International Order & Conflict

Stimson Center Report No 48: Compliance Through Science

in Program

Science, Technology, and HeUS Pharmaceutical Industry Experts on a Strengthened Bioweapons Nonproliferation Regimealth Expertise in the National Biological Security Policy Process

A group of US biotechnology and pharmaceutical experts calls on the US government to rework the proposals to strengthen the international regime against biological weapons.   As the title of the report indicates, they espouse a compliance-through-science approach to reducing the biological weapons threat.

The industry experts argue that as the Bush administration proposals are currently structured, they could produce actions that are fragmented, weak, and contradictory to the desired goal of thwarting terrorists and governments from acquiring offensive biological weapons capabilities.

Their tougher approach features the establishment of universal minimum standards for biosafety, biosecurity, and oversight of genetically-modified research, underpinned by penalties for noncompliance.   The industry experts identify specific models for international standards in each of these areas, and they support a phased approach to implementation.   In addition, they describe how to fill gaps in the US biosecurity initiative.

The industry experts were confident, as were their predecessors in the Stimson Center’s previous report, House of Cards, that a technically sound multilateral monitoring protocol can be constructed.  Urging that inspection techniques need to be further researched and tested, the group agreed to draft trial monitoring plans for field tests at industry facilities to facilitate such activities.  Download the report in PDF format, below.


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