Center for Arms Control

by Alan Pearson [contact information]

Incapacitating Biochemical Weapons: Promise or Peril?

January 2008

Book cover

"This book, with its essays by leading players in the field, provides an excellent and urgently needed analysis of incapacitating biochemical weapons."Graham S. Pearson, University of Bradford, UK and previously Director-General, Chemical and Biological Defence Establishment, Porton Down, UK

"Addressing a topic that is both urgent and complex, this book provides a comprehensive, current, and remarkably readable exposition of the potential benefits and dangers of the ongoing biochemical revolution. Combining the disciplines of medicine, science, history, law, military strategy, and arms control, the diverse authors contribute a broad-gauged guide to intensely controversial issues, rendering them accessible to the non-specialist and informative to the policy-maker."David A. Koplow, Georgetown University Law Center

A biochemical compound has yet to be found that can effectively incapacitate people without risk of death when used in a real-world military or law enforcement situation. But revolutionary advances in the life sciences and biotechnology are generating new knowledge about and potentially greater capabilities for manipulating human consciousness, emotions, mental functions, and behavior. These advances, coupled with the changing nature of conflict and warfare in the 21st Century, are generating renewed government interest in incapacitating biochemical weapons.

Incapacitating Biochemical Weapons, co-edited by Alan Pearson, Biological and Chemical Weapons Control Program Director, and Marie Chevrier and Mark Wheelis, members of the Center's Scientists Working Group on Biological and Chemical Weapons, provides a comprehensive survey of the scientific, military, humanitarian, legal and political issues associated with the development and use of incapacitating biochemical weapons. The contributing authors explore a wide range of issues pertinent to the topic, from science to history to current military interest, arms control and international law.

Governments, international organizations, and society as a whole have critical decisions to make about whether and how to pursue the development, or conversely the effective prohibition, of incapacitating biochemical weapons. This book will be of interest to those concerned about these decisions.

Incapacitating Biochemical Weapons can be ordered from Lexington Books.

Alan Pearson

Dr. Alan Pearson is the Director of the Biological and Chemical Weapons Control Program at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation where his work focuses on biological weapons, chemical weapons, and WMD proliferation. Pearson's work has been published and cited in numerous publications, including Nonproliferation Review, Nature, and Science. He is editor of the book Incapacitating Biochemical Weapons: Promise or Peril? (November 2007).

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