Homeland Security Network Blog

The information source for first responders.

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Categories
    Categories Displays a list of categories from this blog.
  • Archives
    Archives Contains a list of blog posts that were created previously.
Posted by on in Terrorism
  • Font size: Larger Smaller
  • Hits: 371
  • Print

Synthetic Bioweapons Are Coming

b2ap3_thumbnail_navy.jpg

U.S. Naval Institute

Synthetic Bioweapons Are Coming

Emerging and Disruptive Technology Essay Contest–First Prize

Gene-editing advances pose a serious threat.

By Michael Knutzen
June 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed critical weaknesses in the human domain of warfare at just the moment technology has emerged that gives bad actors new power to exploit those weaknesses. Developments in synthetic biology will create next-generation bioweapons, “human-domain fires” that will fundamentally change the strategic environment and create a threat naval planners must consider now, before it is encountered at sea.
A Human-Domain Plague

In a March 2020 press release praising the effectiveness of its preventative medicine, the Navy proudly declared: “No cases of COVID-19 have been diagnosed aboard any U.S. 7th Fleet Navy vessel.”1 One week later, cases were spreading so rapidly, the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) effectively became a “mission-kill.”

COVID-19 has demonstrated that biological threats are almost entirely unaffected by sophisticated kinetic, cyber, and electromagnetic defenses. The French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle reported in April 2020 that 60 percent of her crew was infected with COVID-19. French Admiral Christophe Prazuck warned “that the [medical] measures onboard were ‘obviously circumvented’ by a ‘stealthy, insidious virus.’”2 It can be debated whether the U.S. or French carriers would have stayed in the fight if COVID-19 had broken out during wartime. But a more lethal, deliberately devised, weaponized agent could eviscerate a fleet.

Full story https://www.usni.org/magazines/proceedings/2021/june/synthetic-bioweapons-are-coming