United States Biodetection Capability: a Study of Structure, Capability, and Appropriateness

Date of Graduation

Fall 2004


Master of Science in Defense and Strategic Studies


Defense and Strategic Studies

Committee Chair

C. Walton


Biological warfare has been an important threat for many years, although it has only recently been widely acknowledged as such. The U.S. government is beginning to formulate a serious response to this threat. Government agencies are tracking possessors of biological agents and trying to limit the spread of these agents. They are also developing methods to detect biological warfare agents. Given the many variables in biological warfare, this is a difficult task. In order to meet the threat the government will need to explore various biodetection methods. The technology needed varies depending on the type of agent, the method of dispersal of the agent, and the user's objectives. Analysis of these components of the threat is essential to establishing useful biodetection capabilities. The two main areas the U.S. government needs to protect are the U.S. homeland and the U.S. military. Each of these faces different threats and requires different means of protection. This thesis will explore efforts to develop biodetection capabilities, and examine the threat to the U.S. homeland and military. It will also show that the United States needs to integrate its biodetection capabilities into a logical, nation-wide biotection plan reinforced with a strong public health system in order to adequately address the biological warfare threat.


biological warfare, biodetection, biowarfare, biodefense, biosurveillance

Subject Categories

Defense and Security Studies


© Kate D. McMechen