Defense Threat Reduction Agency
The Defense Threat Reduction Agency is an agency within the United States Department of Defense and is the official Combat Support Agency for countering weapons of mass destruction. According to the agency's Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2018 to 2022, the DTRA mission "enables DoD and the U. S. Government to prepare for and combat weapons of mass destruction and improvised threats and to ensure nuclear deterrence." The agency is headquartered in Virginia. DTRA was established on October 1, 1998, as a result of the 1997 Defense Reform Initiative, by consolidating several DoD organizations, including the Defense Special Weapons Agency and the On-Site Inspection Agency; the Defense Technology Security Administration and the Nunn–Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction program office in the Office of the Secretary of Defense were incorporated into the new agency. In 2002, DTRA published a detailed history of its predecessor agencies, Defense's Nuclear Agency, 1947–1997, the first paragraph of which makes a brief statement about the agencies which led up to the formation of DTRA: Defense's Nuclear Agency, 1947–1997, traces the development of the Armed Forces Special Weapons Project, its descendant government organizations, from its original founding in 1947 to 1997.
After the disestablishment of the Manhattan Engineering District in 1947, AFSWP was formed to provide military training in nuclear weapons' operations. Over the years, its sequential descendant organizations have been the Defense Atomic Support Agency from 1959 to 1971, the Defense Nuclear Agency from 1971 to 1996, the Defense Special Weapons Agency from 1996 to 1998. In 1998, DSWA, the On-Site Inspection Agency, the Defense Technology Security Administration, selected elements of the Office of Secretary of Defense were combined to form the Defense Threat Reduction Agency. DTRA employs 2,000 civilian and uniformed service members at more than a dozen permanent locations around the world; the majority of personnel are at DTRA headquarters at Fort Belvoir. 15% of the workforce is split between Kirtland Air Force Base and the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, the Nevada National Security Site, where they do testing and support the U. S. military's nuclear mission. The remaining 15% of the workforce is stationed at locations in Germany, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia, South Korea and Singapore.
DTRA has liaisons with all of the U. S. military's Combatant Commands, the National Guard Bureau, the FBI and other U. S. government interagency partners. In 2005, the Commander, United States Strategic Command was designated as the lead Combatant Command for the integration and synchronization of DoD's efforts in support of U. S. government "Combating WMD" objectives. It was at this time that the SCC-WMD was co-located with DTRA; the Combat Command designation was changed again in 2017, when responsibility was moved to U. S. Special Operations Command. In 2012, the SJFHQ-E was relocated to the DTRA/SCC-WMD headquarters at Fort Belvoir; this centralized the DoD's Combating Weapons of Mass Destruction operations, a move recommended in the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review. On September 30, 2016, the Joint Improvised-Threat Defeat Agency became part of DTRA and was renamed the Joint Improvised-Threat Defeat Organization in accordance with the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act. In Section 1532 of the NDAA, Congress directed the DoD to move JIDA to a military department or under an existing defense agency.
DTRA requested a base budget of $1.2 billion for fiscal year 2017. The three other components of DTRA's overall resource portfolio include executing the $361 million Science and Technology portion of the DoD Chemical and Biological Defense Program; these additional amounts bring DTRA's total resource portfolio to $2.8 billion for FY17. After the end of the Cold War, DTRA and its predecessor agencies have implemented the DoD aspects of several treaties that assist former Eastern Bloc countries in the destruction of Soviet era nuclear and chemical weapons sites in an attempt to avert potential weapons proliferation in the post-Soviet era as part of the Nunn–Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction program. DTRA is responsible for US reporting under the New START Treaty and the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. DTRA is responsible for reducing the threat of conventional war in Europe, by participating in various arms control treaties to which the United States is a party, such as the Conventional Forces in Europe treaty and the Treaty on Open Skies, as well as the Vienna Document and Global Exchange of Military Information under the auspices of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.
