“Current and Emerging WMD threats – from ISIS to SynBio” By Mr Andrew C. Weber
In the 21st Century preventing and preparing for Weapons of Mass Destruction attacks is a global security imperative. These capabilities, once the exclusive purview of industrialized states, are becoming increasingly accessible to non-state actors. ISIS is working on chemical and biological weapons, and has demonstrated its ability to attack far and wide. Since the 1995 Aum Shirikyo chemical and biological weapons attacks in Japan, terrorists have been seeking the materials, technology and expertise needed to produce WMD’s. Multi-sectoral civilian, military, law enforcement and intelligence cooperation is needed to improve global capacity to prevent, detect and respond to potential WMD terrorism.
The threat of biological weapons and natural pandemics is especially grave, and requires a focused global effort to deny access to pathogens and improve outbreak early warning systems. The Ebola outbreak in West Africa demonstrated the need for increased global health security capacity building, and an international program of response planning and exercising. This will require innovative public-private and international partnerships.
About the Speaker:
Andrew C. Weber is Senior Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. Weber is a renowned expert on countering global threats who helped lead the U.S. government’s response to the Ebola outbreak and played a key role in the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction program. At the Belfer Center, he will develop a biosecurity project in conjunction with the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) in Washington.
In October 2014, President Obama asked Weber to serve as Deputy Coordinator for Ebola Response at the U.S. Department of State. Previously, he was Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Defense Programs. In this capacity he focused on preventing, protecting against, and responding to weapons of mass destruction and terrorism threats, including global efforts to eliminate Syrian and Libyan chemical weapons. Prior to his appointment in May 2009, Weber served for 13 years as an Adviser for Threat Reduction Policy in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. He served previously as a United States Foreign Service Officer, with diplomatic assignments in Saudi Arabia, Germany, Kazakhstan, and Hong Kong.
From 2002 through 2008, Weber taught a course on Force and Diplomacy at the Edmund A. Walsh Graduate School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. He has a Master of Science in Foreign Service degree from Georgetown and is a graduate of Cornell University. He speaks Russian and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.