The New Terror: Facing the Threat of Biological and Chemical Weapons

Article excerpt

The New Terror: Facing the Threat of Biological and Chemical Weapons edited by Sidney D. Drell, Abraham D. Sofaer, and George D. Wilson. Hoover Institution Press (http://wwwhoover.stanford.edu/presswebsite/hooverpress2.html), Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305-6010, 1999, 511 pages, $24.00.

New books covering the subject of biological and chemical weapons (BCW) are now coming out weekly. Although most of them rehash the subject in a different format or sensationalize the horrifying potential of these weapons, this work is fundamentally different. It provides new information not found in other works. A must read for the soldier, statesman, first r ponder, or others concerned with the implications of these weapons in the future, The New Terror includes valuable insights about complicated issues surrounding BCW and can easily serve as a textbook.

The book is a compilation of topics covered during the Hoover Institution's National Security Forum of 1998. The 17 articles cover six key areas: dimensions of the biological warfare problem, the role of intelligence, building and implementing BCW control regimes and the regulation of BCW, legal constraints, preparing for BCW attacks, and deterring the use of BCW. The contributors are noted experts in this field, such as Rolf Ekeus (executive chairman of the United Nations Special Commission [UNSCOM]), Jonathan B. Tucker (research professor and director of the Chemical and Biological Weapons Nonproliferation Project at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies of the Monterey Institute of International Studies), and Michael Moodie (president of the Chemical and Biological Arms Control Institute).

The first section provides a comprehensive analysis of the technical issues that make chemical weapons a viable threat in the future. It also includes an excellent chapter that projects the evolution of biological weapons made possible by biotechnological advances. The section concludes with an average discussion of potential BCW attack scenarios. All three chapters provide the reader with an excellent background in BCW threat assessment.

The intelligence section presents the reader with a breakdown of the myriad challenges that the spread of these weapons and their potential use by nonstate actors force upon the American intelligence community. …