The Transparency in Armaments activity of the United Nations, the Wassenaar Arrangement. On January 26, 2006, the director of DTRA was given the extra responsibility of the director of the USSTRATCOM Center for Combating Weapons of Mass Destruction, a subordinate component to the U. S. Strategic Command. DTRA has the responsibility to manage and integrate the Department of Defense chemical and biological defense science and technology programs. In accordance with the Recommendation 174 of the 2005 Base Closure and Realignment Commission, part of the Chemical Biological Defense Research component of the Defense Threat Reducti
Stepnogorsk Scientific and Technical Institute for Microbiology
The Stepnogorsk Scientific and Technical Institute for Microbiology known as the Scientific Experimental and Production Base, was one of the premier biological warfare facilities operated by the Soviet Union. It was the only Biopreparat facility to be built outside of Russia proper, one of the few visited by Western experts; the site conducts civilian biological research, overseen by director Vladimir Bugreyev. The United States Department of State and the U. S. Civilian Research & Development Foundation now provide significant funds supporting civilian research at Stepnogorsk; the facility was built in 1982, ten kilometers from Stepnogorsk, Kazakhstan, in the wake of the accident at Sverdlovsk. It was built to develop and produce large quantities of weaponized anthrax 300 tons annually, in order to fill the production gap caused by a potential shutdown of their Sverdlovsk facility. Soviet leadership placed Colonel Kanatjan Alibekov in charge of the base until his transfer to Moscow in 1987. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Stepnogorsk base fell under the purview of the nascent Kazakh government, having little interest in weapons of mass destruction, let the secret city fall into disrepair.
Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev granted a team of American experts, led by U. S. Department of Defense diplomat Andy Weber, permission to visit the still-operational site in 1995, the first time an American intelligence team had been allowed to do so
Ricin, a lectin produced in the seeds of the castor oil plant, Ricinus communis, is a potent toxin. A dose of purified ricin powder; the median lethal dose of ricin is around 22 micrograms per kilogram of body weight if the exposure is from injection or inhalation. Oral exposure to ricin is far less toxic. An estimated lethal oral dose in humans is 1 milligram per kilogram. Ricin is classified as a type 2 ribosome-inactivating protein. Whereas type 1 RIPs are composed of a single protein chain that possesses catalytic activity, type 2 RIPs known as holotoxins, are composed of two different protein chains that form a heterodimeric complex. Type 2 RIPs consist of an A chain, functionally equivalent to a type 1 RIP, covalently connected by a single disulfide bond to a B chain, catalytically inactive, but serves to mediate transport of the A-B protein complex from the cell surface, via vesicle carriers, to the lumen of the endoplasmic reticulum. Both type 1 and type 2 RIPs are functionally active against ribosomes in vitro.
In order to display its ribosome-inactivating function, the ricin disulfide bond must be reductively cleaved. Ricin is synthesized in the endosperm of castor oil plant seeds; the ricin precursor protein is 576 amino acid residues in length and contains a signal peptide, the ricin A chain, a linker peptide, the ricin B chain. The N-terminal signal sequence delivers the prepropolypeptide to the endoplasmic reticulum and the signal peptide is cleaved off. Within the lumen of the ER the propolypeptide is glycosylated and a protein disulfide isomerase catalyzes disulfide bond formation between cysteines 294 and 318; the propolypeptide is further glycosylated within the Golgi apparatus and transported to protein storage bodies. The propolypeptide is cleaved within protein bodies by an endopeptidase to produce the mature ricin protein, composed of a 267 residue A chain and a 262 residue B chain that are covalently linked by a single disulfide bond; the quaternary structure of ricin is a globular, glycosylated heterodimer of 60–65 kDa.
Ricin toxin A chain and ricin toxin B chain are of similar molecular weights 32 kDa and 34 kDa, respectively. Ricin toxin A chain is an N-glycoside hydrolase composed of 267 amino acids, it has three structural domains with 50% of the polypeptide arranged into alpha-helices and beta-sheets. The three domains form a pronounced cleft, the active site of RTA. Ricin toxin B chain is a lectin composed of 262 amino acids, able to bind terminal galactose residues on cell surfaces. RTB forms a bilobal, barbell-like structure lacking alpha-helices or beta-sheets where individual lobes contain three subdomains. At least one of these three subdomains in each homologous lobe possesses a sugar-binding pocket that gives RTB its functional character. While other plants contain the protein chains found in ricin, both protein chains must be present in order to produce toxic effects. For example, plants that contain only protein chain A, such as barley, are not toxic because without the link to protein chain B, protein chain A cannot enter the cell and do damage to ribosomes.
Ricin B chain binds complex carbohydrates on the surface of eukaryotic cells containing either terminal N-acetylgalactosamine or beta-1,4-linked galactose residues. In addition, the mannose-type glycans of ricin are able to bind to cells that express mannose receptors. RTB has been shown to bind to the cell surface on the order of 106-108 ricin molecules per cell surface; the profuse binding of ricin to surface membranes allows internalization with all types of membrane invaginations. The holotoxin can be taken up by clathrin-coated pits, as well as by clathrin-independent pathways including caveolae and macropinocytosis. Intracellular vesicles shuttle ricin to endosomes; the active acidification of endosomes is thought to have little effect on the functional properties of ricin. Because ricin is stable over a wide pH range, degradation in endosomes or lysosomes offers little or no protection against ricin. Ricin molecules are thought to follow retrograde transport via early endosomes, the trans-Golgi network, the Golgi to enter the lumen of the endoplasmic reticulum.
For ricin to function cytotoxically, RTA must be reductively cleaved from RTB in order to release a steric block of the RTA active site. This process is catalysed by the protein PDI that resides in the lumen of the ER. Free RTA in the ER lumen partially unfolds and buries into the ER membrane, where it is thought to mimic a misfolded membrane-associated protein. Roles for the ER chaperones GRP94, EDEM and BiP have been proposed prior to the'dislocation' of RTA from the ER lumen to the cytosol in a manner that utilizes components of the endoplasmic reticulum-associated protein degradation pathway. ERAD removes misfolded ER proteins to the cytosol for their destruction by cytosolic proteasomes. Dislocation of RTA requires ER membrane-integral E3 ubiquitin ligase complexes, but RTA avoids the ubiquitination that occurs with ERAD substrates because of its low content of lysine residues, which are the usual attachment sites for ubiquitin. Thus, RTA avoids the usual fate of dislocated proteins. In the mammalian cell cytosol, RTA undergoes tria
A ghost town is an abandoned village, town, or city one that contains substantial visible remains. A town becomes a ghost town because the economic activity that supported it has failed, or due to natural or human-caused disasters such as floods, prolonged droughts, government actions, uncontrolled lawlessness, pollution, or nuclear disasters; the term can sometimes refer to cities and neighbourhoods that are still populated, but less so than in past years. Some ghost towns those that preserve period-specific architecture, have become tourist attractions; some examples are Bannack, Centralia and South Pass City in the United States, Barkerville in Canada, Craco in Italy, Elizabeth Bay and Kolmanskop in Namibia, Pripyat in Ukraine, Danushkodi in India. The town of Plymouth on the Caribbean island of Montserrat is a ghost town, the de jure capital of Montserrat, it was rendered uninhabitable by volcanic ash from an eruption. The definition of a ghost town varies between individuals, between cultures.
Some writers discount settlements that were abandoned as a result of a natural or human-made disaster or other causes using the term only to describe settlements that were deserted because they were no longer economically viable. Some believe. Whether or not the settlement must be deserted, or may contain a small population, is a matter for debate. Though, the term is used in a looser sense, encompassing any and all of these definitions; the American author Lambert Florin's preferred definition of a ghost town was "a shadowy semblance of a former self". Factors leading to abandonment of towns include depleted natural resources, economic activity shifting elsewhere and roads bypassing or no longer accessing the town, human intervention, massacres and the shifting of politics or fall of empires. A town can be abandoned when it is part of an exclusion zone due to natural or man-made causes. Ghost towns may result when the single activity or resource that created a boomtown is depleted or the resource economy undergoes a "bust".
