News | March 11, 2010

Countering WMD in the 2010 QDR

By John P. Caves, Jr. WMD Proceedings

Coming from the Center for the Study of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), I probably will not surprise you by talking about the WMD aspects of this year’s Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR). Specifically, I will focus on its countering WMD aspects—that is, how the Department of Defense (DOD) thinks about and prepares to prevent, defend against, and mitigate the consequences of adversary use of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear weapons. I will not discuss the review’s missile defense or nuclear deterrence aspects, but my fellow panelists may do so.

Early last year, the Center for the Study of Weapons of Mass Destruction assessed the U.S. Government’s preparedness to prevent and manage major WMD events.1 We found that the government, including the Defense Department, had made considerable progress over the last decade in preparing to deal with discrete or small-scale WMD incidents, but that it lacked both the quantity of specialized assets and the quality of planning and coordination mechanisms to deal effectively with large-scale WMD contingences. We also found a need to invest more in anticipating, understanding, and countering new and emerging forms of chemical and biological threats. READ MORE >>