Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen today released the third edition of a report entitled "Proliferation: Threat and Response" - the second since he became secretary of Defense. The last report was released in November 1997. The new report details the nature of the security challenge posed by the proliferation of nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) weapons and their delivery systems and the Defense Department's response to the challenge.
The report contains updated information about countries that have or may be developing NBC weapons and the means to deliver them. It also provides updated information on the threat from NBC terrorism, and addresses, for the first time, threats to livestock and agriculture.
"Our unrivaled supremacy in the conventional military arena is prompting adversaries to seek unconventional, asymmetric means to strike what they perceive as our Achilles heel," said Cohen. "The race is on between our preparations and those of our adversaries. There is not a moment to lose."
The report describes DoD's efforts since the end of the Gulf War to ensure that U.S. forces are equipped and trained to fight and win in NBC-contaminated environments, including the Department's increased investments and reorganization in this area since the last Quadrennial Defense Review. It discusses DoD's contributions to international arms control and nonproliferation efforts and to enhancing the NBC defense preparedness of our allies and coalition partners. The report also newly addresses how DoD is preparing to provide support to U.S. civil authorities in managing the consequences of an NBC attack here in the United States. The full report may be viewed on the web at http://www.defenselink.mil/pubs/ptr20010110.pdf.