Sample Paper on Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)


  1. Using two references and in your words, defines Weapons of Mass Destruction?

Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) have been defined as any weapon whose design is intended or aimed at causing serious bodily harm or death because of the dissemination, impact, or release of poisonous or toxic chemicals, or the precursors of such poisonous or toxic chemicals[1]. In addition, WMD can also be defined as radioactive material weapons, atomic explosive weapons, biological and lethal chemical weapons, as well as any weapons that are likely to be developed in the future whose attributes can be compared with the destructive effects of either the atomic bomb, biological, nuclear, and radiological weapons with the capability to cause mass casualties or high order of destruction[2].

  1. Explain Sanctions against Foreign Persons as presented in Executive Order EO 12938? Section 4 of the Executive Order EO 12938 addresses the issue of sanctions against foreign persons with regard to Weapons of Mass Destruction. In this regard, EO 12938 notes that the United States shall impose sanctions on a foreign individual concerning biological and chemical weapons proliferation should the Secretary of State establish that the foreign individual in questions materially and knowingly aided any foreign project, country, or individual to develop, produce, acquire, use, or stockpile biological or chemical weapons[3]. In addition, any agency or department of the U.S Government is forbidden from entering into any contract that entails the procurement of any services or goods from any foreign entity on whom sanctions have been imposed for having aided in the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, either directly or indirectly.

In addition, such an entity may not import products produced by them into the United States, as per the directives issued by the Secretary of the Treasury. However, sanctions imposed on the foreign person could be relaxed or terminated altogether should it be determined by the Secretary of State, subject to the availability of reliable evidence, that the foreign entity in question, has since abandoned all activities regarding the proliferation of biological and chemical weapons.[4]

  1. In your own words, compare and contrast counter proliferation and Combating WMD (CWMD)?

            With regard to Weapons of Mass Destruction, counter-proliferation entails the intelligence, military, and diplomatic efforts to halt the proliferation of such weapons. The counter-proliferation methods of WMD are developed in such a manner as to censure the material used to manufacture WMD, or the actual WMD, use of military intelligence and force to forestall the use of these weapons, and whenever possible, shoot down any missiles that carries WMD. Effective interdiction ensures that WMD and not only combated, but that their means of delivery are also scuttled.  On the other hand, deterrence of the proliferation of WMD entails the use of effective surveillance, enforcement of domestic laws, and surveillance efforts.[5] On the other hand, combating WMD involves efforts directed at reducing and/or containing threats to WMD, as well as responding to crises because of WMD.

  1. Identify three resources the U.S. Government is using towards Weapons of Mass Destruction Counter Proliferation efforts?

            So far, the U.S. Government has made a lot of investment in the form of diplomatic capital and nonproliferation efforts with a view to preventing WMD efforts. To start with, the U.S. Government has embraced strengthened nonproliferation efforts. It entails the use of active nonproliferation diplomacy, arms control through multilateral regimes, threat reduction cooperation and nonproliferation, as well as imposing controls on nuclear materials. In other words, these efforts are directed at proliferation prevention. The second resource involves counter-proliferation and it entails deterrence, interdiction, mitigation of crises, passive and active defenses efforts.[6] The third resource involves actions aimed at both minimizing and responding to the impact of WMD against citizens, allies and friends, and the military forces.

  1. Do Weapons of Mass Destruction pose a threat to the United States? If so, where does the greatest threat stem from?

Weapons of Mass Destruction are, without a doubt, a key threat to the United States. While we have various forms of WMD, all of whom carry with them potential and/or obvious threats, biological and nuclear efforts by far pose the greatest of these threats. This is because it is hard to put to a halt any attempts by states to develop the capacity to utilize biological and nuclear weapons as the equipment and material used in the production of biological and chemical agents have also found legitimate application in commercial and research industries.[7]  It is difficult therefore, to regulate or control the production of these weapons of mass destruction, with even a number of countries having already contravened the existing conventions regarding the production of nuclear and biological materials.[8]  While the Biological Weapons Convention was meant to regulate the development of biological weapons by members, several countries are not signatory to it and are believed to be producing biological weapons in secret. In addition, the nuclear risk is a growing concern for the United States.

While a number of states are out to gain nuclear weapons, others seek to expand their already existing arsenals.  We are likely to be confronted with a nuclear renaissance as an increasingly higher number of countries seek to build nuclear facilities, in effect leading to a rise in the number of states that possess the capabilities and knowledge to develop nuclear weapons. At the same time, there is a resultant increase in the probability that such material so produced could be stolen by, or diverted to terrorist groups.[9] More importantly it appears as though we already have an overabundance of nuclear material as over 40 nations already possess nuclear material  that can be readily developed into nuclear weapons.


Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism.         Proliferation of The Report of the Commission on the Prevention of WMD Proliferation and Terrorism. New York: Vantage Books, 2008.

Carus, Seth.

The Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission (WMDC). Weapons of Terror: Freeing the World of Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Arms. 2006.

White House Office of the Press Secretary, “EXECUTIVE ORDER 12938,” November 14, 1994

218 U.S. Code § 2332a. Use of weapons of mass destruction.

 [1] Seth Carus., Weapons of  Mass Destruction,  2012,

[2] 218 U.S. Code § 2332a, Use of weapons of mass destruction.

[3]  The White House Office of the Press Secretary, “EXECUTIVE ORDER 12938,” November 14, 1994

[4] Ibid

[5] The Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission (WMDC), Weapons of Terror: Freeing the World of Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Arms (2006),

[6] Ibid

[7] Seth Carus., Weapons of  Mass Destruction, 2012,

[8] The Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission (WMDC), Weapons of Terror: Freeing the World of Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Arms (2006),