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Phantom Menace or Looming Danger?

A New Framework for Assessing Bioweapons Threats

Kathleen M. Vogel

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Calls for a new way to assess bioweapon threats—recognizing the importance of the sociopolitical context of technological threats.

The horrifying terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, and the anthrax strikes that soon followed gave the United States new reason to fear unconventional enemies and atypical weapons. These fears have prompted extensive research, study, and planning within the U.S. military, intelligence, and policy communities regarding potential attacks involving biological weapons. In Phantom Menace or Looming Danger?, Kathleen M. Vogel argues for a major shift in how analysts…

Calls for a new way to assess bioweapon threats—recognizing the importance of the sociopolitical context of technological threats.

The horrifying terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, and the anthrax strikes that soon followed gave the United States new reason to fear unconventional enemies and atypical weapons. These fears have prompted extensive research, study, and planning within the U.S. military, intelligence, and policy communities regarding potential attacks involving biological weapons. In Phantom Menace or Looming Danger?, Kathleen M. Vogel argues for a major shift in how analysts assess bioweapons threats. She calls for an increased focus on the social and political context in which technological threats are developed.

Vogel uses case studies to illustrate her theory: Soviet anthrax weapons development, the Iraqi mobile bioweapons labs, and two synthetic genomic experiments. She concludes with recommendations for analysts and policymakers to integrate sociopolitical analysis with data analysis, thereby making U.S. bioweapon assessments more accurate. Students of security policy will find her innovative framework appealing, her writing style accessible, and the many illustrations helpful. These features also make Phantom Menace or Looming Danger? a must-read for government policymakers and intelligence experts.

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Phantom Menace or Looming Danger?

Kathleen M. Vogel

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Reviews

Reviews

Phantom Menace or Looming Danger? A New Framework for Assessing Bioweapons Threats should be in any political science and military collection and provides a powerful argument for a major shift in how bioweapons threats are assessed.

This is an engrossing book that exemplifies what STS can bring to broader issues of policymaking in the US and potentially beyond, and it is well worth reading.

Intriguing, original, and deeply informed. Focusing on potential threats, Vogel shows in engaging historical detail that technical problems are inherently social. She has made an important scholarly contribution to science and technology studies and to studies of intelligence. At the same time, she speaks directly to the policy world. The combination of depth of scholarship and practical implication is remarkable.

About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
384
ISBN
9781421407432
Illustration Description
17 halftones, 6 line drawings
Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Part I: The Bioweapons Threat and Assessment Problem
1. Bioweapons and National Security
2. Technological Frames and Narratives in U.S. Bioweapons Assessments and Policymaking
Part II

Acknowledgments
Part I: The Bioweapons Threat and Assessment Problem
1. Bioweapons and National Security
2. Technological Frames and Narratives in U.S. Bioweapons Assessments and Policymaking
Part II: Science in a Social Context
Overview: The Biosocial Frame
3. Synthetic Genomic, the Biotech Revolution, and Bioterrorism
4. Societ Bioweapons Know-How and Proliferation Threats
Part III: Analytic Failures in Bioweapons Assessments
Overview: "Curveball" and the Iraqi Mobile Bioweapons Threat
5. Expertise and Analytic Practice
6. Current Intelligence Reporting and CIA Analytic Practice
7. Secrecy and the Production of the Iraqi Mobile Bioweapons Threat
Part IV: Alternative Analytic Solutions
8. A New Knowledge Model for Bioweapons Intelligence Assessments
Conclusion
Notes
Bibliography
Index

Author Bio
Featured Contributor

Kathleen M. Vogel

Kathleen M. Vogel is an associate professor in the department of science and technology studies and at the Judith Reppy Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies, Cornell University.