impact on warfighter readiness and operational effectiveness but so can a small amount artfully or serendipitously focused and delivered.
What should be the strategies that underlie the CBD program? It may be that it is to defend massed US ground forces against a Soviet-like attack, but that objective is a very limited one, and current efforts—based on suits and masks of uncertain value—are focused on a historical threat, and do nothing to reduce the possibility of strategic surprise. There are so many ways that new weapons (e.g., a “chemical suicide bomber,” or, in a few years, “swarm” attacks using CB weapons) can be used that fixating on the cold-war threat is probably addressing a low-risk event. Staying with a historical threat, and not rethinking the problem, is, of course, choosing: “Not to choose is to choose.”
THE USE CASES HAVE CHANGED
Conventional Military Engagements
- Use against Troops in the Field. The evaluation of conventional military agents against equipped, protected troops in maneuver warfare (in the imagined Fulda gap battlefield) is believed to be relatively ineffective, at least in part because covering a significant area with an effective concentration requires very large amounts of agent. The correctness of this evaluation has never been tested, especially for combat in hot climates, in urban or jungle warfare, in innovative attacks against high-value facilities, or in special operations. Requiring troops to perform at high tempo in hot climates, in protective gear, would probably require much lower amounts to be effective than in cooler climates. The influence of protective gear on vision, and on the ability to work in warm climates are well understood intellectually, but their impact on the ability to perform combat operations has not been convincingly evaluated.
- Use against Bases or High-Value Sites. When valuable, and mission-critical, supplies are assembled in concentrated temporary storage in one place (as a port of debarkation or embarkation, a large logistics base), the use of a highly toxic and persistent agent is a plausible way of slowing or stopping operations. Especially in the early stages of a forced entry, a counterattack (perhaps a swarming attack combining rockets, clouds, and suicide missions with trucks and boats) could dramatically slow the tempo of operations (but would again require extensive preparation and synthesis, and large quantities of materials).