Toxic Warfare

Toxic Warfare

Theodore Karasik
Copyright Date: 2002
Edition: 1
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 72
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7249/mr1572af
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  • Book Info
    Toxic Warfare
    Book Description:

    The past several years have seen an increase in the use of toxic weapons -- i.e., inexpensive and easily acquired chemicals and industrial waste -- on the part of state as well as nonstate actors. Nonetheless, little analysis has been done on the nature and extent of this threat either to the military or to the U.S. homeland. This report examines the implications of toxic weapon use for military planning and concludes that such weapons merit further analysis.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-3223-2
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. PREFACE
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  4. TABLES
    (pp. vii-viii)
  5. SUMMARY
    (pp. ix-xiv)
  6. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  7. ACRONYMS
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  8. Chapter One INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-6)

    In recent years, there would appear to be an increased interest in weapons that incorporate inexpensive, relatively easy-to-acquire chemicals and industrial wastes. Such “toxic weapons” might take the form of a rocket containing insecticide or several barrels of toxic chemicals left in an adversary’s path to force the diversion of troops. To date, however, instances of toxic warfare have not been subjected to extensive analysis, largely because greater interest has been manifested in more sophisticated forms of chemical warfare, including the use of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and the development of nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) doctrine.¹

    A preliminary...

  9. Chapter Two WHAT ARE TOXIC WEAPONS?
    (pp. 7-16)

    If we are to analyze the potential threat toxic weapons pose, we must first look in more detail at the nature of toxic weapons, the sources of materials for those weapons, and the type of damage they can cause. This chapter addresses each of these issues in turn.

    Put simply, toxic warfare refers to the use of chemicals or industrial waste to harm or alter the behavior of an opponent during military operations.¹ Toxic warfare does not require the use of weapons per se; while toxic substances may be incorporated into traditional weaponry, such warfare can also involve the release...

  10. Chapter Three RECENT USE OF AND THINKING ABOUT TOXIC WEAPONS
    (pp. 17-28)

    As discussed in the previous chapters, toxic weapons offer a number of advantages to state and nonstate actors who seek to advance their military and political objectives. Industrial chemicals and chemical waste are both plentiful, providing a low-cost and easily assembled option that can be deployed through a variety of means—including air delivery (missiles and rockets), land delivery (cars, trucks, or containers in legal or illegal transit or at a stationary location), or sea delivery (barges and small craft). Toxic weapons can cause physical harm to humans and can damage and contaminate infrastructure. They can also create temporary panic...

  11. Chapter Four TOXIC THREATS IN EXPEDITIONARY SETTINGS
    (pp. 29-38)

    U.S. forces have faced the specter of toxic attacks for some time. Typically, these attacks have been considered within the context of operations against countries such as North Korea and the former Soviet Union, and the primary weapons of concern have been militarized chemical and biological agents. However, the United States has given scant consideration to the use of more expedient toxic agents or to the damage that something short of chemical and biological warfare agents could cause.

    Although U.S. operations have not yet faced repeated threats from toxic weapons,¹ that possibility clearly exists, particularly in light of the wide...

  12. Chapter Five TOXIC THREATS IN THE UNITED STATES
    (pp. 39-44)

    Toxic warfare is a threat not just for U.S. forces engaged in military operations but also for civilians within the United States. The risk is increased by the wide availability of toxic materials throughout the United States, together with the proximity of industrial operations to urban centers. In fact, the combination of large population centers and multiple toxic material sources poses a range of threats that need not involve warfare; accidents, incompetence, or employee malevolence could all produce a toxic incident with significant implications for civilian populations. Yet the potential for terrorists to use toxic weapons as part of a...

  13. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 45-52)