Development, and Engineering Center (NSRDEC), US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID), US Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense (USAMRICD), and the Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC). At the various sites, the committee had the opportunity to view relevant facilities, meet with the facility senior leadership, and have discussions with principle investigators and other relevant personnel.

Further details on the committee’s data-gathering efforts can be found in Appendix A. The committee also received documents and other materials for review and made specific information requests between meetings that were submitted through the office of the DASD(CBD). Unfortunately, only a fraction of the written information requested was made available to the committee.3 Despite this, the committee is confident that they were able to fully meet their charge with the information received during briefings and site visits.

Information received during the data-gathering process was examined during committee deliberations and the findings, conclusions, and recommendations are described in this report.

THE THREAT IS AMORPHOUS

The Threat Cannot Be Defined Solely by the Number of Expected Casualties

The United States remains the dominant conventional military force, but experience in a succession of wars—from Vietnam to Afghanistan—have made it clear that a conventional force cannot necessarily respond effectively to non-conventional engagements. The use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and explosively formed projectiles (EFPs) provides simple examples: both classes of weapons were well known, but because they were widely available and inexpensive, they have caused politically significant numbers of casualties, and have required disproportionately expensive countermeasures (e.g., armored vehicles, types of operations). The war in Afghanistan is not about exchange ratios or attrition of forces; it is about political advantage, and the patience of the Afghani, Pakistani, and American people regarding the course of the war.

Is there potential for adversaries to create chemical and biological weapons that are as effective as IEDs and suicide bombers? If so, why have they not already been tried? The answer to the first question is

_______________________

3 For example, the committee became aware of a report entitled “Chemical and Biological Defense Core Capabilities” released by the Institute of Defense Analyses in March 2007. The committee was not able to review this report during the course of the study.



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement