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Evolving Role of Biological Weapons (DRAFT)

Evolving Role of Biological Weapons (DRAFT)

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Published by Reid Kirby
The original draft of the article submitted to the US Army Chemical Review. Far more detailed. Describes the evolution as an extension of chemical warfare, an alternative to nuclear weapons, then later augment, and finally its exceptional roles that nuclear weapons could not compete - large are coverage, controlled temporary incapacitation, and low observable attribution.
The original draft of the article submitted to the US Army Chemical Review. Far more detailed. Describes the evolution as an extension of chemical warfare, an alternative to nuclear weapons, then later augment, and finally its exceptional roles that nuclear weapons could not compete - large are coverage, controlled temporary incapacitation, and low observable attribution.

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Published by: Reid Kirby on Nov 21, 2010
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The Evolving Role of Biological Weapons
 Article Submitted to Army Chemical Review (2007)
by Reid Kirby
istorially, the role o biologial weapons hasbeen in parity with nulear weapons, under-going a suession o dynami ompromises. Interestin biologial weapons initially started an extensiono hemial weapons, being a logistially avorablealternative to nulear weapons. An abnormous be-lie is that interest in biologial weapons wanes ateraquiring nulear weapons. Tis was not the asein the Cold War with United States eorts. Terole ontinued during a period o nulear sarity as an augment to the nulear arsenal. One there was a super adequay o nulear weapons, the role o biologial weapons evolved to nd exlusive utility in Large Area Coverage (LAC) and Controlled em-porary Inapaitation (CI). Also a third exlusiverole had existed throughout the program.Behind the nebulous term “overt” is a third roleo biologial weapons, spanning rom the o-targetaerial spray attak to the dirty triks o sabotage andespionage. What unies this third role is the utility o biologial weapons to avoid attributing an attak to an event or opponent; hereater termed Low Ob-servable Attribution (LOA). Tis one role exploitsthe priniple o surprise, verging on perdy, andthereore produes the most ear in poliy makersover the possibility o anonymous strategi biologi-al attaks that esape retaliation.
Extension (1942 – 1944)
 When nations began to establish serious undertak-ings to develop biologial weapons ater the First World War, the programs were an extension o hem-ial weapons tehnology. Biologial weapons ollow the same posologial theorem as hemial weapons,only with greater agent poteny (Figure 1). Like- wise, the purpose o biologial weapons retained thesame intent o produing mass asualties, denial o terrain, and degrading perormane.
Alternative (1945)
During the Seond World War, the Allied biologialprogram was distincly separate rom the eort todevelop nulear weapons. Te program oten viedor the same sientists, though or sake o serey itnever shared suh resoures. At a time when easibil-ity o nulear weapons was still questionable, poliy makers amiliar with both programs were rest as-sured that biologial weapons provided a logistially reasonable alternative should the nation ail to builda nulear weapon (Figure 2).
Figure 1. Posological spectrum of United States military chemicals, toxins, and biologicals of the Second World War.
 Just as the Seond World War ended, the UnitedStates was on the usp o a biologial apability with500-lb lusters o Mark I 4-lb biologial bombletsand the M47A2 100-lb biologial bomb with an-thrax. Tough British had seleced several ities orretaliatory biologial strikes against Germany, there was no biologial apability to support suh plans.Te Army Air Fore did not have the organizationalsupport to onduc biologial operations, and the weapons never entered producion.
Augment (1946 – 1954)
