Methods for Investigating Chemical/Biological Weapons Use

Posted: April 11, 2019

This state-of-the-art report (SOAR) focuses on technologies and methods regarding the investigation of alleged chemical and/or biological weapons use as it pertains to DoD’s mission to protect U.S. forces and the homeland from chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

Strategically and operationally, countering these weapons to ensure that the United States and our allies and partners are never attacked nor threatened by them remains a top priority for DoD. If an adversary or rogue nation uses chemical or biological weapons, it is critical to ensure that DoD and civilian leaders are provided with accurate, reliable, specific, and timely information in the wake of an attack. This data may include information regarding an agent’s type, origin, concentration (or lethality), and other salient technical characteristics necessary to inform:  (a) a potential determination of source, (b) the target and scope of a military quick reaction force counter-assault activity, and/or (c) what protective measures should be taken by personnel under threat of further attack.

This report focuses on two major aspects of chemical and biological weapons use:  (1) the state of the art in advanced sensor technology (the fundamental core of the defense mission at hand) and (2) organizational best practices and tools for ensuring accurate and comprehensive situational awareness of chemical and biological weapons, precursor materials and substances, and the related resources required to develop and weaponize chemical and biological agents. This SOAR highlights recent, cutting-edge research in this field that will be essential for warfighter protection and sustainment in the next 5 to 10 years.

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