threat will present itself differently to different parts of the naval force. Ships operating in deep water face one set of risks. Ships operating close to shore face another. Ports, shore installations, and bases have their own vulnerabilities, both outside and within the continental United States. The logistics infrastructure presents its own problems in the face of CW or BW threats. And Marine operations have their own special vulnerabilities, as do activities associated with special operations forces. This fundamental understanding is not, however, reflected in the current Joint CBD Program, which is crafted on a philosophy of contamination avoidance in all situations, in spite of Joint Staff guidance to the contrary.22 More realistic and practical is a risk management approach which assumes that contamination will happen and balances avoidance with managing the response. With an understanding of the threat as described above, it is possible to take the next step, to characterize risk. As a first step to characterize risk, Tables 1.1 and 1.2 should be completed by the Navy in order to provide a notional comparative assessment of the vulnerability of different types of naval assets to attack with different types of weapons and the expected consequences. To help manage the situation requires that risk then, represents the combination of the threat, vulnerability, and consequence in the judgment of the decision maker. When completed, Table 1.1 would offer a summary of such risks to U.S. naval forces in time of war against a nation-state armed with chemical or biological weapons, and Table 1.2 would offer analogous risks 20   JASON is a rotating group of the nation’s foremost scientists who have, since the late 1950s, devoted extensive time and energy to problems of national security. 21   Block, Steven M., et al. 1997. Living Nightmares: Biological Threats Enabled by Molecular Biology, JASON (MITRE Corporation), McLean, Va., (classified). For an unclassified summary, see Steven Block’s chapter in Drell, Sidney D., Abraham D. Sofaer, and George D. Wilson (eds.). 1999. The New Terror: Facing the Threat of Biological and Chemical Weapons, Hoover Institution Press, Stanford, Calif., pp. 5-38. 22   “Chemical Warfare (CW) Agent Exposure Planning Guidance,” Joint Staff memorandum MCM0026-02, April 29, 2002, Office of the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, states: “In the execution of the force’s mission, all commanders should conduct a risk assessment, balancing exposure to contamination and other risks in light of joint task force priorities. This is essential to operational risk management.”

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Naval Forces’ Defense Capabilities Against Chemical and Biological Warfare Threats TABLE 1.1 Nation-state Attack in Time of War—Notional Assessment of Vulnerability/Operational Consequences for Naval Assets   Vulnerability to/Operational Consequences of Attack by: Targets Chemical Agents Biological Agents Explosives Industrial Chemicals Ships at sea   Ships in littoral waters   Ships in commercial ports   CONUS military installations   CONUS/OCONUS logistics   TABLE 1.2 Terrorist (or Asymmetric) Attack—Notional Assessment of Vulnerability/Operational Consequences for Naval Assets   Vulnerability to/Operational Consequences of Attack by: Targets Chemical Agents Biological Agents Explosives Industrial Chemicals Ships at sea         Ships in littoral waters         Ships in commercial ports         CONUS military installations         CONUS/OCONUS logistics         posed by terrorists. In summary, the tables are provided as an illustration of the type of analyses that the Navy ought to conduct in each command with a view to particularizing the risk management plan. With this perspective on the risk of chemical or biological attacks to naval forces, it is possible to draw some conclusions about the Navy’s present focus. In this committee’s assessment, the Navy has paid too much attention to certain types of risks and too little attention to others. It has paid too much attention to the risk that ships at sea will have to cope with—namely, the types of high-density attacks that were a serious risk to land forces in the event of U.S.–Soviet war. It has paid too little attention to the risks to ports, bases, and logistic infrastructure and to operations in littoral waters. The changing role of the Navy in the post-Cold War security environment obliges it to come to terms with missions in which it cannot readily steam away and use the open ocean as a refuge. These include operations in littoral waters, visits to foreign ports, reliance on foreign port logistic support, and close shore support of Marine forces, all in the context of growing reliance of U.S. adversaries on asymmetric tactics.

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Naval Forces’ Defense Capabilities Against Chemical and Biological Warfare Threats Adopting a Reasoned View of Chemical and Biological Weapons Exposure Environments In designing a protective posture against chemical or biological warfare agents, it is necessary to have some understanding of the exposure levels that forces might encounter. The Joint CBD Program—in establishing requirements under the contamination avoidance philosophy and driven largely by the environments expected by the Army—has focused on conditions at or near the point of release of warfare agents. Adopting a risk-based approach leads to a different concept for setting requirements—one based on challenge instead of threat. “Challenge” is defined as the physical conditions of the threat environment that those requirements must address. In the case of chemical and biological agents, challenge is defined in terms of concentration (vapor) or deposition (liquid or solid) and duration (time of exposure). At the height of the Cold War, challenge concentrations were defined against the Soviet threat, which was then massive. Protective garments (suits and masks) were required to withstand a liquid chemical challenge of 10 g/m2 and a chemical vapor challenge of 5,000 to 10,000 mg-min/m3—conditions typical of the center of a chemical munitions detonation, especially if delivered by artillery in a standard firing pattern.23 Biological weapons challenge parameters were not defined; rather, it was assumed that protective measures effective against chemical weapons would be effective against biological weapons. Current design requirements for garments are still based on this challenge, and properly used gear is intended to provide 100 percent protection against the defined challenge. The Navy should consider whether these challenge levels are appropriate for the post-Cold War threat environment. The current requirements have been set from a combination of factors: the legacy concerns of the Army in battlefield environments, the constraints of the Joint CBD Program (described more fully in Chapter 2, Box 2.1) that tend to drive requirements to meet those concerns, and the lack of realistic analyses by the Navy to allow an understanding of how its operational needs might differ from those established in the Joint CBD Program. While the chemical challenge defined above might exist at the center of an open-air detonation, the challenge is much diminished a short distance away. Moreover, in the types of asymmetric attacks on naval forces described in the risk matrixes in Tables 1.1 and 1.2, which could include attacks aimed at facilities or ship interiors, sustained precision attack with chemical munitions is highly unlikely. The more likely scenarios involve at most infrequent attack with uncertain but not Sovietstyle consequences. Moreover, explicit considerations of the differences that a 23   Barrett, Gloria, Program Manager, Enhanced Soldier Systems. 1999. Presentation to Advisory Panel on Strategies to Protect the Health of Deployed U.S. Forces, Task 2.3: Physical Protection and Decontamination, Soldier Systems Center, Soldier and Biological Chemical Command, Natick, Mass., November 16.

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Naval Forces’ Defense Capabilities Against Chemical and Biological Warfare Threats biological attack would introduce also need to be considered. An outcome of such naval force–specific analyses might be an easing of the technical or operational requirements for naval passive–defense gear. Relaxing the current policy from full protection in all situations to lower levels of protection in defined situations could prove invaluable in avoiding the degradation of individual and unit performance. Capabilities-based Planning The three points discussed above for framing the solution, coupled with the inherent limitations on intelligence related to CW and BW threats, are consistent with a central theme of the 2001 QDR—a shift of emphasis to capabilities-based planning. This shift …reflects the fact that the United States cannot predict with confidence what nation, combination of nations, or non-state actor will pose future threats to vital U.S. interests. A capabilities-based model broadens the strategic perspective. It requires identifying capabilities that U.S. military forces will need to deter and defeat adversaries who will rely on surprise, deception, and asymmetric warfare to achieve their objectives. It focuses more on how an adversary might fight than on who the adversary might be and where a war might occur. The shift is intended to refocus planners on the growing range of capabilities that adversaries might possess or could develop.24 Although addressing military capabilities in general, these statements regarding capabilities-based planning are particularly relevant to the approach and solutions for chemical and biological weapons defense—and should provide the basis for the path forward for the Navy. 24   Rumsfeld, Donald H., Secretary of Defense. 2001. Quadrennial Defense Review Report, Washington, D.C., September 30. Available online at <www.defenselink.mil/pubs/qdr2001.pdf>.