News | Nov. 3, 2015

In Good Health? The Biological Weapons Convention and the “Medicalization” of Security

By Amanda Moodie

Since the 1990s, the group of stakeholders working to combat biological weapons (BW) proliferation has broadened to include new actors who have not traditionally focused on security issues, including organizations from the public health sector, researchers in the life sciences, and the biosafety community. This has had significant benefits for the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC) and the arms control establishment more broadly. However, the BWC's agenda has become increasingly dominated by issues of international health and global health security. By focusing solely on response strategies, the United States and other interested parties risk losing sight of other important elements of a counter-BW strategy, including deterrence and prevention. Focusing on public health-related issues to the exclusion of more traditional security matters puts the nonproliferation regime at risk, because it limits the amount of time that stakeholders have available to grapple with the critical questions facing the BWC and the biological weapons nonproliferation establishment—questions that must be answered if the regime is to survive. READ MORE >>