Boomtowns can decrease in size as fast as they grew. Sometimes, all or nearly the entire population can desert the town; the dismantling of a boomtown can occur on a planned basis. Mining companies nowadays will create a temporary community to service a mine site, building all the accommodation and services required, remove them once the resource has been extracted. Modular buildings can be used to facilitate the process. A gold rush would bring intensive but short-lived economic activity to a remote village, only to leave a ghost town once the resource was depleted. In some cases, multiple factors may remove the economic basis for a community. S. Route 66 suffered both mine closures when the resources were depleted and loss of highway traffic as US 66 was diverted away from places like Oatman, Arizona onto a more direct path. Mine and pulp mill closures have led to many ghost towns in British Columbia, Canada including several recent ones: Ocean Falls which closed in 1973 after the pulp mill was decommissioned, Kitsault B.
C. whose molybdenum mine shut after only 18 months in 1982 and Cassiar whose asbestos mine operated from 1952 to 1992. In other cases, the reason for abandonment can arise from a town's intended economic function shifting to another, nearby place; this happened to Collingwood, Queensland in Outback Australia when nearby Winton outperformed Collingwood as a regional centre for the livestock-raising industry. The railway reached Winton in 1899, linking it with the rest of Queensland, Collingwood was a ghost town by the following year; the Middle East has many ghost towns that were created when the shifting of politics or the fall of empires caused capital cities to be or economically unviable, such as Ctesiphon. The rise of condominium investment caused for real estate bubbles leads to a ghost town, as real estate prices rise and affordable housing becomes less available; such examples include China and Canada, where housing is used as an investment rather than for habitation. Railroads and roads bypassing or no longer reaching a town can create a ghost town.
This was the case in many of the ghost towns along Ontario's historic Opeongo Line, along U. S. Route 66 after motorists bypassed the latter on the faster moving highways I-44 and I-40; some ghost towns were founded along railways where steam trains would stop at periodic intervals to take on water. Amboy, California was part of one such series of villages along the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad across the Mojave Desert. River re-routing is one example being the towns along the Aral Sea. Ghost towns may be created when land is expropriated by a government, residents are required to relocate. One example is the village of Tyneham in Dorset, acquired during World War II to build an artillery range. A similar situation occurred in the U. S. when NASA acquired land to construct the John C. Stennis Space Center, a rocket testing facility in Hancock County, Mississippi; this required NASA to acquire a large (approximately 34-square-mile (88
Phytophthora infestans is an oomycete or water mold, a microorganism that causes the serious potato and tomato disease known as late blight or potato blight. Late blight was a major culprit in the 1840s European, the 1845 Irish, the 1846 Highland potato famines; the organism can infect some other members of the Solanaceae. The pathogen is favored by moist, cool environments: sporulation is optimal at 12–18 °C in water-saturated or nearly saturated environments, zoospore production is favored at temperatures below 15 °C. Lesion growth rates are optimal at a warmer temperature range of 20 to 24 °C; the genus name Phytophthora comes from the Greek φυτό-, meaning: "plant" - plus the Greek φθορά, meaning: "decay, perish". The species name infestans is the present participle of the Latin verb infestare, meaning: "attacking, destroying", from which we get the word "to infest"; the asexual life cycle of Phytophthora infestans is characterized by alternating phases of hyphal growth, sporangia germination, the re-establishment of hyphal growth.
