The Department of Defense Chemical and Biological Defense Program: An Enabler of the Third Offset Strategy

By Jason Roos, Calvin Chue, Diane DiEuliis, and Peter Emanuel

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The US Department of Defense (DOD) established programs to defend against chemical and biological weapons 100 years ago because military leaders understood that the operational capability of the US military is diminished when service member health is compromised. These threats to operational readiness can be from an overt attack using chemical and biological threats but may also arise from natural exposures. In the current era of rapidly emerging technologies, adversaries are not only rediscovering chemical and biological weapons; they are also displaying an increased propensity to employ them to cause strategic instability among deployed forces or nations undergoing conflict. The United States's investments in its Chemical and Biological Defense Program (CBDP) can be a critical enabler of the third offset strategy, which is a DOD initiative that seeks to maximize force capability to offset emerging threats. To realize this vision, the CBDP must make fundamental changes in acquiring and employing effective technologies so that enemy use of chemical and biological agents against US assets is no longer a viable option. Maximization of US force health status will provide a strategic advantage over theater opponents more vulnerable to operational degradation from chemical and biological threats. READ MORE>>