 At the time o operations CROSSROADS, the 1946nulear eld trials at Bikini Atoll on naval vessels,the military establishment reognized biologial weapons would have a synergisti eec i used inombination with nulear weapons; an idea support-ed later by Navy researh in 1950 on the biologialeecs o radiation. As early as June 1946 the United States reated a warplan or nulear strikes on the Soviet Union. Poliy analysts oresaw an inevitable onic between GreatBriton and the Soviet Union, and United Statesores were too small to hold bak a massive inva-sion o Soviet ores through Western Europe andthe Middle East. Te plan, PINCHER, required 50nulear weapons on 20 Soviet ities to destroy 90%o Soviet airrat and armor industries, and 65% oilreneries. Te target list gradually grew over theyears in keeping with the number o weapons inthe arsenal. Many believed the required number o  weapons to keep the Soviet Union in hek was inthe thousands.Under President Harry ruman, the number o nulear weapons in the arsenal was an extreme se-ret – even the military establishment was unawareo the number o nulear weapons available or warplans until late 1947. Te acual number was un-derwhelming (gure 3). At the time o PINCHER there was only 11 nulear weapons in the arsenal - aperiod o nulear sarity existed. Ater the Soviet Union detonated its rst nulear weapon in 1949, the United States issued NSC-68, apoliy study that prediced the Soviet Union to have
Figure 2. Comparative re paower o diferent strategic bom-bardment sorties ( - ).Figure 3. Scarcity o strategic nuclear weapons promoted bio-logical weapons as an augment.
200 nulear weapons by 1954, and delivery o hal this number would devastate the United States. Te Joint Chies o Sta made a biologial warare a-pability a high priority, and the Air Fore put themin the same organizational level as nulear weap-ons. Te Air Fore aquired 500-lb lusters o theM114 4-lb biologial bomblet with bruellosis romthe Chemial Corps. Tis was an interim item orstrategi attak against Soviet ities to augment thenulear arsenal.
Interest in biologial weapons waned signiantly one the number o nulear weapons in the inven-tory ould saturate potential targets. Te Eisen-hower administration started developing a SingleIntegrated Operational Plan (SIOP) to oordinatenulear delivery systems. Te rst omprehensiveplan, SIOP-62, envisioned delivering 3,200 nulear weapons against the 1,060 targets throughout theSino-Soviet blok in a preemptive attak, and 1,706nulear weapons against 725 targets in retaliation.Tis hange in strategi nulear planning produedan over-kill making strategi biologial weapons al-most irrelevant. Te role biologial weapons wouldadopt exploited areas other weapon systems were in-apable o ahieving: LAC, CI, and LOA. 
Large Area Coverage (1958 – 1969)
Seeking a new edge ater the Soviet Union detonatedits rst nulear weapon the United States initiated aprogram to build a hydrogen bomb. When a nule-ar weapon designer asked General Curtis LeMay orhis requirements or a nulear weapon design, Le-May retorted “Why don’t you guys make a bomb toblow up all o Russia.” Te deterrent onept o theCold War embraed
destrucion o the enemy.Te United States detonated its largest nulear de-vise (15 Mt) during operation CASLE BRAVO in1954 at Bikini Atoll. Not only did the devise havealmost three times its designed yield o 6 Mt, itsallout traveled o ourse over an area ar more ex-tensive than originally estimated (Figure 4). I usedin a ombat, signiant thermal and blast destru-tion rom suh a devise would aec an area o 80- 200 square miles; serious-to-lethal allout overing50,000 square miles. Te impac on national poliy thinking was dramati.Te Chemial Corps at one time advertised bio-logial weapons as apable o overing the widtho a ontinent. Te laim resulted rom a series o large-sale eld trials with simulants that when ex-trapolated with the inecive dose and aerobiology o military biologials indiated the easibility o neutralizing targets tens to hundreds o thousandso square miles in size. A 1952 eld trial with simu-lants demonstrated the tehnial easibility o over-ing tens o thousands o square miles with a theoreti-ally inecive aerosol. Te impliations o this eldtrial went pracially unnotied until 1957 when theUnited States and Great Briton simultaneously andindependently investigated the LAC onept.Te British were dissatised with weather onditions while planning biologial eld trials with simulantsin southern England in 1957. Tey thereore deid-ed on onducing the trials as operational exerisesevery six weeks regardless o weather in September1958. Tese exerises indiated spray attaks 100 –300 miles long ould readily produe 50% asualties100 – 150 miles downwind; an employment oneptor an o-target attak, only requiring a mean windprole predicable within 45 degrees to target.Te Chemial Corps onduced operation LAC(Large Area Coverage) in 1957 – 1958. It was thelargest series o open-air experiments o its kind,measuring overage over the onterminous United
Figure . The  Mt CASTLE BRAVO burst in  asserted the strategic importance o radiological allout.

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