There is a sexual cycle, which occurs when isolates of opposite mating type meet. Hormonal communication triggers the formation of called oospores; the different types of spores play major roles in the survival of P. infestans. Sporangia are spread by wind or water and enable the movement of P. infestans between different host plants. The zoospores released from sporangia are biflagellated and chemotactic, allowing further movement of P. infestans on water films found on leaves or soils. Both sporangia and zoospores are short-lived, in contrast to oospores which can persist in a viable form for many years; the color of potato sign is white. People can observe Phytophthora infestans produce sporangia and sporangiophores on the surface of potato stems and leaves; these sporangia and sporangiophores always appear on the lower surface of the foliage. As for tuber blight, the white mycelium shows on the tubers' surface. Under ideal conditions, the life cycle can be completed on potato or tomato foliage in about five days.
Sporangia develop on the leaves, spreading through the crop when temperatures are above 10 °C and humidity is over 75–80% for 2 days or more. Rain can wash spores into the soil where they infect young tubers, the spores can travel long distances on the wind; the early stages of blight are missed. Symptoms include the appearance of dark blotches on plant stems. White mold will appear under the leaves in humid conditions and the whole plant may collapse. Infected tubers develop grey or dark patches that are reddish brown beneath the skin, decay to a foul-smelling mush caused by the infestation of secondary soft bacterial rots. Healthy tubers may rot when in store. P. infestans survives poorly in nature apart from its plant hosts. Under most conditions, the hyphae and asexual sporangia can survive for only brief periods in plant debris or soil, are killed off during frosts or warm weather; the exceptions involve oospores, hyphae present within tubers. The persistence of viable pathogen within tubers, such as those that are left in the ground after the previous year's harvest or left in cull piles is a major problem in disease management.
In particular, volunteer plants sprouting from infected tubers are thought to be a major source of inoculum at the start of a growing season. This can have devastating effects by destroying entire crops. P. infestans is diploid, with about 11-13 chromosomes, in 2009 scientists completed the sequencing of its genome. The genome was found to be larger than that of most other Phytophthora species whose genomes have been sequenced. About 18,000 genes were detected within the P. infestans genome. It contained a diverse variety of transposons and many gene families encoding for effector proteins that are involved in causing pathogenicity; these proteins are split into two main groups depending on whether they are produced by the water mould in the symplast or in the apoplast. Proteins produced in the symplast included RXLR proteins, which contain an arginine-X-leucine-arginine sequence at the amino terminus of the protein; some RXLR proteins are avirulence proteins, meaning that they can be detected by the plant and lead to a hypersensitive response which restricts the growth of the pathogen.
P. infestans was found to encode around 60% more of these proteins than most other Phytophthora species. Those found in the apoplast include hydrolytic enzymes such as proteases and glycosylases that act to degrade plant tissue, enzyme inhibitors to protect against host defence enzymes and necrotizing toxins. Overall the genome was found to have an high repeat content and to have an unusual gene distribution in that some areas contain many genes whereas others contain few; the highlands of central Mexico are considered by many to be the center of origin of P. infestans, although others have proposed its origin to be in the Andes, the origin of potatoes. A recent study evaluated these two alternate hypotheses and found conclusive support for central Mexico being the center of origin. Support for Mexico comes from multiple observations including the fact that populations are genetically most diverse in Mexico, late blight is observed in native tuber-bearing Solanum species, population
Uzbekistan also the Republic of Uzbekistan, is a landlocked country in Central Asia. The sovereign state is a secular, unitary constitutional republic, comprising 12 provinces, one autonomous republic, a capital city. Uzbekistan is bordered by five landlocked countries: Kazakhstan to the north. Along with Liechtenstein, it is one of the world's only two doubly landlocked countries. What is now Uzbekistan was in ancient times part of the Iranian-speaking region of Transoxiana and Turan; the first recorded settlers were Eastern Iranian nomads, known as Scythians, who founded kingdoms in Khwarezm, Sogdia and Margiana. The area was incorporated into the Persian Empire and, after a period of Macedonian Greek rule, was ruled by the Persian Parthian Empire and by the Sasanian Empire, until the Muslim conquest of Persia in the 7th century; the Muslim conquest in the 7th century converted the majority of the population, including the local ruling classes, into adherents of Islam. During this period, cities such as Samarkand and Bukhara began to grow rich from the Silk Road.
The local Khwarezmian dynasty, Central Asia as a whole, were decimated by the Mongol invasion in the 13th century. After the Mongol Conquests, the area became dominated by Turkic peoples; the city of Shahrisabz was the birthplace of the Turco-Mongol warlord Timur known as one of Genghis Khan's grandchildren, who in the 14th century established the Timurid Empire and was proclaimed the Supreme Emir of Turan with his capital in Samarkand. The area was conquered by Uzbek Shaybanids in the 16th century, moving the centre of power from Samarkand to Bukhara; the region was split into three states: Khanate of Khiva, Khanate of Kokand, Emirate of Bukhara. It was incorporated into the Russian Empire during the 19th century, with Tashkent becoming the political center of Russian Turkestan. In 1924, after national delimitation, the constituent republic of the Soviet Union known as the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic was created. Following the breakup of the Soviet Union, it declared independence as the Republic of Uzbekistan on 31 August 1991.
Uzbekistan has a diverse cultural heritage due to strategic location. Its first major official language is Uzbek, a Turkic language written in the Latin alphabet and spoken natively by 85% of the population. Russian has widespread use as a governmental language. Uzbeks constitute 81% of the population, followed by Russians, Tajiks and others. Muslims constitute 79% of the population while 5% of the population follow Russian Orthodox Christianity, 16% of the population follow other religions or are non-religious. A majority of Uzbeks are non-denominational Muslims. Uzbekistan is a member of the CIS, OSCE, UN, the SCO. While a democratic republic, by 2008 non-governmental human rights organizations defined Uzbekistan as "an authoritarian state with limited civil rights". Following the death of Islam Karimov in 2016, the second president, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, started a new course, described as a A Quiet Revolution and Revolution from Above, he stated he intended to abolish cotton slavery, systematic use of child labour, exit visas, to introduce a tax reform, create four new free economic zones, as well as amnestied some political prisoners.
The relations with neighboring countries of Tajikistan and Afghanistan drastically improved. However, the Amnesty International report on human rights in the country for 2017/2018 described continued repressive measures, including forced labour in cotton harvesting, restrictions on movements of'freed' prisoners; the Uzbek economy is in a gradual transition to the market economy, with foreign trade policy being based on import substitution. In September 2017, the country's currency became convertible in the market rates. Uzbekistan is a major exporter of cotton; the country operates the largest open-pit gold mine in the world. With the gigantic power-generation facilities of the Soviet era and an ample supply of natural gas, Uzbekistan has become the largest electricity producer in Central Asia. Renewable energy constitutes more than 23% of the country's energy sector, with hydroelectricity and solar energy having 21.4% and 2% respectively. Uzbekistan has an area of 447,400 square kilometres, it is the 56th largest country in the 42nd by population.
Among the CIS countries, it is the 2nd largest by population. Uzbekistan lies between latitudes 37° and 46° N, longitudes 56° and 74° E, it stretches 1,425 kilometres from west to east and 930 kilometres from north to south. Bordering Kazakhstan and the Aralkum Desert to the north and northwest and Afghanistan to the southwest, Tajikistan to the southeast, Kyrgyzstan to the northeast, Uzbekistan is one of the largest Central Asian states and the only Central Asian state to border all the other four. Uzbekistan shares a short border with Afghanistan to the south. Uzbekistan is a landlocked country, it is one of two doubly landlocked countries in the world (that is, a country completel
Biological warfare —also known as germ warfare—is the use of biological toxins or infectious agents such as bacteria and fungi with the intent to kill or incapacitate humans, animals or plants as an act of war. Biological weapons are living organisms or replicating entities that reproduce or replicate within their host victims. Entomological warfare is considered a type of biological weapon; this type of warfare is distinct from nuclear warfare and chemical warfare, which together with biological warfare make up NBC, the military initialism for nuclear and chemical warfare using weapons of mass destruction. None of these are considered conventional weapons, which are deployed for their explosive, kinetic, or incendiary potential. Biological weapons may be employed in various ways to gain a strategic or tactical advantage over the enemy, either by threats or by actual deployments. Like some chemical weapons, biological weapons may be useful as area denial weapons; these agents may be lethal or non-lethal, may be targeted against a single individual, a group of people, or an entire population.
