Chemical and Biological Weapons

January 31, 1997 • Volume 7, Issue 4
Should the U.S. sign the new treaty?
By Mary H. Cooper

Introduction

Smoke billows around a member of the 82nd chemical battalion during training exercises at Fort McClellan, AL  (Photo Credit: U.S. Army/Arms ControlAssociation)
Smoke billows around a member of the 82nd chemical battalion during training exercises at Fort McClellan, AL  (Photo Credit: U.S. Army/Arms ControlAssociation)

A global treaty banning the production, stockpiling and deployment of lethal agents will go into effect in April, but U.S. participation is questionable. Ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention has been held up by senators who say the agreement lacks adequate verification provisions and would be too costly. Recent events are adding new elements to the debate over ways to curb chemical and biological weapons. New studies of Gulf War Syndrome are considering whether these weapons may cause disabling chronic illnesses as well as death. And the release of deadly sarin nerve gas in the Tokyo subway by members of a religious cult demonstrates the devastating impact these easily produced weapons of mass destruction can have on civilian targets as well.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Weapons of Mass Destruction
Jul. 29, 2016  Modernizing the Nuclear Arsenal
Mar. 08, 2002  Weapons of Mass Destruction
Jan. 31, 1997  Chemical and Biological Weapons
Jun. 24, 1994  Nuclear Arms Cleanup
Jun. 05, 1992  Nuclear Proliferation
Jun. 29, 1990  Obstacles to Bio-Chemical Disarmament
Apr. 22, 1988  The Military Build-Down in the 1990s
May 24, 1987  Euromissile Negotiations
Jul. 11, 1986  Chemical Weapons
Apr. 27, 1984  Reagan's Defense Buildup
Jun. 04, 1982  Civil Defense
Jul. 17, 1981  Controlling Nuclear Proliferation
Jun. 05, 1981  MX Missile Decision
Aug. 15, 1980  The Neutron Bomb and European Defense
Sep. 07, 1979  Atomic Secrecy
Mar. 17, 1978  Nuclear Proliferation
May 27, 1977  Chemical-Biological Warfare
May 13, 1977  Politics of Strategic Arms Negotiations
Nov. 15, 1974  Nuclear Safeguards
Jul. 01, 1970  Nuclear Balance of Terror: 25 Years After Alamogordo
Jun. 18, 1969  Chemical–Biological Weaponry
Jun. 30, 1965  Atomic Proliferation
Mar. 21, 1962  Nuclear Testing Dilemmas
Aug. 16, 1961  Shelters and Survival
Oct. 12, 1959  Chemical-Biological Warfare
May 13, 1959  Nuclear Test Ban
Dec. 04, 1957  Scientific Cooperation and Atlantic Security
May 15, 1957  Changing Defense Concepts
Jul. 03, 1956  Civil Defense, 1956
Nov. 16, 1955  International Arms Deals
Oct. 04, 1954  Industrial Defense
Apr. 15, 1954  National Defense Strategy
Feb. 10, 1954  New Aproaches to Atomic Control
Oct. 10, 1953  Atomic Information
Apr. 11, 1952  Biological Warfare
Oct. 03, 1951  World Arms Race
Feb. 04, 1948  International Control of Atomic Energy
Dec. 06, 1946  International Inspection
Aug. 27, 1943  Gas Warfare
Jul. 24, 1937  The New Race in Armaments
May 05, 1932  Abolition of Aggressive Weapons
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Arms Control and Disarmament
International Law and Agreements