Calls for a new way to assess bioweapon threats—recognizing the importance of the sociopolitical context of technological threats.
The horrifying terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, and the anthrax strikes that soon followed gave the United States new reason to fear unconventional enemies and atypical weapons. These fears have prompted extensive research, study, and planning within the U.S. military, intelligence, and policy communities regarding potential attacks involving biological weapons. In Phantom Menace or Looming Danger?, Kathleen M. Vogel argues for a major shift in how analysts assess bioweapons threats. She calls for an increased focus on the social and political context in which technological threats are developed.
Vogel uses case studies to illustrate her theory: Soviet anthrax weapons development, the Iraqi mobile bioweapons labs, and two synthetic genomic experiments. She concludes with recommendations for analysts and policymakers to integrate sociopolitical analysis with data analysis, thereby making U.S. bioweapon assessments more accurate. Students of security policy will find her innovative framework appealing, her writing style accessible, and the many illustrations helpful. These features also make Phantom Menace or Looming Danger? a must-read for government policymakers and intelligence experts.
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