Éditoriaux Défense Sécurité Terrorisme Zones de conflits Logistique Livres de référence Liens
Terre Air Mer Gendarmerie Renseignement Infoguerre Cyber Recherche

Former Soviets' Bio-War Expert Details Threat

Former Soviets' Bio-War Expert Details Threat

By Linda D. Kozaryn, American Forces Press Service, November 3, 1999.

WASHINGTON -- Anthrax, plague, smallpox -- the former Soviet Union had them all and was fully prepared to use them, a one-time leader of a secret Soviet biological weapons program told Congress recently.

Dr. Ken Alibek, former deputy director of Biopreparat, the civilian arm of the former Soviets' biological weapons program, appeared in October before a joint meeting of the House subcommittees on military procurement and military research and development. Alibek moved to the United States in 1992 and has since written a book, "Biohazard: The Chilling True Story of the Largest Covert Biological Weapons Program in the World."

Representatives called on Alibek, DoD and other civilian and military experts to clarify the capabilities of chemical and biological weapons. They also wanted perspectives on the threat the weapons pose to the United States and U.S. forces, especially if used by terrorists or rogue nations.

Following Alibek's testimony, DoD officials briefed committee members on the department's ongoing efforts to counter the threat. Since the Gulf War, DoD has beefed up funding to accelerate fielding detection equipment and to develop improved defenses.

Alibek told committee members the Soviets launched their biological weapons program in 1928 and by the late 1980s had "the most powerful and sophisticated program of biological weapons in the world." Biopreparat, the defense and health ministries and even the KGB were developing biological agents that could destroy people, livestock, agricultural crops, equipment and fuel, he said.

Alibek said the Soviet Union established a huge production capability to manufacture biological weapons, and Russia still has four top-secret production facilities. One facility is capable of producing 1,000 tons of anthrax a year; another can make 50 tons a year, he said. Other facilities can produce hundreds of tons of plague and other biological agents such as tularemia and glanders obgrislosis, he added.

Alibek said Soviet military doctrine included the use of smallpox and plague as strategic biological weapons and anthrax, Q-fever and Marburg infection as operational ones. The Soviets were also developing delivery systems such as medium-range bombers with spray tanks, cluster bombs and missiles; and strategic bombers and ballistic missiles with single or multiple warheads.

According to Soviet military doctrine, Alibek said, biological weapons would have been used in massive amounts to significantly destroy any military resistance during war. The KGB also had a sophisticated program to develop biological weapons for assassination, he added.

He asserted the Soviets used biological weapons against German troops during World War II and in Afghanistan in 1982. Anyone who doubts the effectiveness of these weapons is wrong, he stressed -- a small, accidental outbreak of anthrax in the city of Sverdlovsk in 1979 killed hundreds.

"We still don't know how many people were killed, but we know that this biological weapon unfortunately ... worked perfectly," Alibek said.

With the Cold War's end, Russia downsized its biological weapons program and ordered its stockpiles destroyed, Alibek said. He believes only about 10 to 20 percent of the former Soviet capability remains today, "but believe me, it's enough to develop sophisticated biological weapons," he said.

Proliferation of Russian knowledge and expertise in this field is evident as Russia continues publishing research and development work conducted in the 1980s and 1990s, Alibek said. He said he's convinced that the knowledge has spread to many countries and terrorist organizations.

Many publications produced in the last seven years contain instructions on how to manufacture biological agents, Alibek said. Two or three years ago, he said, he found a flyer offering new techniques to genetically alter tularemia bacteria for increased lethality. Rogue nations can get this information for "the cost of a translator," he said.

Up to 70,000 scientists were involved in Soviet Cold War biological weapons research, development and manufacturing, Alibek said. Some moved to the United States and other Western nations when the Soviet Union collapsed, but others went to Iraq, Iran and other countries and may be proliferating biological weapons.

"A lot of Russian scientists are now underpaid or they have no pay," he said. "It's quite attractive for some of them [if] they got good offers to start working for somebody else."

Alibek noted that while the Soviet Union had about 2,000 scientists developing offensive anthrax weapons and defenses, the United States today has only about a dozen scientists working on developing medical defenses against biological weapons. He stressed the need to develop prevention, pretreatment and treatment techniques as well as new detection systems.


Derniers articles

Verdun 2016 : La légende de la « tranchée des baïonnettes »
Eyes in the Dark: Navy Dive Helmet Display Emerges as Game-Changer
OIR Official: Captured Info Describes ISIL Operations in Manbij
Cyber, Space, Middle East Join Nuclear Triad Topics at Deterrence Meeting
Carter Opens Second DoD Innovation Hub in Boston
Triomphe de St-Cyr : le Vietnam sur les rangs
Dwight D. Eisenhower Conducts First OIR Missions from Arabian Gulf
L’amiral Prazuck prend la manœuvre de la Marine
Airmen Practice Rescuing Downed Pilots in Pacific Thunder 16-2
On ne lutte pas contre les moustiques avec une Kalachnikov...
Enemy Mine: Underwater Drones Hunt Buried Targets, Save Lives
Daesh Publications Are Translated Into Eleven Languages
Opération Chammal : 10 000 heures de vol en opération pour les Mirage 2000 basés en Jordanie
Le Drian : Daech : une réponse à plusieurs niveaux
Carter: Defense Ministers Agree on Next Steps in Counter-ISIL Fight
Carter Convenes Counter-ISIL Coalition Meeting at Andrews
Carter Welcomes France’s Increased Counter-ISIL Support
100-Plus Aircraft Fly in for Exercise Red Flag 16-3
Growlers Soar With B-1s Around Ellsworth AFB
A-10s Deploy to Slovakia for Cross-Border Training
We Don’t Fight Against Mosquitoes With a Kalashnikov
Bug-Hunting Computers to Compete in DARPA Cyber Grand Challenge
Chiefs of US and Chinese Navies Agree on Need for Cooperation
DoD Cyber Strategy Defines How Officials Discern Cyber Incidents from Armed Attacks
Vice Adm. Tighe Takes Charge of Information Warfare, Naval Intelligence
Truman Strike Group Completes Eight-Month Deployment
KC-46 Completes Milestone by Refueling Fighter Jet, Cargo Plane
Air Dominance and the Critical Role of Fifth Generation Fighters
Une nation est une âme
The Challenges of Ungoverned Spaces
Carter Salutes Iraqi Forces, Announces 560 U.S. Troops to Deploy to Iraq
Obama: U.S. Commitment to European Security is Unwavering in Pivotal Time for NATO
International Court to Decide Sovereignty Issue in South China Sea
La SPA 75 est centenaire !
U.S. to Deploy THAAD Missile Battery to South Korea
Maintien en condition des matériels : reprendre l’initiative
La veste « léopard », premier uniforme militaire de camouflage
Océan Indien 2016 : Opérations & Coopération
Truman Transits Strait of Gibraltar
Navy Unveils National Museum of the American Sailor
New Navy, Old Tar
Marcel Dassault parrain de la nouvelle promotion d’officiers de l’École de l’Air
RIMPAC 2016 : Ravitaillement à la mer pour le Prairial avant l’arrivée à Hawaii
Bataille de la Somme, l’oubliée
U.S., Iceland Sign Security Cooperation Agreement
Cléopatra : la frégate Jean Bart entre dans l’histoire du BPC Gamal Abdel Nasser
Surveiller l’espace maritime français aussi par satellite
America's Navy-Marine Corps Team Fuse for RIMPAC 2016
Stratégie France : Plaidoyer pour une véritable coopération franco-allemande
La lumière du Droit rayonne au bout du chemin

Directeur de la publication : Joël-François Dumont
Comité de rédaction : Jacques de Lestapis, Hugues Dumont, François de Vries (Bruxelles), Hans-Ulrich Helfer (Suisse), Michael Hellerforth (Allemagne).
Comité militaire : VAE Guy Labouérie (†), GAA François Mermet (2S), CF Patrice Théry (Asie).