Weapons of Mass Destruction/Effects in China and North Korea

DRIVER 4: Weapons of Mass Destruction/Effects  in China and North Korea

•    WMD relates to a broad range of adversary capabilities that pose potentially devastating effects.”
•    Scope: “DIA projects that over the next 10 years, chemical & biological agents will become more diverse & sophisticated.”
•    Impact on US National Interests?
•    Military Implications…

DRIVER 4: Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Proliferation
Description: As previously discussed, the term WMD relates to a broad range of adversary capabilities that pose potentially devastating impacts. WMDs include chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and enhanced high-explosive (CBRNE) weapons.28 Despite on going non-proliferation efforts, the spread of WMDs and WMD capabilities will undeniably continue, requiring US forces to deal with the effects of WMD in the future. The possession of such capabilities provides adversaries with a powerful tool of coercion and intimidation both politically and militarily. “For [potential adversaries], these are not weapons of last resort, but militarily useful weapons of choice intended to overcome our nation’s advantages in conventional forces and to deter us from responding to aggression against our friends and allies in regions of vital interest.”29 Nuclear actors (both current and future) will focus not only on the deterrence power of such weapons but also on the annihilation power. One common theme expressed by Indian, Iranian and North Korean military thinkers is that the possession of nuclear weapons negates US conventional capabilities. Adversaries will seek such capabilities to achieve regional power or as deterrence to US preemptive policies and actions, and as a primary means to deny access to US forces.  Such weapons are difficult and costly to protect against and the potential psychological impact of these weapons and their use is tremendously powerful. Terrorist organizations will continue to seek such weapons as a means of violence and coercion, and several states remain committed to developing nuclear, chemical, and biological capabilities.
The partnership of terrorist organizations and such capabilities is chilling. According to the former Director of National Intelligence, Mr. John Negroponte, “today we are more likely to see an attack from terrorists using weapons or agents of mass destruction than states, although terrorists’ capabilities would be much more limited. In fact, intelligence reporting indicates that nearly 40 terrorist organization, insurgencies, or cults have used, possessed, or expressed an interest in chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear agents or weapons.”30
Scope: The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) projects that over the next ten years, chemical and biological agents will become more diverse and sophisticated.31 Both state and non-state actors will be actively pursuing and will likely gain access to nuclear weapons, sophisticated and/or bio-engineered biological agents, and non-traditional chemical agents. In all probability, states such as Russia, China, and North Korea will continue to sell WMD and missile technologies for revenue and diplomatic influence.32
Military Implication: US military forces must prepare to operate in WMD environments. Training should focus not only on the use of such capabilities by rogue elements but on catastrophic accidents as well. Raids to take out nuclear capabilities may become a necessary capability to prevent proliferation. US military forces will have a significant role in the Department of Defense’s support of civil authorities in conjunction with US Homeland Security and US Homeland Defense.

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