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This included extensive new investments in research and production facilities, new laboratory construction at Fort Detrick, a large production plant at Pine Bluff Arsenal, and new production equipment for anti-personnel BW cluster bombs. American forces interviewed Japanese servicemen involved with the program after the war and discovered Japan's widespread use during the war of pathogens to spread plague , anthrax, and other diseases throughout the Chinese military and civilian population.

In the s and s, the U. BW program developed a wide range of biological weapons that utilized toxins such as botulinum and enterotoxin B; anti-crop pathogens such as wheat rust; non-lethal, incapacitating pathogens such as Coxiella burnetii Q-fever and Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus; and lethal, anti-personnel pathogens such as Bacillus anthracis anthrax. During the Korean War, China and North Korea accused the United States of using a wide variety of biological weapons agents, including pathogens that cause smallpox, plague, cholera , and other diseases, but no objective investigation was made to verify these allegations.

Preparing to deal with the threat from chemical, biological and nuclear weapons

The Commission alleged that on fifty occasions, the United States had used biological weapons in North Korea. Other apparently spurious accusations of U. Since , the Cuban government has leveled eleven accusations against the United States of using biological weapons against its human, animal, and plant populations. In the United States initiated Project whose objectives were to examine the strategic impact of both chemical and biological weapons. Laird, launched a review of American biological and chemical weapons policies and programs. The review was spurred by public and congressional pressure over the U.

In March , over 6, sheep in Utah were killed after a cloud of VX gas drifted off the testing range at the Dugway Proving Grounds. Focusing on the BW program, Laird's policy review process generated differences of opinion among the relevant agencies; on the one hand, the President's Scientific Advisory Committee PSAC advocated that the United States should retain a solely defensive BW program, as it viewed biological weapons as unreliable and useless. On the other hand, the military, as represented by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, disagreed, viewing biological weapons as both reliable and an important part of overall strategic deterrence.

On 25 November President Nixon announced his decision to abolish all offensive BW capabilities but to retain a defensive program.

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Nixon's decision to dismantle stemmed from several considerations. First, Nixon was convinced that biological weapons had little tactical utility, and were not an effective strategic deterrent, especially when compared to nuclear weapons. Third, in unilaterally giving up biological weapons, Nixon hoped to encourage other countries to do the same. Destruction of the biological weapons stockpiles took place at Pine Bluff Arsenal in Arkansas, the primary production facility.

The destruction of BW agents was successfully completed in May Immediately following the decision to dismantle the BW program, a bureaucratic debate ensued over how to address toxins, owing in part to the question of whether toxins should be considered chemical or biological weapons. The Department of Defense viewed toxins as chemical weapons that should not be banned. Furthermore, the military believed that toxins offered advantages over other chemical weapons because of their high potency per unit weight and their multivarious effects.

During the s, the United States played an important role in investigating allegations that the Soviet Union had provided mycotoxins to its communist allies in Vietnam and Laos. The Hmong are an ethnic group who allied with the United States during the Vietnam War, and so these attacks were believed to originate with the Soviet Union or its allies. Most of the reports described aircraft dispersing yellow material over targeted villages, causing severe illness, often leading to death, among inhabitants.

Since the material usually resembled solid yellow dots, the local people named it "Yellow Rain". The investigation led the United States to conclude that the Soviet Union had developed a biological toxin derived from fungi as a weapons agent, and had provided the toxin to its allies in North Vietnam. On the request of the United States, the United Nations conducted two field investigations of Yellow Rain in and , but both reported inconclusive findings.

In the United States became a participant of the Australia Group , whose initial objective was to develop robust export controls on dual-use chemical warfare material. In the early s, the Australia Group expanded its scope to include dual-use biological warfare material. First, U. To date, no further negotiations on the draft Ad Hoc Protocol have commenced. The September 11, terrorist attacks and subsequent unrelated anthrax attacks on the United States generated major national concern over the potential for biological terrorism. These fears were intensified by simulations such as Operation Dark Winter, which illustrated preparedness gaps in the U.

The scope of U. The aircraft itself comprises space very different from that of the terminal. The cabin features a relatively small, confined space with a very high density of passengers, crew, and carry-on bags. The minimum passenger residence time on an aircraft is about 1 hour, with maximum times stretching to 14 hours for very long distance flights. Well-publicized penalties for deviant passenger behavior and for failure to obey crew instructions have conditioned passengers to behave in a more compliant manner than can be expected in terminals.

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Airflow is also better controlled in an aircraft. Virtually all aircraft have the same basic physical configuration. The Environmental Control System ECS is crucial for maintaining air quality during a flight, and the vast majority of aircraft have similar localized airflow patterns Figure During a flight on a typical airliner, 50 percent of outside air is mixed with 50 percent filtered, recirculated air, with complete exchange of the cabin air volume every 2 to 3 minutes.

