Biological War Against Agriculture and the Threat of Agricultural Bioterrorism

Date of Graduation

Summer 2003


Master of Science in Defense and Strategic Studies


Defense and Strategic Studies

Committee Chair

Ulrike Schumacher


The agricultural industry of the United States is a vital component of the economy, composing 13 percent of annual GDP and employing millions of Americans. Little attention has been given to the possibility of someone intentionally targeting agriculture with biological agents as a form of warfare. There are many animal and plant diseases that could be used to target American agriculture. Over the course of history, biological agents have been used to attack agriculture several times. States that have developed biological weapons programs have included anti-crop and anti-livestock research in their programs. The United States may soon see such a deliberate attempt to damage the agriculture indistry and must prepare to limit and control such an attack. The targeting of agriculture is a real threat to the United States as it could be devastating to the economy and to America's peace of mind. While it is unlikely that such attacks would be the work of a traditional terrorist group, there are some situations in which an attack is more likely to occur. This thesis provides a background for understanding biological attacks against agriclture and examines the threat of a biological terrorist attack against agriculture, what the impact wold be, and what type of terrorist would be likely to employ such methods.

Subject Categories

Defense and Security Studies


© Jonathon D Winslow