Biological weapons are a longstanding threat to the United States. Historically, however, the U.S. military has neglected research, development, acquisition, and doctrine for biodefense. Why did the military neglect biodefense and, ultimately, allow civilian organizations to take the lead in defending the country against biological attacks? In American Biodefense, I address this puzzling and largely untold story about science, technology, and national security.
This book shows how influential ideas have caused both military neglect and the rise of civilian biodefense. The profound influence of these ideas on science and technology challenges the conventional wisdom that threats or bureaucratic interests drive national security policy. Given the ideas at work, I explain why the lessons learned from biodefense can help solve other important problems that range from radiation weapons to cyber attacks.