Biosecurity Booklet

Although there are few access points to an aircraft before a flight and although passenger access is carefully controlled, a significant number of airport personnel have access to the aircraft between flights. These include baggage handlers, cleaners, food service personnel, maintenance personnel, and refuelers.


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In addition, while the aircraft is on the ground, it is connected to an external HVAC system. The committee was not given specific attack scenarios to consider in this study, either in terms of the spaces attacked, the agents involved, or the manner of agent release. Accordingly, the discussion below is qualitative, intended to highlight some of the factors that need to be considered in forming appropriate defensive strategies against such attacks.

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Bioterrorism - Wikipedia

As noted above, only an air release of agent is considered here. In a point release attack, the agent would be released in a plume from a single point or perhaps several discrete points simultaneously. Individuals near the point of release would be exposed to agent at high levels, whereas those farther away would be exposed at lower doses.

Initially, the spread of agent would be confined to the space in which it was. Accessed October 5, NOTE: In an attack with a large quantity of aerosolized agent, the removal efficiencies shown here might not be high enough to prevent widespread exposure and symptoms, particularly with highly infectious agents. If HVAC systems continued to operate, the agent would be drawn into the ductwork and spread to connected rooms or spaces, albeit with considerable dilution.

If the agent were released directly into the inlet of an HVAC system that had no associated air treatment technologies, it would be pumped through the ductwork into all of the connected spaces, creating the potential for simultaneous, widespread exposures to relatively high concentrations of agent. Although this scenario is of particular concern owing to the potential for mass casualties, the confined nature of an HVAC system offers a number of possibilities for defense, as discussed in Chapter 3.

Chemical agents are typically small organic molecules not associated with particles that would not be removed by common air-filtration systems. Some of the characteristics of fast- and slow-acting agents have been discussed above. An attack on the air transportation system with a fast-acting chemical agent would likely occur in an area in which large numbers of people were gathered, either in a terminal or in an aircraft. The fact of the attack would quickly become obvious as victims began to collapse or exhibit other symptoms of distress. It would be important for the authorities to recognize quickly that an attack had occurred in order to facilitate evacuation, get medical help for the victims, and limit the access of nonessential personnel to the contaminated area.

If the attack occurred in an aircraft passenger cabin during a flight, the aircraft might be brought down or taken over by terrorists if the pilots became incapacitated. Similarly, attacks on critical nodes within an airport terminal control rooms, emergency-response centers, and so on could incapacitate key decision makers or deny authorities the use of these spaces, so as to prevent an effective response.

These efficiencies assume proper, leak-free installation.


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  8. Filters are often improperly installed and sometimes missing. Reliance on filtration requires a quality-assurance program to ensure that filters are in place and functioning. In contrast, in the absence of an effective detection or air-treatment system, an attack involving a slow-acting agent might go unrecognized for days, until the exposed victims began exhibiting symptoms of disease.

    Since the incubation periods for the appearance of symptoms of illness caused by slow-acting agents are typically long compared with the residence time of travelers in an airport terminal or aircraft, victims would be geographically dispersed by the time symptoms had appeared, and it might be difficult to locate them. If the disease were communicable, it could be spread by infected passengers to far-flung parts of the world in a very short time.

    An intentionally infected passenger i. Unlike the situation created by a fast-acting agent, however, the problems caused by the release of a slow-acting agent in flight would not be an effective way of bringing down an aircraft.

    In the specialized case of very large releases of anthrax spores, the attacked aircraft could provide a means of infecting passengers over the course of multiple flights owing to the high survival capability of spore-forming bacteria. The quantity of agent used in an attack and its rate of release are also factors that a terrorist, and thus a defender, must consider. In manufacturing, transporting, or preparing for the release of a large quantity of agent, the terrorist would risk being discovered before the attack could be perpetrated.

    Similarly, if a slow-acting agent were released at a high rate, there would be a higher probability that the attack would be observed or would cause a detector if present to alarm, since the ambient concentration would likely be well above the detector threshold. This would be balanced against the increased time required to carry out the attack, with the associated increased risk of discovery.

    Historically, most terrorist attacks on civilian targets have involved the use of firearms or explosives, and current defensive strategies are aimed at preventing attacks perpetrated by such means. However, the use of the nerve agent sarin in to attack the Tokyo subway system, the use of the U. Senate Office Buildings in Washington, D. As the United States and other countries reassess the security measures they have in place to prevent or defend against such attacks, the risks to the air transportation system as a primary target become clear.

    Defending the U. Air Transportation System Against Chemical and Biological Threats is an exploration of defensive strategies that could be used to protect air transportation spaces specifically, airport terminals and aircraft against attack with chemical or biological agents and makes recommendations with respect to the role of TSA in implementing these strategies. Based on feedback from you, our users, we've made some improvements that make it easier than ever to read thousands of publications on our website.

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