M.S. in Biodefense Project Paper: Predicting BW Proliferation

Project Title: Germ Games (click for pdf)
Author: Lindsay N. Lundberg, GMU M.S. in Biodefense Program

Like the microbes they attempt to harness, state bioweapon (BW) programs are often elusive, miniscule, and shrouded in secrecy. Because BW programs lack the obvious clues of nuclear or even chemical weapons programs, the hunt becomes one for measurable indicators that predict a nation’s likelihood to have or pursue an offensive capability. BW programs are usually highly classified, tightly guarded state secrets, but common indicators should exist even as the line between offensive and defensive capabilities blurs. Using a two-dimensional index, indicators of the capability and motivation of a nation to escalate research into offensive biological weapons will be objectively measured to predict where BW proliferation may occur. Constructed from quantitative and case study analyses, the index ranks contrasting example nations on the ability and predisposition to possess offensive BW capabilities. In the first section of this project, indicators will be derived from past, known state BW programs. Next, the index of capability and motive will be constructed from the indicators. Finally, individual countries will be scored on the index to predict areas of potential proliferation.

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