U.S. and International Efforts to Ban Biological Weapons

“The proliferation of biological weapons has been a matter of great international concern. Considered as weapons of mass destruction—like nuclear and chemical weapons—biological weapons have proven difficult to control. Despite efforts such as those taken by the 125-member Biological Weapons Convention, the development of these weapons continues to increase. Because of these concerns, Senator Gore (D-TN) requested GAO to assess the effectiveness of efforts by the United States and the international community to curb the development of biological weapons. Specifically, this report addresses (1) the effectiveness of the Biological Weapons Convention, as well as efforts to strengthen it and (2) the effectiveness of U.S. and multilateral export controls in the proliferation of biological weapons.”

U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO)
Publish Date:

U.S. Efforts to Investigate and Attribute the Use of Biological Weapons

“On several occasions over the past half-century, the U.S. government has had to address the issue of biological weapons use. In two of those instances, during the Korean War and in Cuba repeatedly since the 1960s, the United States itself was the target of allegations of having used biological weapons. This chapter begins by discussing the existing legal basis for U.S. efforts to attribute the use of biological weapons. It then turns to each of the cases noted above, focusing in particular on how the United States investigated the allegations, including the strengths and weaknesses of the U.S. approach to each. It concludes by considering lessons from these experiences for future efforts to identify, characterize, and attribute the use of biological weapons.”
By Elisa D. Harris

Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISC) and Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM)
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United States Government Policy for Oversight of Life Sciences Dual Use Research of Concern

The purpose of this Policy is to establish regular review of United States Government funded or conducted research with certain high-consequence pathogens and toxins for its potential to be dual use research of concern (DURC) in order to: (a) mitigate risks where appropriate; and (b) collect information needed to inform the development of an updated policy, as needed, for the oversight of DURC. The fundamental aim of this oversight is to preserve the benefits of life sciences research while minimizing the risk of misuse of the knowledge, information, products, or technologies

United States Government
Publish Date:
March 2012

United States Patriot Act of 2001

Public Law No. 107-56
October 26, 2001

United States Policy on Chemical Warfare Program and Bacteriological/Biological Research Program

Executive Order (from the National Security Council)
National Security Decision Memorandum 35 (NSDM-35)
Signed: November 25, 1969

Through this memorandum, the Chemical and Biological Warfare Program were split into two entities, the Chemical Warfare Program and the Biological Research Program. The objective of the Chemical Warfare Program was to deter other nation’s from using their chemical weapons. Regarding the Biological Research Program, the U.S. renounced the use of biological weapons, lethal and otherwise, and focused its reseach towards defensive purposes.