The Increasing Threat of Biological Weapons

February 20th 2017 - 07:00

With the World Health Organization (WHO), the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and the U.S. Blue Ribbon panel publishing reports on the emerging risks of biological weaponry in past months, there is a new sense of urgency regarding biological weapons. In August 2016, the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon told the Security Council that “non-state actors are actively seeking chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons.”

This report presents the changing dynamics of the development and use of biological weapons and the preparation against them. The dynamics relate to technological advances in biotechnology and the concomitant attraction to non-state actors to use biological agents as weapons due to their financial appeal and diverse impact. The relative ease with which biological weapons can be produced, and the intent of non-state actors to use biological weapons- based on historical precedent and recent surge in international terrorism- call for a renewed focus on this field and an increased effort to respond to these developments. We provide illustrations of new policy initiatives in a variety of countries and outline the current state of play in the Netherlands, providing a point of departure to discuss whether the current approach is sufficient to tackle the upcoming issues.

The report can be downloaded using the button on the right

Erik Frinking is Strategic Advisor Security and Cyber at HCSS. He holds a Master’s degree in Political Science from Leiden University. For almost twenty years, he has been involved in addressing high-level, complex policy issues for a wide variety of European countries and international organizations. Mr. Frinking worked for more than 13 years at the Leiden branch of the RAND Corporation, where he was director of the Education, Science & Technology, and Innovation program.
Dr. Tim Sweijs is the Director of Research at The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies. He is the initiator, creator and author of numerous studies, methodologies, and tools for horizon scanning, early warning, conflict analysis, national security risk assessment, and strategy and capability development. Tim has lectured at universities and military academies around the world. His main research interest concerns the changing character of contemporary conflict. Tim is a Senior Research Fellow at the Netherlands Defence Academy and an Affiliate at the Center for International Strategy, Technology and Policy in the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs at the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Paul Sinning is the Executive Director of HCSS. After graduating from the Dutch police academy in 1985, he started his career in the police force in Amsterdam. As a police officer he was responsible for several criminal investigation units. He later studied management and organization (University of Tilburg, 1995) and became a management consultant (1997) and managing partner (2002) at Twynstra Gudde, a Dutch management and consultancy firm. As managing partner he was responsible for building and developing the Security Group, specialized in organizational, business and change management within the field of security. He focused mainly on strategy, organizational development and complex collaboration issues between organizations responsible for security. He later studied public management at the University of Tilburg (2005) and has written several books about security. He has been closely involved in The Hague Security Delta from the start.