In-depth: Defending against Chemical Weapons

As the death toll continues to mount from Assad’s alleged use of chemical weapons on the Syrian rebels, we thought it’s high time for a refresher on our own chemical weapons defense. What would the US do if a terrorist group released toxic gas on American soil? Before you dismiss it as unlikely, remember that nearly twenty years ago the Japanese cult and terrorist group Aum Skinrikyo released the chemical agent sarin on the Tokyo subway, killing thirteen, injuring nearly 50, and causing temporary symptoms in a thousand other rush-hour commuters. The Japanese health system successfully processed the 5,500 people who rushed hospitals on the day of the attack, and the contaminated subway line was up and running by the next morning. Would we be as well prepared?

Read our CBRN Policy Brief, “Is the US Prepared for a Chemical Attack” and understand our current mechanisms of response. The Brief is written by Dr. Alexander Garza, GMU Biodefense Affiliate Research Scientist and former Assistant Secretary for Health Affairs and Chief Medical Officer at the Department of Homeland Security. Dr. Garza’s Policy Brief analyzes federal government preparedness, in terms of prevention, detection, and response, to a chemical weapons attack on US soil.

Full brief available here

(image courtesy of Bernd Daub/Flickr)

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