They may be developed, stockpiled or deployed by nation states or by non-national groups. In the latter case, or if a nation-state uses it clandestinely, it may be considered bioterrorism. Biological warfare and chemical warfare overlap to an extent, as the use of toxins produced by some living organisms is considered under the provisions of both the Biological Weapons Convention and the Chemical Weapons Convention. Toxins and psychochemical weapons are referred to as midspectrum agents. Unlike bioweapons, these midspectrum agents do not reproduce in their host and are characterized by shorter incubation periods; the use of biological weapons is prohibited under customary international humanitarian law, as well as a variety of international treaties. The use of biological agents in armed conflict is a war crime. Offensive biological warfare, including mass production and use of biological weapons, was outlawed by the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention; the rationale behind this treaty, ratified or acceded to by 170 countries as of April 2013, is to prevent a biological attack which could conceivably result in large numbers of civilian casualties and cause severe disruption to economic and societal infrastructure.
Many countries, including signatories of the BWC pursue research into the defense or protection against BW, not prohibited by the BWC. A nation or group that can pose a credible threat omass casualty has the ability to alter the terms on which other nations or groups interact with it. Biological weapons allow for the potential to create a level of destruction and loss of life far in excess of nuclear, chemical or conventional weapons, relative to their mass and cost of development and storage. Therefore, biological agents may be useful as strategic deterrents in addition to their utility as offensive weapons on the battlefield; as a tactical weapon for military use, a significant problem with a BW attack is that it would take days to be effective, therefore might not stop an opposing force. Some biological agents (smallpox, have the capability of person-to-person transmission via aerosolized respiratory droplets; this feature can be undesirable, as the agent may be transmitted by this mechanism to unintended populations, including neutral or friendly forces.
While containment of BW is less of a concern for certain criminal or terrorist organizations, it remains a significant concern for the military and civilian populations of all nations. Rudimentary forms of biological warfare have been practiced since antiquity; the earliest documented incident of the intention to use biological weapons is recorded in Hittite texts of 1500–1200 BC, in which victims of tularemia were driven into enemy lands, causing an epidemic. Although the Assyrians knew of ergot, a parasitic fungus of rye which produces ergotism when ingested, there is no evidence that they poisoned enemy wells with the fungus, as has been claimed. In 1346, the bodies of Mongol warriors of the Golden Horde who had died of plague were thrown over the walls of the besieged Crimean city of Kaffa. Specialists disagree over whether this operation may have been responsible for the spread of the Black Death into Europe, Near East and North Africa, resulting in the killing of 25 million Europeans.
The British Army commanders approved the use of smallpox as a biological weapon in the French and Indian War to target Native Americans during the Siege of Fort Pitt in 1763. Correspondence between General Jeffrey Amherst and Colonel Henry Bouquet provides further evidence that the English army planned for the use of biological weapons to kill Native Americans, as detailed in Native American disease and epidemics. A smallpox outbreak was reported in the Ohio Valley and Great Lakes area through 1763 and 1764; the spread of smallpox weakened the French and Native American resistance to the British troops led by Bouquet. The smallpox outbreak was considered a direct result of two blankets and a scarf taken from a Small Pox Hospital gifted by William Trent and others English army representatives to leader Maumaultee and warrior Turtle Heart of the Delaware people during their visit to Ft Pitt. Amherst and Bouquet discussed other biological weapon deployments as a result. Apologists pose questions as to whether the outbreak was the result of the Fort Pitt incident or the virus was present among the Delaware people.
It is that the British Marines used smallpox in New S