Featured Article: Entomological “Weapons” of Mass Destruction
Entomological “Weapons” of Mass Destruction
by Thomas F. Moore
Although states have used a variety of systems to deliver weapons of mass destruction (WMD), we are, in fact, surrounded by practically ubiquitous delivery vehicles for WMD, insects, for example. States have worked to seize the benefits of these load-bearing bugs in the past, investing in programs that can leverage the unique benefits they afford. Insects are ideal delivery devices for launching a state-sponsored, biological-weapons attack and present an attractive option over mechanical-delivery vehicles because they are readily available, effective, and difficult to attribute. This article argues that the U.S. interagency consider insects as potential, biological-WMD-delivery vehicles, capable of harming U.S. citizens and agriculture. In this article, I first describe the benefits of insects as delivery devices for biological agents and discuss the advantages they provide over traditional, mechanical-delivery devices. Next, I provide a brief history of five states, all signatories to the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), and their efforts to develop entomological warfare programs. Third, I discuss contemporary threats and highlight recent advances in biotechnology that exacerbate the threat of biological weapons today. Finally, I recommend that the interagency obtain a comprehensive understanding of why states might be incentivized to conduct an entomological attack.
There are a number of reasons why insects are ideal delivery devices for naturally-occurring or genetically-engineered pathogens…
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Thomas F. Moore is the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army Nuclear and CWMD Agency (USANCA). He received a M.S. Degree in WMD Studies as a National Defense University Countering WMD Graduate Fellow.