14 November 2012
Director of Research & Development
Resource Institute (UN:NGO:DESA)
Consortium Graduate Studies
for Medicine, Veterinary Medicine & Law
Disaster Information Network
- CBRNE Weapons - Nuclear Retaliation Scenario
day the humanitarian catastrophe in Syria  is allowed to
spiral out of control, risks increase for a direct CBRNE attack  by
the failed state and/or transfer of weapons
of mass destruction
to transnational terrorists. This threat has prompted a review of
global infrastructure analysis, contingency plans and response to a WMD
is well understood that a nuclear retaliatory strike would be the
anticipated response to a CBRNE WMD attack, as emphasized in the 1999
Applied Science and Analysis Newsletter "The
Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction: A Challenge for Decision
Conclusions outlined in this report are the focus of assessment and
progress made to date:
risk of exposure to the effects of WMD is real. Weapons from each of
the categories have been produced and tested. They are somewhere at
someone's disposal. They have already been used in the recent past.
Proliferation will augment the number of possessors and thus further
increase the risk of these weapons being used.
question is not whether, but when and where they will be used next.
must first work to ensure that these weapons are not used. However, we
must also enhance readiness for NBC defense.
many countries, the public is not aware of these facts. Many
decision makers have yet to fully perceive the risks involved and to
take appropriate action.
elimination of obvious shortcomings in biodefense capabilities,
including medical biological defense, must be given high priority:
- means for intercepting and destroying
- aerosol detection and warning systems,
- procedures for detecting biological agents,
- preventing, diagnosing and treating BW
from a medical perspective, it would be ill advised to perform these
remedies at the expense of nuclear and chemical medical defense. It
remains, therefore, necessary to take preventive measures against
weapons from each of the categories. Furthermore, retaliation with
nuclear weapons may be the only viable option, especially where BWs are
used. In the event of a nuclear strike, the medical services
will have to deal with casualties arising from possible collateral
addition to the NBC risks arising from hostile action, medical services
must be able to cope with other dangers, which may have effects similar
to NBC weapons. In their deployment area, armed forces may face risks
in the civilian sector resulting from the worldwide spread of nuclear
technology (nuclear energy, technical and medical radiation sources,
depleted uranium) and the chemical industry (production facilities and
stocks of, for example, phosgene, hydrogen cyanide, chlorine gas or
insecticides). There are likely to be fewer and fewer “clean,
conventional” scenarios even where NBC weapons are not used.
countries have NBC defense experts and have equipped their forces with
basic protective equipment, such as NBC protective masks. However,
the forces of most countries do not have the capability to sustain
operations in an NBC environment for more than a few hours and preserve
their combat strength. This NBC defense capability, though, is
precisely what is needed, not just tomorrow but today. It must be
guaranteed throughout the entire operational spectrum by a balanced
system of NBC defense measures.
a rule, combat troops have the best NBC defense capabilities.
Nevertheless, they rely on medical services that have some of the worst
deficits in NBC defense capability. Most medical services are
capable of protecting neither medical personnel at work, nor patients
during treatment and evacuation, nor sophisticated medical material
against NBC exposure. This inability presents a major obstacle for
military operations in an NBC environment and may seriously limit the
options available to political and military decision-makers. The
only options may be to do nothing or to retaliate with nuclear weapons.
make matters worse, very few countries have a group of NBC medical
defense experts, and when they do, this is a small group.
Consequently, even these few nations have very limited NBC medical
defense capabilities, i.e., the ability to maintain and restore the
health of personnel when other NBC defense measures fail. Such a small
group can seldom do more than provide the necessary advice to political
and military decision-makers. Some of these groups may also be able to
conduct high-tech laboratory tests, e.g., identify a limited number of
biological agents. Normally, however, such a group and its budget are
too small to cover the most urgent NBC related problems. In particular,
there are shortfalls in the ability to provide NBC medical defense
training for all military doctors, let alone guarantee an acceptable
level of NBC medical defense readiness.
The entire report can
be accessed online at:
Information Network (IDIN)
In 1999, Humanitarian Resource
institute initiated the IDIN project in
cooperation with the FEMA
Preparedness, Exercises & Training Directorate, building upon the
foundation established by the U.S. State
Department plans for a Global Disaster Information Network (GDIN)
the early 90's. The IDIN global communication network included
leaders in approximately 200 United Nations member countries,
corporate, inter-governmental, non
governmental, community action, interfaith organizations and
radio and television networks). This resources were utilized
planning for the Year 2000 conversion. 
response to the needs presented by FEMA, Humanitarian Resource
Institute established a rapid
response plan for (1) infrastructure analysis in each country, (2)
assessment of NGO's and relief organizational capacity to address the
size and scope of humanitarian needs, (3) the provision of data to
enhance the strategic planning, project development and allocation of
financial and inkind donations.
work in Biodefense , the
Threats and Terrorism, Assessing the Science and Response Capabilities:
Workshop Summary,"  the National Academy of Sciences recognized
Humanitarian Resource Institute (HRI) as one of nine leading
educational and research institutions with:
for Nonproliferation Studies.
University: Center for Public Health Preparedness.
University John F. Kennedy School of Government: Belfer Center for
Science and International Affairs.
Hopkins University: Center for Civilian Biodefense Studies.
Institute of Technology: Center for International Studies.
Academy of Sciences.
of Maryland: Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland.
of Minnesota: Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy.
International Humanitarian & Security Discussions :
Humanitarian Resource Institute. Url:
Chemical Weapons - Interactive Map: The Guardian UK. Url:
2000: Global Infrastructure Analysis and Contingency Planning:
Humanitarian Resource Institute. Url:
International - The Consulting Arm of Humanitarian Resource Institute
and the Humanitarian University Consortium: Humanitarian Resource
Institute, 4 June 2004. Url:
Threats and Terrorism: Assessing the Science and Response
Capabilities: Workshop Summary. Institute of
Medicine,Washington, DC: The National
Academies Press, 2002, pg 234. Url: