Essay: Counterterrorism and weapons of mass destruction (WMD)


Counterterrorism is the prime goal of the US national security; especially deterring any form of use of WMD within the US. This is because United States is facing many threats of WMD from terrorists and rogue states. Thus, this article discusses weapons of mass destruction, the historical utilization of the WMD by terrorists within the US and across other parts in the world. The article explores the prime reasons as to why America in recent times has many enemies, and is the prime target of the terrorist group in the globe. Furthermore, within the article comprehensive use and magnitude of the WMD by terrorist and rogue states is discussed. The legislations and policy that America have effected in response to immense threats of WMD terrorist, and the efforts required for the national and state governments to take in order to deter any WMD attack is discussed within the article. Also, the future implications of WMD attacks on the America with respect to rising terrorism, and mechanism of improving response and preparedness to terrorist WMD attacks is discussed detailed in the article. This article has cited different sources relating to past WMD attacks, views of the scientists and scholars on WMD, and other experts working and worked in the intelligence units of the American national government or other governments in the countries of the world.


Weapons of mass destruction (WMD) have high potential of racking havoc on sea of humanity or causing mutation of DNAs of living species in the world. The havoc caused by WMD can be on the biosphere, environment, and infrastructure and depends on the impact of the attack on the specific areas. According to the general knowledge among the scientists and scholars, WMD include nuclear weapons, chemical and biological weapons (Aghaei et al, 2013). It can be noted historically that, research by nations, especially before World I was ongoing, and during World War I chemical weapons were extensively used. However, the WMD became more of interest to the nations of the world when United States dropped nuclear bombs over Nagasaki and Hiroshima during World War II, and weapons of mass destruction were understood profoundly to be deadly due to the havoc and damages inflicted within the territories of Japan.

There are about eight nations of the world, which have declared and tested WMD, nuclear weapons. These states are Paskin, India, France, US, China, Russia, UK and North Korea. Some of the nations such as Israel have been very secretive of their development of WMD however, the experts on the strongly believe that Israel have some of the strong and sophisticated weapons of mass destruction. The US government in the recent time believes that Iran have fertilized and developed some weapons of mass destruction, but the US has scanty information of their belief.

Indeed, based on the facts that many nations and states have pursued development of WMD, it was inevitable that such endeavors would not fall into the hands of terrorist. Hence, different networks of terrorist and extremists groups nowadays in the world are attempting aggressively and zealously to develop and deploy sophisticated WMD to achieve their terrorism goals (Maurer, 2009; Jansen et al, 2014). This has become a big threat to the world peace and in particular to the existence of peace and order within the United States and its allies. According to the article the leakage of technical know-how and nuclear materials from the former Soviet states have encourage the possibility of terrorist and extremists groups to acquiring nuclear weapons (Weant et al, 2014).


The nuclear terrorism, which is the threat of use, or the use of the WMD; nuclear weapons or radiological weapons as acts of terrorism that include attacking of facilities where radioactive materials are prepared. From the critical analysis of terrorist activities in the world, it very clear that United States face terrorist threats from Jihadist movements due to US interests in different parts of the world, especially in the Arab countries. Lebanese Hizballah and Iran, which view United States and Israel as their main enemies, pose potential uncertain threats to the America and its citizens where they are in the world. Moreover, Al-Qa’ida and the affiliates have consistency sought to use and deploy WMD in the American soils. According to the article and it is true that a number of terrorism activities by WMD have been done or planned occasionally in the US by terrorist groups.

The scope of WMD have be evolving each year in the world (Atlas, 1999), and according to the sophisticated equipment are being developed each time by terrorists and nations amicable to the terrorist groups. America has experienced a number of perpetrated terrorist acts using different forms of WMD within its soils. According to the article Perry, a former Secretary of Defense was quoted saying that America face high possibility, about 50 percent, of nuclear strike, and his sentiments have been supported by a number of plots with regards to WMD . For example, in 2008, ricin was found in a motel in Las Vegas, and in 2001 biological warfare agent, anthrax was found in mail to US.

Indeed, within the US soil and across the world according to the site international terrorists and terrorist groups have greatly expressed to obtain and use WMD in their future terrorist acts. Furthermore, it is observed generally that high profile acts of terrorism have increased rapidly over the years. For example, the 9/11 attack, the 2008 capture of Aafia Siddiqui in possession of WMD related materials, and use of improvised weapons of mass destruction in some parts of the world are indicators of the evolving threats of terrorist acts and urge to use WMD of mass destruction.

Through careful scrutinizing of the article in the site it is clear that America has many enemies and thus it has become target of terrorists. Some the reasons as to why America is a prime target of terrorists and Arab extremists is because of its policies in the Middle East that many people understand or perceive they are directed against them based on their identity. Another reason perceived to be reason for the growing number of American enemies is due to the interests of US in the oil in the Gulf and other areas in the world. Moreover, some groups that believe that America is backing and giving support regimes that are anti-democratic has led to America being target of terrorist groups across the world. Indeed, as analyzed from different opinions given in the site, it is real that United States has many enemies due to its international policies as emphasized by the former president Jimmy Carter as indicated in the site Thus, US have become the prime target of the terrorist groups in the world.

The terrorist threat use of WMD a real threat, and there are many reasons why there a huge upsurge and urge of terrorist use of WMD. These include the cropping up of numerous militant religious; terrorist group with strong political agenda (Hashmi et al, 2004), the increase availability of chemical and biological weapon stockpiles and information in the world, and internationalization of threat of terrorism according to the site

The potential for nuclear attack or use of other WMD against the US appears inevitable considering the growing number of threats posed by goals of countries or states and terrorists. This is due to the fact that, the terrorists and some rogue states see the use of WMD as the only way of overcoming the conventional superiority of the US. Moreover, some nations and in fact terrorist groups see WMD as their main option of weapon of choice and they are ready to use intimidate US allies and attempt to blackmail the US from repelling or interfering their aggressive nature for rogue agenda.
Due to the inevitable threats from the use of WMD against the US, US have taken various policy and legislative steps. US have been upfront, especially in making connection of national policy with the local implementations. These include the enhancement of Strategic National Stockpile that is responsible for large repository of vaccines, antibiotics and other medical response materials. This has ensured in the event of any biological terrorist attack, effective distribution of medicines and supplies when needed can be done quickly as possible. Based on the sites and US has made efforts to adopt comprehensive legislations with regards to the use of WMD against the country by the terrorist. This basically has been done in response to various reports as indicated in the site, which showed that America was to have comprehensive response mechanisms to counter deployment of WMD by terrorist within the American soils or somewhere in the world (James and James, 2008). Thus, in 2012, a bipartisan legislation, H.R. 2356, the WMD Prevention and Preparedness Act of 2011 to boost the efforts of federal governments to prepare and prevent WMD attack in addition to enhancing transport security legislation and bipartisan maritime security.
US has ensured reform and restructuring of Home Land Security and encouraged interest to ensuring completion implementation of the BioShield against bioterrorism. Moreover, the US government has a lot in WMD preparedness including funding bioterrorism preparedness, BioShield, which is an important high complex preparedness effort to securing US internally. In addition, the US government and its agencies have ensured adequate funding of local medical response teams to ensure up-to date development of vaccines and improved treatment, especially to cases relating to use of chemical and biological weapons (Ahn et al, 2014).

It is notable that the US government has aggressively taken on the role to provide sufficient education to its security agents, and some private security agents on the evaluation and determinations of the threads posed by the terrorist use of WMD within the American soils. The national government has trained extensively on the precursors involving the use of available biological agents and other substances that can be used to fertilize and develop WMD. In addition, the governments have encouraged the development of robust National Domestic Preparedness Consortium, which is solely responsible to ensuring addressing counter-terrorism preparedness within the US soils concerning the use of biological, chemical, radiological and any explosives of WMD within the US territories.
As indicated in the site, terrorist have seized depending on state sponsorship, and they are now none-state actors. They have capitalized on the use of interconnected international systems of communications, finances and transit terrorist groups and porous borders to reach every part of the world. Thus, many terrorists groups have sought to gain or effect global change, and US has to move swiftly to counter or address the growing nexus between crimes and terrorism so that it can stem out threats of WMD terrorism. This is because the use of WMD by terrorists is the most dangerous threat to the contemporary US and global security. Therefore, the US has prioritized the prevention of WMD by terrorists and counter proliferation of norms promoting terrorism however, there are still more to be done to ensure US is secure from any threats of WMD by terrorist and rogue states.
The American needs to promote and develop effective legal architecture for counterterrorism through enforcement of impermeable laws, robust internal security, intelligence, and judicial capacities. Moreover, US should emphasize on the bilateral effort build effective institutions and ensure training of personnel. Focusing on the counter radicalization within the US soil is important for the US government in order to ensure maximum address of counterterrorism. The government has to train efficient personnel to deal with victims of WMD attack, devote funding of research the lead to long-term prevention of WMD attacks rather only focusing on near-term improvements that result in immediate better detection. Moreover, the aggressively remains at the top of scientific and technological prowess in pharmaceutical and biotechnical production and quality control among other domains, which can help deter any form of future WMD attack by terrorists or any rogue agents. With respect to this, the government must focus its efforts to training high-tech individual who provide dependable pre-emption, prevention, and appropriate response in case of WMD attack (John Linder & Subcommittee on Prevention of Nuclear and Biological Attack, 2007).

Source: Essay UK -

Not what you're looking for?

Search our thousands of essays:


About this resource

This Miscellaneous essay was submitted to us by a student in order to help you with your studies.

Word count:

This page has approximately words.



If you use part of this page in your own work, you need to provide a citation, as follows:

Essay UK, Essay: Counterterrorism and weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Available from: <> [19-01-19].

More information:

If you are the original author of this content and no longer wish to have it published on our website then please click on the link below to request removal:

Essay and dissertation help

Latest essays in this category:

Our free essays: