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Old 07-31-2022, 02:31 PM
dragoon500ly dragoon500ly is offline
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Default Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Warfare and U.S. Part One Policies…

It starts with the “Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare”, more commonly known as the Geneva Protocol. This is the 1925 treaty prohibiting the use of chemical and biological weapons in international armed conflicts. This was signed at Geneva on 17 June 1925 and entered into force on 8 February 1928. It was registered in the League of Nations Treaty Series on 7 September 1929. The Geneva Protocol is a protocol to the Convention for the Supervision of the International Trade in Arms and Ammunition and in Implements of War signed on the same date and followed the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907.

It prohibits the use of “asphyxiating, poisonous or other gases, and of all analogous liquids, materials or devices” and “bacteriological methods of warfare". This is now understood to be a general prohibition on chemical weapons and biological weapons but has nothing to say about the production, storage, or transfer. Later treaties did cover these aspects – the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) and the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC).

A number of countries submitted reservations when becoming parties to the Geneva Protocol, declaring that they only regarded the non-use obligations as applying to other parties and that these obligations would cease to apply if the prohibited weapons were used against them.

The main elements of the protocol are now considered by many to be part of customary international law.

Assessments of the Protocol in 2005, took the view that the historic record showed it had been largely ineffectual. Specifically, it did not prohibit:

1) use against not-ratifying parties
2) retaliation using such weapons, so effectively making it a no-first-use agreement
3) use within a state's own borders in a civil conflict
4) research and development of such weapons, or stockpiling them

In light of these shortcomings, it is noted that "the Protocol (...) resulted in a legal framework that allowed states to conduct [biological weapons] research, develop new biological weapons, and ultimately engage in [biological weapons] arms races".

Despite the U.S. having been a proponent of the protocol, the U.S. military, and the American Chemical Society lobbied against it, causing the U.S. Senate not to ratify the protocol until 1975, the same year when the United States ratified the Biological Weapons Convention.

In 1966, United Nations General Assembly resolution 2162B called for, without any dissent, all states to strictly observe the protocol. In 1969, United Nations General Assembly resolution 2603 (XXIV) declared that the prohibition on the use of chemical and biological weapons in international armed conflicts, as embodied in the protocol (though restated in a more general form), were generally recognized rules of international law. Following this, there was a discussion of whether the main elements of the protocol now form part of customary international law, and now this is widely accepted to be the case.

There have been differing interpretations over whether the protocol covers the use of harassing agents, such as adamsite and tear gas, and defoliants and herbicides, such as Agent Orange, in warfare. The 1977 Environmental Modification Convention prohibits the military use of environmental modification techniques having widespread, long-lasting or severe effects. Many states do not regard this as a complete ban on the use of herbicides in warfare, but it does require case-by-case consideration. The 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention effectively banned riot control agents from being used as a method of warfare, though still permitting it for riot control.

In recent times, the protocol has been interpreted to cover internal conflicts as well international ones. In 1995, an appellate chamber in the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia stated that "there had undisputedly emerged a general consensus in the international community on the principle that the use of chemical weapons is also prohibited in internal armed conflicts." In 2005, the International Committee of the Red Cross concluded that customary international law includes a ban on the use of chemical weapons in internal as well as international conflicts.

The push for a U.S. ban on biological weapons begins with Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird in early 1969. In response to pressure for joint Congressional hearings on chemical and biological warfare, Secretary Laird and National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger along with the Joint Chiefs of Staff started a review of these weapons.

The first target was the Biological Warfare (BW) program. There were two reasons to eliminate this program. The first was political, eliminating the program could deflect growing protests over Vietnam. The second was budgetary. Under the administrations of President Kennedy and President Johnson, the BW budget had ballooned. This triggered a Kissinger directive to review CBW policies, programs, and operational concepts with the report due in September 1969.

Perhaps the most surprising stance was that of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who were very receptive to the elimination of BW. Their opinion was that the weapons were ineffective and militarily useless, especially when compared to the U.S. nuclear arsenal. The Joint Chiefs made two demands, one was to continue defensive germ warfare research and the other was that they are allowed to maintain the U.S. chemical arsenal as a deterrent to the Soviet Union.

A September 1969 paper urged that the U.S. ratify the Geneva Protocol and elimination all of the U.S. BW programs. One of the major arguments in this paper was the point that a biological attack would likely inflict a great toll on civilian populations while remaining largely militarily ineffective.

Executive action on BW was followed by congressional action on chemical warfare (CW). In August 1969 the Senate passed an amendment to the Military Procurement Bill which unilaterally renounced the first use of chemical weapons. The Senate action also issued a moratorium on the acquisition of new chemical weapons as well as de-emphasizing the need for CW readiness. The bill passed 91-0, although some senators expressed reservations about the CW provisions.
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Old 07-31-2022, 02:35 PM
dragoon500ly dragoon500ly is offline
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Default NBC Warfare and U.S. Policies… Part Two

For the United States the “Statement on Chemical and Biological Defense Policies and Programs" was a speech delivered on November 25, 1969, by U.S. President Richard Nixon. In the speech, Nixon announced the end of the U.S. offensive biological weapons program and reaffirmed a no-first-use policy for chemical weapons. The statement excluded toxins, herbicides, and riot-control agents as they were not chemical and biological weapons, though herbicides and toxins were both later banned. The decision to ban biological weapons was influenced by a number of domestic and international issues. Later that same day, President Nixon gave a speech from the White House further outlining his previous statement. The statement ended, unconditionally, all U.S. offensive biological weapons programs. President Nixon noted that biological weapons were unreliable, and stated:

“The United States shall renounce the use of lethal biological agents and weapons and all other methods of biological warfare. The United States will confine its biological research to defensive measures such as immunization and safety measures.”

In his speech, President Nixon called his move "unprecedented", and it was in fact the first review of the U.S. BW program since 1954. Despite the lack of review, the BW program had increased in cost and size since 1961; when Nixon ended the program the budget was $300 million annually. Nixon's statement confined all biological weapons research to defensive-only and ordered the destruction of the existing U.S. biological arsenal.

The Nixon statement also addressed the topics of chemical warfare and U.S. ratification of the Geneva Protocol, which, at the time, the nation had yet to ratify. On chemical warfare, Nixon reaffirmed no first use of chemical weapons by the United States. He also announced that the United States would reconsider ratification of the Geneva Protocol, which Nixon recommended to the Senate that year.

This statement purposely omitted certain agents, while others were simply overlooked. In an exception to the no-first-use policy, which his statement reaffirmed, Nixon made deference for riot-control agents and herbicides. Both were in use in Vietnam and both had been lightning rods for criticism. Nixon promised later memorandums concerning the abolition of both types of agents; herbicide use in Vietnam was discontinued in 1970 but riot-control agent use continued.

The other major omission from Nixon's statement was toxins. His statement did not specifically address toxins, such as ricin, which tend to blur the line between chemical and biological weapons. As debate within the Army raged over whether toxins were considered chemical or biological weapons concerning the president's order, work on them continued at Fort Detrick, the "hub" of U.S. biological weapons programs. For several months following the November order, the Army continued working on staphylococcus enterotoxin type B (SEB).On February 20, 1970, Nixon added toxins, regardless of their means of production - be it chemical or biological, to the U.S. ban on biological weapons.

The statement immediately led to National Security Decision Memorandum 35 from Nixon, which was also dated November 25, 1969. The memorandum also stated that the U.S. government renounced all "lethal methods" and "all other methods" of biological warfare, it also stated that the U.S. would only conduct BW research and development for defensive purposes.

Over the next decade, U.S biological weapons stocks were destroyed, mostly at Pine Buff Arsenal where all U.S. anti-personnel biological agents were stored. This was completed in May 1972 and this included the decontamination of facilities at Pine Bluff. Other agents, including anti-crop agents such as wheat stem rust, were stored at Beale Air Force Base and Rocky Mountain Arsenal. These anti-crop agents, along with agents at Fort Detrick used for research purposes were destroyed in March 1973.

President Nixon closed his statement, "Mankind already carries in its own hands too many of the seeds of its own destruction. By the examples we set today, we hope to contribute to an atmosphere of peace and understanding between nations and among men." Shortly after Nixon's statement the United States and the Soviet Union began the SALT arms control talks, which eventually resulted in nuclear arms controls as well as the 1972 Antiballistic Missile Treaty. The U.S. commitment to end BW programs helped provide the lead for ongoing talks led by the United Kingdom in Geneva. The Eighteen Nation Disarmament Committee was discussing a British draft of a biological weapons treaty that the United Nations General Assembly approved in 1968 and that NATO supported. These arms control talks would eventually lead to the Biological Weapons Convention, an international treaty outlawing biological warfare.

At this point in time, the U.S. has no offensive biological weapons capability. NATO has pledged no first use of chemical weapons in the event of war. For the U.S., in spite of the modernization of much of its chemical weapon arsenal, its primary weapon of mass destruction remains nuclear weapons. Hence, the policy that any use of biological and chemical warfare would result in immediate retaliation with the only weapon of mass destruction remaining to the U.S., the so-called “nuclear option.”
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Old 07-31-2022, 03:14 PM
dragoon500ly dragoon500ly is offline
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Default NBC Warfare and U.S. Policies, Part Three

A brief overview:

The United States was the first country to manufacture nuclear weapons and is the only country to have used them in combat, with the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II. Before and during the Cold War, it conducted 1,054 nuclear tests and tested many long-range nuclear weapons delivery systems.

Between 1940 and 1996 the U.S. spent an estimated $10.1 trillion in 1997 dollars on nuclear weapons, including platforms development (aircraft, rockets, and facilities), command and control, maintenance, waste management, and administrative costs. At its peak (1967), the U.S. possessed 31,255 warheads. The current U.S. arsenal (2021) is some 3,750 warheads plus an additional estimated 2,000 warheads that have been retired and are awaiting dismantlement.

Since its first use in 1945, the President of the United States has had the responsibility for the sole authority to launch U. S. nuclear weapons, whether as a first strike or nuclear retaliation. This arrangement was seen as necessary during the Cold War to present a credible nuclear deterrent; if an attack was detected, the United States would have only minutes to launch a counterstrike before its nuclear capability was severely damaged, or national leaders killed. If the President has been killed, command authority follows the presidential line of succession. Changes to this policy have been proposed, but currently, the only way to countermand such an order before the strike was launched would be for the Vice President and the majority of the Cabinet to relieve the President under Section 4 of the Twenty-fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Regardless of whether the United States is actually under attack by a nuclear-capable adversary, the President alone has the authority to order nuclear strikes. The President and the Secretary of Defense form the National Command Authority, but the Secretary of Defense has no authority to refuse or disobey such an order. The President's decision must be transmitted to the National Military Command Center, which will then issue the coded orders to nuclear-capable forces.

Dating back to the Eisenhower administration, the authority to launch a full-scale nuclear attack has been delegated to theater commanders and other specific commanders if they believe it is warranted by circumstances, and are out of communication with the president or the president had been incapacitated. An example of this would be the Cuban Missile Crisis, when General Thomas Power, commander of the Strategic Air Command, took the country to DEFCON 2, the very precipice of full-scale nuclear war, launching the SAC bombers of the US with nuclear weapons ready to strike.

It has been a long-standing U. S. policy of “no first use” of nuclear weapons. Indeed, the U.S. has stated "will not use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapons states that are party to the NPT [Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty] and in compliance with their nuclear nonproliferation obligations", this promise covers more than 180 countries. This policy is known as a “negative security assurance.” This policy was confirmed under President Trump’s 2018 Nuclear Posture Review (NPR).

HOWEVER, China, the Soviet Union (and now Russia), and North Korea do not fall under the US negative security assurance. China and Russia are nuclear weapon states under the NPT, and North Korea withdrew from the treaty in 2003 and conducted its first nuclear test in 2006.

This means that they could be targets for US nuclear weapons, including the United States launching weapons at them first.

Both the Obama and Trump administration NPRs state that the U.S. “would only consider the use of nuclear weapons in extreme circumstances to defend the vital interests of the United States or its allies and partners.” However, the Obama version stated that use would be limited to “a narrow range of contingencies” and emphasized that the goal was to continue to “reduce the role of nuclear weapons in deterring non-nuclear attacks, with the objective of making deterrence of nuclear attack on the United States or our allies and partners the sole purpose of US nuclear weapons.”

The Trump NPR broadens the definition of “extreme circumstances,” saying these “could include significant non-nuclear attacks. Significant non-nuclear attacks include, but are not limited to, attacks on the U.S., allies, or partner civilian population or infrastructure, and attacks on U.S. or allied nuclear forces, their command and control, or warning and attack assessment.” This could potentially include cyber attacks as a valid reason for nuclear use under US policy.

I hope you've enjoyed this long, dry, and sometimes confusing overview of the U.S. policies concerning NBC Warfare. Primary source materials are the Congressional Records and the Congressional Research Service.
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