The threat of biological weapons poses unique challenges for government officials charged with devising immediate and longer-term response plans. RAND has developed exercises to train and evaluate the preparedness of state and local public health agencies to respond to bioterrorism. RAND researchers have also examined the longer-term psychological consequences of bioterrorism and created guidelines to improve individual preparedness for chemical, radiological, nuclear, and biological attacks.

Explore Bioterrorism

  • Report

    Measuring and Evaluating Local Preparedness for a Chemical or Biological Terrorist Attack

    This issue paper discusses the challenges of measuring preparedness for chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction (WMD) incidents.

    Jan 1, 2002

  • Commentary

    Deny Victory to Anthrax Terrorists

    By keeping in mind the modest scope of the anthrax attacks and not overreacting, we deny the perpetrators of these attacks their objective of terrorizing us into doing what they want us to do. These anthrax cases do, however, highlight some areas for improvement in America's response that can help reduce ...

    Oct 17, 2001

  • Journal Article

    Aum Shinrikyo's Biological Weapons Program: Why Did It Fail?

    Aum's failure suggests that it may, in fact, be far more difficult to carry out a deadly bioterrorism attack than has sometimes been portrayed by government officials and the press.

    Jan 1, 2001

  • Report

    Bioterrorism: Homeland Defense Symposium: The Next Steps : Executive Summary

    This Symposium was held to help remedy the conclusion that as a nation we are ill-prepared to deal with events such as the use of chemical and biological weapons by terrorists.

    Jan 1, 2000

  • Content

    Stuart S. Olmsted

    Director of Operations, Research and Analysis; Senior Natural Scientist
    Education Ph.D. in biophysics, Johns Hopkins University; B.S. in earth, atmospheric, and planetary sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

  • Content

    John V. Parachini

    Director, Intelligence Policy Center, RAND National Defense Research Institute
    Education M.B.A., Georgetown University; M.A. in international relations, Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University; B.A. in philosophy, Haverford College

  • Periodical

    Summer 2003 - Vectors Without Borders

    RAND Review reports periodically on RAND research and related issues of general interest to policymakers and decisionmakers. Sign up for a free online subscription.

  • Periodical

    Control Biological Weapons, but Defend Biotechnology | RAND

    By John Parachini John Parachini is a RAND policy analyst. T he fall 2001 anthrax attacks in the United States posed a number of unprecedented policy challenges that have yet to be resolved. The very nature of the attacks has highlighted the critical need for greater synergy among the fields of security, ...

  • Periodical


    By Kenneth I. Shine Kenneth Shine is director of the RAND Center for Domestic and International Health Security. W hile terrorism may seek to inflict mass casualties, it is also about the creation of fear and panic. The anthrax episodes in the aftermath of 9/11 demonstrated the extent to which a biological ...

  • Periodical

    Replace the Weak Links in the Food Chain

    By Peter Chalk Peter Chalk is a RAND policy analyst. A griculture and the food industry are key elements of the U.S. economic and social structure. Unfortunately, the sector remains highly vulnerable—both to deliberate and to accidental disruption—for several reasons. Critical considerations include the ...

  • Periodical

    The Rising Priority of Local Public Health

    By Lois M. Davis and Janice C. Blanchard Lois Davis is a health policy researcher at RAND whose work focuses on public health and emergency preparedness issues. Janice Blanchard is a doctoral fellow at the RAND Graduate School and an assistant professor of emergency medicine at George Washington University ...