NEW DIRECTIONS IN SOVIET BCW AGENT DEVELOPMENT AND THEIR IMPLICATIONS

Created: 1/24/1984

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New Directions in Soviet BCW Agent Development and Their Implications

Special NiiImuI (nitttittncr Eiiioate

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NEW DIRECTIONS IN SOVIET BCW AGENT DEVELOPMENT AND THEIR IMPLICATIONS

art in Ibr drniitCa OlImraii.

KEY JUDGMENTS

t tfcr naU riecaile ciparalrd its traditional RftD program for developing noi biological and chemical warfare |BCW) iienlf torogram which applies recent advance*ot ech wing'e*a* genetic engineering This means thai the Soviets canun.li broader range of BCW agents limn was heretofore possible |

The Sovirtt could me modem moleculartecbnkiucfMcroll'filch our current militan persorulnhavr no effectiwe medical

prophv lasts nr treatment, and for which ir have no m.ieiclor klenl ideation Application ai genetic enf meetingncreasei Iremendmrsls both the number nnd -ind* o( possible awn" anil the ahllllv tn pinriucr. them in useful quantities Knrllu-rmore. developing effective rounlerrnca wireside variety ol iKasible agents will be rxlremel* difficult. [

The range ol Mvtl agents (hul cnuld result from this program includes compounds thaim-sent in the bods in minute Quantities These- <ompouiids can produce ararwr of dctrlcrioui effect* il Introduced in high content rat ins or il genetic manipulation has been used to alter their effects Tbvini nil munuBin human* but derived ftnns other organisms such as bacteria fungi, plants and some animals, could also be produced or altered for BCW

uwr through these techniques The effects caused by such compounds could range from emotional and behavioral changes to physical effects such as drowsiness, hemorrhage, and death. Properties couldbe tailored to specific field requirements for stability, persistence, dissemination characteristics and rapidity ot effectield selling, there would surely be an unquantifiable psychological impact on combat units subjected to such agents, and ihe psychological stress could severely degrade morale and impair combat effectiveness.

1 litre are nunmililarv rationales for studying such compounds, forenhanced pharmaceutical production, better understanding of medical problems, or as look to investigate biochemical processes. Nonetheless, for the following reasons we believe that the Sovietsovel BCW agent research and development program:

The support that has been given to Soviet molecular genetics research has allowed the scientists to achieveigh level ol competence in using sophisticated techniques Whereas Soviet research

has generally lagged Western (especially L'S) stale of the art, their rapid progress aimtitheir ability lo achieve tccftrtjaogtcal advance* In an aiea given special rrnphwu | |

Western technology acquisition hai been central to theof biotechnology development In the USSR However,Slates la no longer the principal direct supplier ofriperUse lo the USSR and in the last decade hassupplanted by other Western nations ai thecJ research equipment and materials Curtailment oftransfer from th* Inited Slain might temporarily slow-IujI would notermanent im pediment

The Sonets' biotechmtlctn-baaed BCW agent dr^ctopmrntmakes It likely tha! technical approaches lo monitoring current and future treaties will be insufficient '

Their biotechnology-based BCW agent program would not necessarily require unique arid identifiable production facilities or Storage sites Furthermore, gearing up for large-scalecould probably be done within days to weeks Thus it will be etiremely difficult to determine by ru tonal technical or other physical means whether the Soviet* aie. at any given time, producing or storing agents. Even on-site inspections would not be sufficient to ensure that prohibited activities could be detectedimely manner. Eslablishina Intent wouldctor

Tbe Soviets could easily esptain having small Quantities of these potential agentsrtmilitary purposes It is dtfltcult or Impossible, on the bans of scientific evidence alone, tobetween BCW HAD and that directed towarddevelopmrnl or other nonmilitary puipctei

As alieady demonstrated by ihe "Yellow Rain" situation In Southeast Asia, bolh detecting and documenting deliberate use of unknown BCW agents (tn thatoiin lhat occur* naturally in many parls ol the world) is dllficult

The greal variety of lypes of possible novel agents will make it difficult to worduture BCW treaty lo contain unambnruous definitions of proscribed agent! Moreover, since no other nation liasomparable BCW capability, the Soviets have little incentive to modify etming agreements

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