Accessible Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter March 7, 2012

The Biological Weapons Convention: Creation and Problems with Enforcement

Allen Ayers

Prior to examining ways to prevent biological warfare, it is important to gain a clear understanding of what some of the most likely biological weapons are. Knowing the potential effect of a weapon is an important step as it will aid in laying down a basis for regulations. After understanding the types of weapons available, the conversation logically turns towards a question of preventative action that can be taken to avoid this potential catastrophe from taking place. Prevention is primarily attempted through the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention (BWC). It is through this convention that the majority of the world’s nations agreed to either cease or not begin a biological weapons program. However, as with many other treaties, the Biological Weapons Convention is left with several problems when it comes to its enforceability. This problem with the convention is serious enough to render the entire BWC ineffective. By considering these weapons, the measures to prevent their use, and the problems surrounding the BWC, it is possible to better understand the actual threat posed by biological warfare and the current state of measures being taken to ensure that such an attack cannot occur. While the potential list of biological weapons is numerous, there are a handful of weapons that are considered to be of particular concern. These have been termed as class A agents, which pose a high national security risk and will be the primary focus of this paper.

Published Online: 2012-3-7

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