Nefarious Uses of Biological/Biochemical Additive Manufacturing (AM)
TSA officers discovered these 3D printed gun replicas in a carry-on bag at Raleigh-Durham International Airport (source: TSA).

Posted on November 8, 2023 | Completed on October 6, 2023

What efforts are underway by the U.S. Department of Defense/other government agencies to identify and mitigate nefarious uses of bioprinting to create, modify, or enhance biological threats/weapons?

This technical inquiry is related to the HDIAC webinar “Printing Destruction: AM, WMD, and the Emerging Challenges to Security” presented by Gregory Nichols and in support of the presentation “Illicit Weapons Production:  Assessing Gaps in Additive Manufacturing Security” at the 2023 International Conference on Advanced Manufacturing.  The research and publications supplied to the inquirer could be summarized with potential nefarious utilizations of AM on weapons manufacturing, including potential weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) and homemade bombs; drugs and counterfeit medications; counterfeit money, access cards, and keys; black market organs; food sources; synthetic viruses; and uploading CAD files using Disarming Corruptor.  Additionally, the ability to fully automate 3-D-printing processes decreases activities and signatures used to identify malicious actors.  The overall lack of security measures and knowledge revolving around the technologies in the policymaker groups makes these uses just as possible today as they were nearly 10 years ago when some of the supplied sources were published.



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