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The US Biological Warfare and Biological Defense Programs

The US Biological Warfare and Biological Defense Programs

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Published by Colorado Liberty
The US Biological Warfare And Biological Defense Programs
The US Biological Warfare And Biological Defense Programs

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Published by: Colorado Liberty on Jun 06, 2011
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The U.S. Biological Warfare and Biological Defense Programs
425
Chapter 19THE U.S. BIOLOGICAL WARFARE ANDBIOLOGICAL DEFENSE PROGRAMS
DAVID R. FRANZ, D.V.M., P
H
.D.*; CHERYL D. PARROTT
;
AND
ERNEST T. TAKAFUJI, M.D., M.P.H.
INTRODUCTIONA SECRET BIOLOGICAL WARFARE PROGRAMThe Secret Program Is AcknowledgedField Testing in the United StatesAN EXPANDED DEFENSE PROGRAMA COMPREHENSIVE MEDICAL BIOLOGICAL DEFENSE PROGRAMSafety in Research and Patient CareA National ResourceSUMMARY
*
Colonel, Veterinary Corps, U.S. Army; Commander, U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, Fort Detrick, Frederick, Maryland 21702-5011
Formerly, Technical Writer, Public Affairs Office, U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, Fort Detrick, Frederick, Maryland 21702; currently, Biomedical Writer, Office of Communications, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Bethesda, Maryland 20892
Colonel, Medical Corps, U.S. Army; Commander, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington,D. C. 20307-5100
 
 Medical Aspects of Chemical and Biological Warfare
426
Biological agents have been used in war for cen-turies. After World War I, Major Leon Fox, MedicalCorps, U.S. Army, prepared a lengthy report
1
thatconcluded that biological warfare was no longer aconcern because of the development of modernsanitary procedures. However, as he wrote, the Japanese were already developing an offensive bio-logical warfare program involving an extensive listof biological agents, capable of causing diseasessuch as anthrax, tularemia, plague, botulinum,smallpox, glanders, and typhoid.The United States conducted a second review of the potential of biological warfare during 1941 and1942 and implemented its program to develop bio-logical weapons in 1943. The biological warfare pro-gram of the United States was conducted undermilitary auspices and was characterized during itsearly years by a high degree of secrecy and contro-versial testing programs. By the 1960s, U.S. scien-tists had clearly established that the developmentof biological weapons was feasible and that theiruse on the battlefield could be effective.The purpose of the U.S. program in the earlyyears was to deter the use of biological agents
INTRODUCTION
against the United States and its military forces,and to retaliate only if deterrence was unsuccess-ful. The program was characterized by an aggres-sive offensive and defensive research and develop-ment effort that would be modified to one basedon maintaining a strong defense against biologicalagents.When the biological warfare program was estab-lished, the United States was fighting World War IIon two fronts. After the war ended, the Cold Wardeveloped and our security was still threatened. TheUnited States maintained an active offensive bio-logical warfare program until it unilaterally re-nounced the use of biological weapons in two Na-tional Security Memoranda in 1969 and 1970. TheUnited States ratified the Biological Weapons Con-vention in 1975. Although capabilities of the world’smilitary forces have changed significantly in theyears following the disestablishment of the U.S. bio-logical warfare program—and despite the Biologi-cal Weapons Convention—a biological warfarethreat still exists; therefore, the United States main-tains a program for medical defense against biologi-cal warfare agents.
A SECRET BIOLOGICAL WARFARE PROGRAM
In 1941, Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson askedthe National Academy of Sciences to evaluate thefeasibility of biological warfare. The academy con-cluded that biological warfare was feasible and rec-ommended that
 
steps be taken to reduce U.S. vul-nerability and also to conduct research to explorethe offensive potential of bacteriological weapons.In April 1942, Stimson recommended to PresidentFranklin D. Roosevelt the creation of a civilian ad-visory group that would coordinate governmentaland privately owned institutions in a biologicalwarfare effort.
2,3
(What he did not tell Roosevelt wasthat the Army Chemical Warfare Service had be-gun its own biological warfare research in 1941.)The idea of biological weaponry was controver-sial, since little was known about the predictabilityor effectiveness of biological weapons in wartime.President Roosevelt approved the plan in 1942, andthe War Reserve Service, headed by George W.Merck, was established and attached to the FederalSecurity Agency, a New Deal agency of the Depart-ment of Agriculture. The War Reserve Servicestarted out in mid 1942 with a budget of $200,000.Secret work began under Merck’s direction at 28American universities, including Harvard, Stanford,and other top schools. This agency received con-sultative advice from national scientific committeesand organizations, including the National Academyof Sciences and the National Research Council.The War Reserve Service also empowered theU.S. Army’s Chemical Warfare Service to greatly ex-pand its efforts in regard to biological weapons. Thearmy’s efforts were better funded than those of theWar Reserve Service: in 1942 and 1943, the Chemi-cal Warfare Service received millions of dollars to build research facilities. Several locations were se-lected for the army’s biological research, with themain headquarters at Camp Detrick, Frederick,Maryland, a small National Guard airfield (desig-nated Fort Detrick in 1956). The army also madeplans to build a manufacturing plant near TerreHaute, Indiana, and built a 2,000-acre field test siteon Horn Island in Pascagoula, Mississippi. It isironic that much of the United States’s biologicalwarfare effort during World War II was in responseto a perceived threat from Germany, when in factthe Japanese were much more actively buildingtheir biological warfare capability.
2
 
The U.S. Biological Warfare and Biological Defense Programs
427
In the spring of 1942, President Roosevelt andBritish Prime Minister Winston Churchill an-nounced policies limiting the use of biologicalweapons to retaliation only, closely paralleling pre-vious decisions, such as the Geneva Protocol of 1925, on the limited use of chemical weapons. Butthese new policies
 
did not prevent the United Statesand Great Britain from beginning to amass arsenalsof biological weapons.
4
By 1943, the research cen-ter and pilot plant at Camp Detrick employed ap-proximately 3,800 military and 100 civilian person-nel. In 1944, Dugway Proving Ground, Utah, wasestablished to replace the Mississippi site, and theproduction plant was constructed near Terre Haute,Indiana.
2
The United States exchanged information withGreat Britain and Canada, two other nations con-cerned about the biological warfare threat, but thegeneral public was unaware of a biological warfareprogram in the United States until 4 months afterthe war was over. During World War II, the UnitedStates worked primarily on anthrax and botulism;however, brucellosis, psittacosis, tularemia, andglanders were also studied. There was also consid-erable work on agents for use against plants, andrecords show that there were plans drawn up todecimate Japan’s rice crops.
2
At the end of World War II, construction and test-ing slowed to a stop, and the effort on biologicalwarfare development was largely limited to re-search. The production plant in Indiana was soldto the Charles A. Pfizer Company for commercialuse. Although the highly classified program wasinitially defensive, and closely tied with the chemi-cal weapons program, research continued on devel-oping an independent retaliatory capability usingvarious disease agents.
The Secret Program Is Acknowledged
Since 1937, Japan had conducted a large biologi-cal warfare program, including human testing, atits Unit 731 in Manchuria.
5
After the war, the UnitedStates granted amnesty to Japanese scientists whohad participated in the research; however, a condi-tion of the amnesty was full disclosure of researchinformation. Two scientists from Camp Detrick, Dr.Edwin Hill and Dr. Joseph Victor, went to Japan in1945 and interviewed 22 scientists. They learnedthat many of the classical biological warfare agentshad been studied, and that approximately 1,000autopsies had been performed in Unit 731, most of these on humans who had been exposed to anthrax.They also learned that the Japanese had stockpiled400 kg of anthrax spores, which were to be used ina specially designed fragmentation bomb.In January 1946, the War Department made pub-lic for the first time the fact that the United Stateshad been conducting biological warfare researchand testing. The press release emphasized the highpriority placed on safety:
In all work on biological warfare carried on in theUnited States, extreme care was taken to protectthe participating personnel from infection. Manynew techniques were devised to prevent infectionand proved highly successful. Hospitals and dis-pensaries were maintained at all installations,staffed with both Army and Navy personnel andwere equipped to treat accidental infections. As theresult of the extraordinary precautions taken, thereoccurred only sixty cases of proven infection caused by accidental exposure to virulent biological war-fare agents which required treatment. Fifty-two of these recovered completely; of the eight cases re-maining, all were recovering satisfactorily. Therewere, in addition to the sixty proven cases, 159 ac-cidental exposures to agents of unknown concen-trations. All but one of these received prompt treat-ment and did not develop any infection. In oneinstance, the individual did not report exposure,developed the disease, but recovered after treat-ment.
3(vol 1, p1-4)
Mr. Merck, the head of the War Reserve Service,in his final report
6
to the secretary of war noted thatalthough remarkable achievements had been made,the potential of biological warfare had by no means been completely measured. He recommended thatthe program be continued on a sufficient scale toprovide an adequate defense.In 1948, the Research and Development Board(then under the secretary of defense), which had been given the responsibility to supervise the gov-ernmental research program, requested an evalua-tion of biological agents as weapons of sabotage.The Committee on Biological Warfare was formed,and the Baldwin Report
7
prepared by the commit-tee stated that the United States was particularlyvulnerable to covert attack with biological agents.It also stated that the current research and devel-opment program was “not now authorized to meetthe requirements necessary to prepare the defen-sive measures against special [biological warfare]operations.”
7(p1)
The Baldwin Report recommended
7
thatmeans be developed to detect and identify biological warfare agents;methods be developed for decontamina-

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