December 2, 2008

Commission warns of nuclear or biological weapons attack by 2013

A U.S. bi-partisan commission is warning that the world will "more likely than not" face a terrorist attack using nuclear or biological weapons by 2013 if governments fail to undertake major security and prevention measures.

The report, titled World at Risk, recommends that the Obama administration appoint a national security aide devoted exclusively to coordinating U.S. intelligence, military and political efforts to curb weapons proliferation.

Other recommendations include:
  • better safeguards for uranium and plutonium stockpiles and step up measures against nuclear smuggling rings
  • toughen the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
  • ensure access to nuclear fuel for countries committed to developing only peaceful atomic technology
  • prevent new countries, including Iran and North Korea, from possessing uranium enrichment or plutonium reprocessing capabilities
  • urgently tighten security in domestic bio-sphere institutes and laboratories
  • call for an international conference of countries with major biotechnology industries
  • secure nuclear and biological materials in Pakistan
  • constrain a growing Asian arms race
  • agree with Russia on extending essential monitoring provisions of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty due to expire in 2009
  • create a White House advisory post on weapons of mass destruction proliferation
The report also went on to describe Pakistan as the weakest link in world security, and it noted that terrorists are more likely to be able to obtain biological than nuclear weapons, with anthrax being a particular concern.

These threats are "evolving faster than our multi-layered response," says the commission, "our margin of safety is shrinking, not growing."


Cliff said...

I thought the uranium cat was out of the enrichment bag with regards to North Korea and Iran. I mean, when North Korea starts testing nukes, it's time to rethink our diplomatic goals.

Bob Mottram said...

This sounds like more unsubstantiated scaremongering to me. Since a plot involving WMD would be non-trivial to execute even for dedicated terrorists, and would take years to organize, unless there is credible evidence that such a plot is underway today I think we can safely dismiss the rather specific 2013 claim.

Anonymous said...

This is a very interesting paper to speak about. The fact of the mater is this, Biological warfare has been around for thousands of years. If you read the bible, dead bodies with the plague were hurled into town several days prior to attacks to weaken the population. If terrorists were interested in getting their hands on Chemical and/or Biological weapons, they would have done so long ago.

They are easier to obtain than nuclear weapons and require significantly less technology to operate. in todays world, a terrorist cell can make a bomb for $150 that will destroy a multi-million dollar weapon and kill a whole section of infantiers so there is no need to upgrade weapons.

By 2013 we need to be better prepared for attacks similar to Bumbai. The same type of attack, on a larger and more organized scale.