Nukes Aren’t the Only Terrifying Threat from North Korea

As Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un hold their summit in Vietnam, there is a major danger that the narrow focus on nuclear weapons obscures: Kim holds the whip in a three-ring circus of weapons of mass destruction. The other two rings, adjacent and in many ways more frightening, feature chemical weapons and – above all – biological threats.

The North Koreans are suspected by U.S. and South Korean intelligence agencies of holding substantial amounts of a variety of biological agents including smallpox, botulism, typhoid and anthrax. In 2015, the North Korean media showed Kim touring a biological plant. A former Pentagon official in charge of countering such programs told reporters that North Korean bioweapons are “advanced, underestimated, and highly lethal.”

I remember that as the U.S. military prepared for the Gulf War in the early 1990s, most of us in uniform took a series of a dozen shots we were informed might reduce the effect of anthrax should Saddam Hussein launch a bio-attack. Bioweapons have some advantages over nuclear weapons in terms of spreading terror: They can easily be smuggled across borders, and their use can be very hard to attribute, unlike a nuclear weapon with an obvious origin.

Read retired U.S. Navy Adm. James Stavridis at Bloomberg

The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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