Given the theater-driven nature of most threats, it is surprising that the United States is often ahead of its friends and allies in dealing with the CBRN threats posed by state actors, their proxies, and foreign and domestic terrorists/extremists. Indeed, many Europeans see the United States as overreacting to marginal threats in an almost paranoid fashion. This is partly a result of the fact that the United States does often overdramatize given threats and the need for given actions. It may also reflect the fact that not only does Europe not face the same scale of regional threats as the United States, but it also (and already) faces major problems in funding its existing security requirements.
The situation is different in the case of the United States’ friends and allies in the Middle East, the Persian Gulf, and Asia. Most of its friends and allies are just beginning to understand just how different the threats they face can be if covert, state, terrorist, or extremist attacks use WMD. Even Israel and South Korea have done comparatively little to improve their deterrence and defense capabilities against such attacks or to improve their response capabilities beyond very limited, and largely symbolic, civil defense measures.
Many aspects of what the United States’ friends and allies have done are classified or are not made public. The GAO did, however, publish a survey of the activities in five key friendly countries—Canada, France, Germany, Israel, and the United Kingdom—in April 2000. The GAO found striking similarities in their response: