Weapons of Mass Destruction

A weapon of mass destruction (WMD) is a weapon — be it nuclear, radiological, chemical, biological, or explosive — that can kill or injure large numbers of people or greatly damage the infrastructure of a country or region. RAND provides policymakers with objective guidance and recommendations to improve WMD preparedness, detection, and response, as well as international collaboration to counter WMD threats.

  • A worker engages in decontamination procedures

    Research Brief

    Closing the Strategy-Policy Gap in Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction

    Two presidents have declared counterproliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) a top national priority, but it has not been budgeted or resourced as such. This brief summarizes ground force capacities and capabilities needed to eliminate WMD.

    Sep 24, 2014

  • The Flying Dragons flew in support of a joint air assault in which Soldiers conducted a search for illegal weapons on various compounds throughout Nawa Valley, Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, May 25, 2014


    Pentagon Should Elevate the Importance of Eliminating WMDs in Operational Planning

    Joint force commanders should carefully consider requirements for eliminating weapons of mass destruction in their contingency and operational planning. And DoD policy decisions involving Army force structure should consider the conventional ground force requirements of such operations.

    Sep 24, 2014

  • News Release

    Pentagon Should Elevate the Importance of Eliminating Weapons of Mass Destruction in Operational Planning

    Although the United States military has determined countering proliferation of weapons of mass destruction to be a strategic priority, policymakers have invested too little in the forces and capabilities needed to eliminate vulnerable arsenals.

    Sep 24, 2014

  • Report

    Assessing the Effectiveness of the International Counterproliferation Program

    Addressing the threat of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction requires interagency and international cooperation. This report demonstrates how one assessment framework can be applied to security cooperation programs.

    Sep 12, 2011

  • Report

    Developing Global Partnerships to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction

    This RAND National Defense Research Institute study outlines and then applies a four-step process for developing regional approaches to working with appropriate partner countries around the world in order to compensate for limited resources and knowledge in confronting weapons of mass destruction (WMD) threats.

    Feb 24, 2009

  • Report

    Nonproliferation Sanctions

    This study examines the United States' use of sanctions against foreign entities to prevent the proliferation of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons.

    Jan 1, 2001

  • Content

    Bruce W. Bennett

    Senior International/Defense Researcher
    Education Ph.D. in policy analysis, Pardee RAND Graduate School; B.S. in economics, California Institute of Technology

  • Content

    Brian G. Chow

    Adjunct Physical Scientist
    Education Ph.D. in physics, Case Western Reserve University; Ph.D. in finance, M.B.A (with distinction), University of Michigan

  • Content

    Thomas F. Atkin

    Adjunct Management Scientist
    Education M.S. in management science, University of Miami; B.S. in mathematical science, U.S. Coast Guard Academy

  • Content

    Natasha Lander

    Senior Policy Analyst
    Education M.P.P. in national security policy, George Mason University; B.S. in journalism and political science, Bowling Green State University

  • Content

    Kurt Klein

    Assistant Policy Researcher; Ph.D. Candidate, Pardee RAND Graduate School
    Education M.P.P., University of California, Los Angeles; B.S. in physics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor