Bio- weapons: deadliest among all combat arms

Biological weapons‭, ‬also called‮ ‬germ weapons‭, ‬are any of a number of disease-producing agents‭ ‬—‭ ‬such as‮ ‬bacteria‭,‬‮ ‬viruses‭,‬‮ ‬rickettsia‭,‬‮ ‬fungi‭,‬‮ ‬toxins‭, ‬or other biological agents—that may be utilized as weapons against humans‭,‬‮ ‬animals‭, ‬or‮ ‬plants‭. ‬The direct use of infectious agents and‮ ‬poisons‮ ‬against enemy personnel is an ancient practice in‮ ‬warfare‭. ‬Indeed‭, ‬in many conflicts‭, ‬diseases have been responsible for more deaths than all the employed combat arms combined‭, ‬even when they have not consciously been used as weapons‭.‬

1‭. ‬Mass Deaths

Biological weapons‭, ‬like chemical weapons‭, ‬radiological weapons‭, ‬and nuclear weapons‭, ‬are commonly referred to as weapons of mass destruction‭, ‬although the term is not truly appropriate in the case of biological armaments‭. ‬Lethal biological weapons may be‭ ‬capable of causing mass deaths‭, ‬but they are incapable of mass destruction of infrastructure‭, ‬buildings‭, ‬or equipment‭. ‬Nevertheless‭, ‬because of the indiscriminate nature of these weapons—as well as the potential for starting widespread pandemics‭, ‬the difficulty of controlling disease effects‭, ‬and the fear that they inspire—most countries have agreed to ban the entire class‭.‬

2‭. ‬Biological Warfare in History

One of the first recorded uses of biological warfare occurred in 1347‭, ‬when Mongol forces are reported to have catapulted plague‭-‬infested bodies over the walls into the Black Sea port of Caffa‭ (‬now Feodosiya‭, ‬Ukraine‭), ‬at that time a Genoese trade center in the Crimean Peninsula‭. ‬Some historians believe that ships from the besieged city returned to Italy with the plague‭, ‬starting the Black Death pandemic that swept through Europe over the next four years and killed some 25‭ ‬million people‭ (‬about one-third of‭ ‬the population‭).‬

In 1710‭, ‬a Russian army fighting Swedish forces barricaded in Reval‭ (‬now Tallinn‭, ‬Estonia‭) ‬also hurled plague-infested corpses over the city’s walls‭. ‬In 1763‭, ‬British troops besieged at Fort Pitt‭ (‬now Pittsburgh‭) ‬during Pontiac’s Rebellion passed blankets infected with smallpox virus to the Indians‭, ‬causing a devastating epidemic among their ranks‭.‬

3‭. ‬Most Dangerous Bio-weapons

Bioweapons such as Anthrax‭, ‬Botulism and Variola have been studied as weapons‭, ‬engineered and in some cases even deployed to devastating effect‭. ‬Army Technology magazine published a list of the world’s deadliest bio-weapons as follows‭:‬

1‭ ‬Anthrax‭:‬‭ ‬Bacillus anthracis bacteria‭, ‬which causes anthrax‭, ‬is one of the deadliest agents to be used as a biological weapon‭. ‬It is classified by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention‭ (‬CDC‭) ‬as a‭ ‬‘Category A’‭ ‬agent‭, ‬posing a significant risk to national security‭. ‬The gram-positive‭, ‬rod-shaped anthrax spores are found naturally in soil‭, ‬can be produced in a lab‭, ‬and last for a long time in the environment‭. ‬Anthrax has been used as a bio-weapon for about a century‭. ‬The invisible‭, ‬infectious‭, ‬odorless and tasteless spores make Anthrax a flexible bio-weapon‭. ‬

2‭ ‬Botulinum Toxin‭:‬‭ ‬Botulinum is relatively easy to produce and has extreme potency and lethality‭. ‬A gram of Botulinum toxin can kill more than a million people if inhaled‭. ‬Botulism is a serious muscle-paralyzing disease caused by a nerve toxin produced by a bacterium called‭ ‬Clostridium botulinum‭. ‬It induces illness through a common pathway causing muscle weakness‭, ‬difficulty in speaking and swallowing‭, ‬and double and blurred vision‭.‬

3‭ ‬Smallpox‭:‬‭ ‬Variola major virus causes Smallpox‭, ‬a highly contagious and infectious disease that has no cure and can be only prevented by vaccination‭. ‬Smallpox is believed to have been used as a biological weapon against Native Americans and again during the American‭ ‬Revolutionary War‭. ‬The threat of smallpox being used as a biological weapon decreased when WHO launched a successful global immunization program against Smallpox in 1967‭.‬

4‭ ‬Tularemia‭:‬‭ ‬Extreme infectiousness‭, ‬ease of dispersion‭, ‬and ability to cause illness and death make Francisella tularensis bacterium‭, ‬classified as Category A‭, ‬is a dangerous bio-weapon‭. ‬People affected with Francisella tularensis experience symptoms including skin ulcer‭, ‬fever‭, ‬cough‭, ‬vomiting and diarrhea‭. ‬

5‭ ‬Ebola Virus‭:‬‭ ‬Ebola Virus Disease‭ (‬EVD‭) ‬is a deadly disease induced by infection with one of the Ebola virus forms‭. ‬Ebola was first discovered in 1976‭ ‬in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and is transmitted to humans from wild animals‭, ‬causing an average case fatality rate of 50%‭. ‬Ebola as a biological weapon poses a great threat to humans because of its high case-fatality rate‭. ‬

6‭ ‬Plague‭: ‬Yersinia pestis bacterium‭, ‬also classified as Category A organism causing pneumonic plague‭, ‬can be created in a laboratory in high quantity for use as a bio-weapon‭. ‬Pneumonic plague spreads from person to person and causes symptoms such as fever‭, ‬weakness‭ ‬and pneumonia in early stage and‭, ‬if not treated early‭, ‬leads to respiratory failure‭, ‬shock and death‭. ‬

7‭ ‬Marburg Virus‭:‬‭ ‬Marburg Haemorrhagic Fever‭ (‬Marburg HF‭) ‬is caused by Marburg virus of the filovirus family‭, ‬which also includes the Ebola virus‭. ‬Marburg virus‭, ‬also a‭ ‬‘Category A’‭ ‬bio-warfare agent,is hosted in African fruit bat‭. ‬It has a high case fatality rate of up to 90%‭.‬

8‭ ‬Bunyavirus‭:‬‭ ‬The Bunyaviridae family of viruses includes three viruses‭ ‬–‭ ‬Nairovirus‭, ‬Phlebovirus and Hantavirus‭. ‬Korean hemorrhagic fever caused by Hantavirus broke out during the Korean War when an estimated 3,000‭ ‬American and Korean soldiers became infected with the disease‭, ‬but evidence of its direct usage as a biological weapon has not been found‭. ‬Bunyavirus causes human infections such as Hanta Pulmonary Syndrome‭ (‬HPS‭), ‬Rift Valley fever and Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever‭. ‬It is transmitted by arthropods and rodents and occasionally infects humans too‭. ‬The Hanta virus causing HPS causes a mortality rate of up to 50%‭.‬

4‭. ‬Heat‭ & ‬Oxidation

Bio-weapons can be delivered in numerous ways‭: ‬direct absorption or injection into the skin‭, ‬inhalation of aerosol sprays or consumption of food and water‭. ‬The most vulnerable‭ ‬—‭ ‬and often most lethal‭ ‬—‭ ‬point of entry is the lungs‭. ‬Fortunately‭, ‬most biological agents break down quickly in the environment through exposure to heat‭, ‬oxidation‭, ‬and pollution‭, ‬coupled with the roughly 50‭ ‬percent loss of the microorganism during aerosol dissemination or 90‭ ‬percent loss during explosive dissemination‭.‬

5‭. ‬Genetic Engineering Defenses

The revolution in genetic engineering provides a path for overcoming delivery issues and escalating a biological attack into a pandemic‭. ‬First‭, ‬tools for analyzing and altering a microorganism’s DNA or RNA are available and affordable worldwide‭. ‬The introduction of clustered regularly interspersed short palindromic repeats‭ (‬CRISPR‭) ‬—‭ ‬a technique that acts like scissors or a pencil to alter DNA sequences and gene functions‭ ‬—‭ ‬in 2013‭ ‬made biodefense more challenging‭. ‬Even as experienced researchers struggle to CRISPR and prevent unintended effects‭, ‬malevolent actors with newfound access can attempt to manipulate existing agents to increase contagiousness‭; ‬improve resistance to‭ ‬antibiotics‭, ‬vaccines‭, ‬and anti-virals‭; ‬enhance survivability in the environment‭; ‬and develop means of mass production‭. ‬

6‭. ‬Bio Terrorism

Biological weapons are‭ ‬“unfortunately characterized by low visibility‭, ‬high potency‭, ‬substantial accessibility‭, ‬and relatively easy delivery”‭. ‬This can make them very tempting choices for not only states but terrorist groups‭. ‬However‭, ‬neither the international community nor any individual country is well prepared for bioterrorism‭. ‬Among famous bioterrorist attacks that were launched in the past‭ ‬decades‭: ‬

1‭ ‬Exiled Indian Guru‭:‬‭ ‬In the 1980s‭, ‬followers of the exiled Indian self-proclaimed guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh settled on a ranch in Wasco county‭, ‬Oregon‭, ‬U.S‭. ‬The‭ ‬“Rajneeshies”‭ ‬took political control of the nearby town of Antelope‭, ‬changing its name to Rajneesh‭, ‬and in 1984‭ ‬they attempted to extend their political control throughout the county by suppressing voter turnout in the more populous town of The Dalles‭. ‬Their attacks made at least 751‭ ‬people ill‭. ‬The plot was not discovered until the year after the attack‭, ‬when one of the participants confessed‭.‬

2‭ ‬Japanese Sect‭:‬‭ ‬In the period from April 1990‭ ‬to July 1995‭, ‬the AUM Shinrikyo sect used both biological and chemical weapons on targets in Japan‭. ‬The members’‭ ‬biological attacks were largely unsuccessful because they never mastered the science and technology of biological warfare‭. ‬Nevertheless‭, ‬they attempted four attacks using anthrax and six using botulinum toxin on various targets‭, ‬including a U.S‭. ‬naval base at Yokosuka‭.‬

3‭ ‬Al Qaeda‭: ‬Al-Qaeda operatives have shown an interest in developing and using biological weapons‭, ‬and they operated an anthrax laboratory in Afghanistan prior to its being overrun by U.S‭. ‬and Afghan Northern Alliance forces in 2001–02‭. ‬In 2001‭, ‬anthrax attacks killed 5‭ ‬people and sent 22‭ ‬to the hospital while forcing the evacuation of congressional office buildings‭, ‬the offices of the governor of New York‭, ‬headquarters of several television networks‭, ‬and a tabloid newspaper office‭. ‬This event caused many billions of dollars in cleanup‭, ‬decontamination‭, ‬and investigation costs‭. ‬In early 2010‭, ‬more than eight years after the attacks‭, ‬the Federal Bureau of Investigation finally closed its investigation‭, ‬having concluded that the crimes were committed by a microbiologist‭, ‬who had worked in the U.S‭. ‬Army’s biological defense effort for years‭, ‬and who committed suicide in 2008‭ ‬after being named a suspect in the investigation‭.‬

7‭. ‬Online Hazards

Information on the manufacturing of biological and chemical weapons has been disseminated widely on the internet‭, ‬and basic scientific information is also within the reach of many researchers at biological laboratories around the world‭. ‬Unfortunately‭, ‬it thus seems likely that poisons and disease agents will be used as terrorist weapons in the future‭, ‬unless a serious action is taken by governments collectively and individually to ban such activities‭.‬

8‭. ‬Biological Weapons Convention

The Biological Weapons Convention‭ (‬BWC‭) ‬effectively prohibits the development‭, ‬production‭, ‬acquisition‭, ‬transfer‭, ‬stockpiling and use of biological and toxin weapons‭. ‬It was the first multilateral disarmament treaty banning an entire category of weapons of‭ ‬mass destruction‭ (‬WMD‭). ‬The BWC is a key element in the international community’s efforts to address WMD proliferation and it has established a strong norm against biological weapons‭. ‬The Convention has reached almost universal membership with 183‭ ‬States Parties and four Signatory States‭. ‬Formally known as‭ ‬“The Convention on the Prohibition of the Development‭, ‬Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological‭ (‬Biological‭) ‬and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction”‭, ‬the Convention was negotiated by the Conference of the Committee on Disarmament in Geneva‭, ‬Switzerland‭. ‬It opened for signature on 10‭ ‬April 1972‭ ‬and entered into force on 26‭ ‬March 1975‭. ‬The BWC supplements the 1925‭ ‬Geneva Protocol‭, ‬which had prohibited only the use of biological weapons‭.‬

States Parties to the Biological Weapons Convention undertook‭ ‬زnever in any circumstances to develop‭, ‬produce‭, ‬stockpile or otherwise acquire or retain‭:‬

‭- ‬microbial or other biological agents‭, ‬or toxins whatever their origin or method of production‭, ‬of types and in quantities that‭ ‬have no justification for prophylactic‭, ‬protective or other peaceful purposes‭;‬

‭- ‬weapons‭, ‬equipment or means of delivery designed to use such agents or toxins for hostile purposes or in armed conflict‭.‬”

BWC States Parties have strived to ensure that the Convention remains relevant and effective‭, ‬despite the changes in science and‭ ‬technology‭, ‬politics and security since it entered into force‭. ‬Throughout the intervening years‭, ‬States Parties have met approximately every five years to review the operation of the BWC‭. ‬Between these Review Conferences‭, ‬States Parties have pursued various activities and initiatives to strengthen the effectiveness and improve the implementation of the Convention‭. ‬A total of eight‭ ‬Review Conferences have taken place since the first one in 1980‭. ‬The Ninth Review Conference is due to take place in November 2021‭.‬

9‭. ‬Six Ways Science Can Improve Biodefense

1‭ ‬Understanding the human genome‭:‬‭ ‬Human genome projects will have a profound influence on the pace of molecular biology research and help solve the most mysterious and complex of life’s processes‭. ‬New biotechnology should allow the analysis of the full cascade of events that occur in a human cell following the‭ ‬infection with a pathogen or the uptake of toxin molecule‭. ‬Circumstances that caused individual susceptibility to infectious diseases will become clear‭.‬

Currently‭, ‬the functions of nearly half of all human genes are unknown‭. ‬Functional genomics studies should elucidate these unknowns and enable design of possible new strategies for prevention and treatment in the form of vaccines and anti-microbial drugs‭.‬

2‭ ‬Boosting the immune system‭:‬‭ ‬The complete sequencing of the human genome also provides a new starting point for better understanding of‭, ‬and potential manipulation of‭, ‬the human immune system‭. ‬This has a tremendous potential against biological warfare‭. ‬After years of effort in the FSU to genetically engineer pathogens for biological warfare‭. ‬Researchers are working to protect against the use of biological agents‭. ‬They are researching mechanisms to boost the immune system to defend the body against infectious diseases‭. ‬One of the initial projects‭, ‬in this domain‭, ‬is conducting cellular research that could lead to protection against anthrax‭. ‬Similar immunological research in other labs has great promise to heighten the general human immune response to microbial attack in an effort to move beyond the‭ ‬“one bug-one drug”‭ ‬historical approach‭.‬

3‭ ‬Understanding viral and bacterial genomes‭:‬‭ ‬The genome projects for various microorganisms will explain why pathogens have the characteristics of virulence or drug resistance‭. ‬Creating a minimal genome would be an important milestone in genetic engineering as it would prove the capability to create‭ ‬organisms simply from the blueprint of their genomes‭. ‬Such a kind of research may provide insight into the very origins of life‭, ‬bacterial evolution‭, ‬and understanding the cellular processes of more complex life forms‭. ‬Bacteria may also be modified to produce bioregulators against pathogens‭. ‬For example‭, ‬E‭. ‬coli has been genetically engineered to produce commercial quantities of interferon‭, ‬a natural protein that has antiviral activity against a variety of viruses‭. ‬

4‭ ‬Bio-agent detection and identification equipment‭:‬‭ ‬Biotechnologists need to continually develop more definitive‭, ‬rapid‭, ‬and automated detection equipment‭, ‬regardless of whether or not bacteria have been genetically engineered‭.‬

The capability to compare genomes using DNA assays is already possible‭. ‬It is reasonable to contemplate a DNA microchip that could identify the most important human pathogens by deciphering bacterial and viral genomes‭. ‬This detector could provide information on the full genetic complement of any Biological Weapon‭ (‬BW‭) ‬agent even if it contained genes or plasmids from other species‭,‬‭ ‬had unusual virulence or antibiotic-resistance properties‭, ‬or was a synthetic organism built from component genes‭. ‬The ability‭ ‬to quickly identify and characterize a potential BW agent with a single test will greatly reduce the delays in current detection‭ ‬methods‭. ‬Genetics deciphered the genome of the anthrax bacteria contained in the terrorist letters after September 11‭, ‬2001‭. ‬DNA tests confirmed that the anthrax in every letter was the Ames strain‭. ‬Forensic scientists also looked for human DNA that might‭ ‬be inside the letters‭. ‬The information was used for both the criminal investigation and for further medical research for diagnosis and treatment‭. ‬Further research and development can be seen with new sensors‭. ‬This includes stand-off applications‭, ‬point identification‭, ‬and lightweight integrated detection and identification‭. ‬For example‭, ‬the new joint biological stand-off detection‭ ‬system is being touted as the first system of its kind‭. ‬It will be capable of providing stand-off detection‭, ‬ranging‭, ‬tracking‭,‬‭ ‬discrimination of BW aerosol clouds‭. ‬Another sensor to be fielded with the US military‭, ‬for instance‭, ‬is the man-handleable joint biological tactical detection system‭, ‬a lightweight biological agent system‭. ‬It detects‭, ‬warns and provides presumptive identification and samples for follow-on analysis‭. ‬

In recent times‭, ‬a range of new decontamination equipment has entered service‭. ‬This new decontamination family of systems is built on the conception that there cannot be a one-size-fits-all solution‭. ‬The new family will include a range of decontamination equipment and procedures including decontaminants‭, ‬applicator systems‭, ‬agent identification‭, ‬coatings and the whole process itself‭. ‬

5‭ ‬New vaccines‭:‬‭ ‬Biological warfare attacks can be made less effective‭, ‬or ineffective‭, ‬if the targeted persons have been vaccinated against the‭ ‬specific disease-causing agent used in an attack‭.‬

Medical research also focuses on developing countermeasures to make pre-treatments‭, ‬therapeutics and diagnostics effective‭. ‬This‭ ‬means developing multiagent vaccines that will afford recipients protection against unique combinations of biological threat agents‭. ‬

6‭ ‬New antibiotics and antiviral drugs‭:‬‭ ‬Advances in microbial genomics hold great promise in the design of new anti-microbial drugs‭. ‬Current antibiotics target three processes in bacterial cells‭: ‬DNA synthesis‭, ‬protein synthesis‭, ‬and cell-wall synthesis‭. ‬From Deciphered genome information‭, ‬any other protein essential for cell viability is a possible target for a new class of antibiotics‭. ‬Although the first such antibiotics may be‭ ‬“silver bullets”‭ ‬for a specific infectious agent‭, ‬the information gained may lead to broad-spectrum anti-microbial agents‭. ‬If the 1950s were the‭ ‬golden age of antibiotics‭, ‬we are now in the age of antivirals‭. ‬With viral genomes decoded‭, ‬scientists are currently working to‭ ‬decipher how viruses cause disease‭, ‬and which stage of the disease-producing process might be vulnerable to interruption‭. ‬Insights gleaned from the human genome and viral genomes have opened the way to development of whole new classes of antiviral drugs‭.‬

9‭. ‬Military Defense tools

Most weaponized lethal biological agents are intended to be delivered as aerosols‭, ‬which would cause infections when breathed by‭ ‬the targeted personnel‭. ‬For this reason‭, ‬the most-effective defense against biological weapons is a good protective mask equipped with filters capable of blocking bacteria‭, ‬viruses‭, ‬and spores larger than one micron‭ (‬one micrometer‭; ‬one-millionth of a meter‭) ‬in cross section from entry into the wearer’s nasal passages and lungs‭. ‬Protective overgarments‭, ‬including boots and gloves‭, ‬are useful for preventing biological agents from contacting open wounds or breaks in the skin‭. ‬Also‭, ‬decontaminants can neutralize biological agents in infected areas after a‭ ‬biological attack‭.‬

1‭ ‬Sensors‭ & ‬Masks‭: ‬Developing and fielding effective biological weapon sensor s that can trigger an alarm would allow personnel to don masks before‭ ‬exposure‭, ‬get into protective overgarments‭, ‬and go inside‭, ‬preferably into toxic-free collective protection shelters‭. ‬Medical teams could then immediately go into action to check and treat those who may have been exposed‭.‬

2‭ ‬CBRN Tactics‭:‬‭ ‬One of the tasks of the US Chemical Biological Defense Program CBDP is to integrate separate areas of CBRN defense capabilities‭ ‬like sensors‭, ‬information systems‭, ‬protection systems‭, ‬consequence management tools to deal with hazardous situations together‭ ‬toward one system that enables rapid decision-making at a strategic‭, ‬tactical and unit level‭. ‬As a vision for the countermeasures of the future the US military also sees an integrated protective ensemble based on the convergence of nanotechnology‭, ‬biotechnology‭, ‬information technology and cognitive sciences‭. ‬It will sense dangerous substances‭, ‬initiate countermeasures and provide real-time battlefield awareness to the wearer and to the command nodes‭.‬

3‭ ‬Detection Equipment‭:‬‭ ‬The first step to neutralizing a danger is understanding it‭, ‬and consequently‭, ‬the methods of hazardous materials detection can‭ ‬be effective‭, ‬durable and accurate‭. ‬Thus‭, ‬detection teams can confident that they receive the correct readings to inform their‭ ‬next move‭. ‬In addition to reliability‭, ‬many devices are made to withstand extreme conditions—such as intensely cold or hot climates—to guarantee they can be used wherever their services are needed‭. ‬The protective gear of users has also to take into account in‭ ‬the devices’‭ ‬interface design to make use easy even when wearing bulky gloves‭.‬

Besides‭, ‬researchers have developed bioaerosol early warning devices‭, ‬that can detect various airborne
biological contaminants‭. ‬Laboratory testing has shown that such sensors can signal the presence of aerosols and bioaerosols‭ (‬e.g‭., ‬household dust‭, ‬bacteria‭, ‬smoke‭, ‬and some viruses‭) ‬ranging from 0.15‭ ‬microns to more than 5‭ ‬microns‭ (‬adjustable based on application‭) ‬in real time‭. ‬A‭ ‬simple design enables these detectors to be used individually or to be networked in distributed arrays that will enable continuous‭, ‬real-time monitoring of critical areas for the presence of airborne contaminants‭. ‬Some of the sophisticated sensors detect airborne biological contaminants through an innovative design that uses a laser and patented technique to easily differentiate between inorganic and organic particles‭. ‬When illuminated by a laser‭, ‬bioaerosols that contain bacteria‭, ‬viruses‭, ‬or fungal spores‭ ‬emit photons with a characteristic fluorescence signal‭. ‬Inorganic particles simply scatter the laser light without emitting fluorescent photons‭. ‬As air passes through the laser inside the detector‭, ‬fluoresced and scattered photons are collected and counted separately to distinguish bioaerosols—even in the presence of potentially interfering dust and other inorganic particles‭. ‬

4‭ ‬NBCRV Stryker‭:‬‭ ‬The M1135‭ ‬Nuclear‭, ‬Biological‭, ‬Chemical‭, ‬Reconnaissance Vehicle‭ (‬NBCRV‭) ‬provides detection and surveillance services for battlefield hazard visualization‭. ‬Soldiers have used the Stryker‭, ‬an eight-wheeled armored fighting vehicle‭, ‬to address CBRN threats on the battlefield‭. ‬When modified with CBRN chemical detection sensors‭, ‬the Stryker is now known as the Stryker Nuclear‭, ‬Biological and Chemical Reconnaissance Vehicle or NBCRV‭. ‬Moreover‭, ‬the NBCRVs are undergoing development process to upgrade the sensor suite so as to be turned into a standalone package allowing the sensors package to be placed anywhere‭. ‬The new modifications will‭ ‬increase Soldier safety‭, ‬as the package will perform remote detection tasks‭, ‬side by side with the capability of on-the-move detection‭.‬

5‭ ‬Respiratory protection‭:‬‭ ‬CBRN respiratory gear is vital to guard responders from airborne toxins and chemical agents‭. ‬Individuals tasked with rescue in‭ ‬disaster areas may also need respiratory protection from dust and other debris particles‭, ‬as exposure to such contaminants can lead to long-term health complications‭. ‬Available respiratory filtration systems are built to be lightweight in order to minimize‭ ‬mobility interference‭.‬

6‭ ‬Personal Protective Equipment‭:‬‭ ‬Proper Personal Protective Equipment‭ (‬PPE‭) ‬has to ensure safety against potential contamination and bodily harm‭. ‬It is a must that highest quality PPE made with certified materials be obtained‭. ‬Furthermore‭, ‬PPE has to ensure maximum mobility and to insulate wearers from harm without inhibiting their ability to complete the mission‭.‬

7‭ ‬Hi-Tech Uniform‭:‬‭ ‬A team of researchers at the University of Massachusetts Lowell Center for Advanced Material has developed a new multifunctional material made by treating a commercially available nylon-cotton blend with non-toxic chemicals‭, ‬to provide army uniforms that‭ ‬are not only fire retardant but also insect repellent‭. ‬Military uniforms have come a long way from the days when their main function was to identify which side a soldier was on while intimidating the enemy‭. ‬In the old days‭, ‬uniforms may have been impressive and colorful‭, ‬but they were also uncomfortable‭, ‬hard to clean and maintain‭, ‬and not very practical for either combat or everyday duties‭. ‬Today‭, ‬uniforms are becoming increasingly high-tech‭, ‬with digital camouflage‭, ‬protection against biological and chemical agents‭, ‬blast protection‭, ‬and even self-heating gloves‭.

10‭. ‬Role of Armed Forces

First and foremost‭, ‬the military ought to maintain the health of its service members through a COVID-19-inspired operational plan for screening and quarantine‭. ‬This plan would facilitate prompt and sustained emergency responses and combat operations‭, ‬including key missions like strategic nuclear deterrent patrols‭. ‬Domestically‭, ‬the military will need to assist in civil support‭, ‬law‭ ‬enforcement‭, ‬border patrol‭, ‬and the defense of critical infrastructure‭. ‬Internationally‭, ‬the defense ministries will serve as a‭ ‬logistics powerhouse‭. ‬Locally‭, ‬the armed forces have the manpower and experience to aid in a variety of national security sectors‭. ‬In addition to the national guard forces can conduct drive-through testing‭, ‬delivered water to vulnerable populations‭, ‬and carry out law enforcement orders for curfews and quarantines‭. ‬For critical national infrastructure‭, ‬the military will serve as first responders to newfound issues with electrical generation‭, ‬water purification‭, ‬sanitation‭, ‬and information technology‭. ‬Abroad‭, ‬the military could benefit from military-to-military planning and exercises for the Air Force to be ready for coordinating logistical efforts to move overseas medical supplies‭. ‬The armies should draw lessons learned from past international pandemic responses‭. ‬The cholera outbreak among half a million Haitians following a 2010‭ ‬earthquake demonstrated that the armed forces could work with international military counterparts to regenerate critical infrastructure in other countries‭. ‬The Ebola outbreak in West‭ ‬Africa in 2014‭ ‬extended that cooperation to nongovernmental organizations like the Red Cross‭, ‬Doctors Without Borders‭, ‬and Project Hope‭. ‬Successful military cooperation abroad will fulfill basic international needs and build trust for peaceful scientific‭ ‬cooperation‭, ‬shifting the focus to future questions like whether the bioweapon is mutating‭, ‬how environmental factors affect its‭ ‬spread‭, ‬if infected people develop short‭- ‬or long-term immunity‭, ‬and which mitigation efforts are effective‭. ‬Successful in-situ‭ ‬defense will fill interdisciplinary gaps in deterrence and disruption while a layered‭ ‬“3D”‭ ‬approach will determine how well the world fares during the most dangerous pandemic yet‭. ‬In conclusion‭, ‬George Orwell once said‭, ‬“Life is a race between education and catastrophe”‭. ‬Further‭, ‬Gene Kranz said‭, ‬“Failure is not an option”‭. ‬


Sources and references

Milan Vegi‭, ‬On Military Creativity‭, ‬Joint Forces Quarterly‭, ‬70‭, ‬3rd quarter 2013‭, ‬p‭. ‬83‭.‬

Michael Mcnerney‭ (‬2005‭) ‬Military innovation during war‭: ‬Paradox or paradigm‭?, ‬Defense‭ & ‬Security Analysis‭, ‬21:2‭, ‬p‭. ‬202‭.‬

Ibid‭., ‬p‭. ‬202‭.‬

Michael C‭. ‬Horowitz‭, ‬What Is A Military Innovation and Why It Matters‭, ‬October 9‭, ‬2020‭, ‬https‭://‬‭ ‬

Daniel M‭. ‬Gerstein‭, ‬The Military’s Search for Innovation‭, ‬The Rand Blog‭, ‬August 13‭, ‬2018‭, ‬https‭://‬‭ ‬

Nina Kollars‭, ‬Genius and Mastery in Military Innovation‭, ‬Survival‭, ‬59‭: ‬2‭, ‬2017‭, ‬p‭. ‬125‭. ‬

Milan Vegi‭, ‬op.cit‭., ‬p‭. ‬88‭.‬

Michael Mcnerney‭, ‬op.cit‭., ‬p‭. ‬205‭.‬

Tor Bukkvoll‭, (‬2015‭) ‬Military Innovation Under Authoritarian Government‭ ‬–‭ ‬the Case of Russian Special Operations Forces‭, ‬Journal of Strategic Studies‭, ‬38:5‭, ‬pp‭. ‬614‭ ‬–‭ ‬615‭.‬

George M‭. ‬Dougherty‭, ‬Accelerating Military Innovation Lessons from China and Israel‭, ‬Joint Forces Quarterly‭, ‬98‭, ‬3rd Quarter‭, ‬2020‭, ‬pp‭. ‬10‭ ‬–‭ ‬11‭.‬

Barry Scott‭, ‬Naluahi Kaahaaina and Christopher Stock‭, ‬Innovation in the Military‭, ‬Small Wars Journal‭, ‬October 2‭, ‬2019‭, ‬https‭://‬‭ ‬

Milan Vegi‭, ‬op.cit‭., ‬pp‭. ‬87‭ ‬–‭ ‬88‭.‬

Anthony Cordesman‭, ‬The Real Revolution in Military Affairs‭, ‬CSIS‭, ‬August 5‭, ‬2014‭, ‬https‭://‬‭ ‬

Elsa B Kania‭ (‬2019‭) ‬Chinese Military Innovation in the AI Revolution‭, ‬The RUSI Journal‭, ‬164:5-6‭, ‬26-34‭, ‬pp‭. ‬28‭ ‬–‭ ‬29‭.‬

Wendy Rejan‭, ‬Radar‭, ‬in‭; ‬Jon T‭. ‬Hoffman‭ (‬ed‭.), ‬A History of INNOVATION U.S‭. ‬Army Adaptation in War and Peace‭, (‬Washington‭; ‬CENTER‭ ‬OF MILITARY HISTORY‭, ‬2009‭), ‬pp‭. ‬17‭ ‬–‭ ‬18‭. ‬

Ibid‭., ‬pp‭. ‬20‭ ‬–‭ ‬23‭.‬

US Army demonstrates autonomous resupply with UAVs at recent AEWE‭, ‬Jane’s International Defence Review‭, ‬April 2021‭.‬

Prox Dynamics‭, ‬https‭://‬

Al Jundi

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