Why the United States underestimated the Soviet BW threat
Jaehnig, James S.
Lavoy, Peter R.
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Biological weapons have the ability to inflict mass casualties while keeping existing infrastructure intact. They are inexpensive to manufacture, difficult to detect, and have a low signature for attribution. In the 1970s, the Soviet Union began amassing the largest stockpile of biological weapons worldwide. The U.S. Intelligence community repeatedly failed to detect the scope and character of this large-scale Soviet development effort despite implausible explanations for outbreaks of unexplained disease, credible ground reports from informants, and strange behavior patterns viewed through reconnaissance efforts. Toward the end of the Cold War, the U.S. Intelligence realized its grave error. Unfortunately, the majority of these weapons are unaccounted for today. By examining the reasons the Soviet Unionâ s biological weapons program went undetected, the United States may gain a better advantage for future assessments and prevent the large-scale stockpiling and development of biological weapons.
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