State Department: Reducing Revisionist State Biological and Chemical Weapons Threats

HMN - State Department: Reducing Revisionist State Biological and Chemical Weapons Threats

Originally published on Global Biodefense

The Department of State’s Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, Office of Cooperative Threat Reduction (ISN/CTR) is funding cooperative agreements to identify and disrupt the ability of “revisionist proliferator states” to develop chemical and biological weapons (CBW) capabilities.

Revisionist proliferator states may attempt to procure sensitive equipment from unsuspecting or indiscriminate commercial or scientific institutions, subvert or otherwise undermine international nonproliferation regimes, manipulate or leverage sensitive dual-use scientific expertise, and/or seek to acquire dangerous pathogens and weaponizable materials for illicit CBW purposes.

To address these threats, ISN/CTR’s Special Projects team seeks creative and competitive proposals that utilize open-source information to map potential illicit revisionist state CBW procurement networks, develop targeted interventions to disrupt access to dual-use biological materials and equipment, and limit access to necessary biological and chemical scientific knowledge and expertise.

Revisionist CBW proliferator states may exploit:

  • Historic habits of commerce with neighbors, including neighboring country industries and research institutes;
  • A lack of national and regional awareness of revisionist state CBW threats; poor inter-ministerial and regional coordination across targeted states
  • Limited state-level capacity to detect and counter state CBW threats; poor awareness of know-your-customer and due-diligence by suppliers of dual-use biological and chemical equipment, technology and materials
  • Limited proliferation threat awareness by private sector and university entities, including non-traditional practitioners such as the synthetic biology community

In addition, revisionist CBW states may seek to leverage novel advanced technologies, uneven oversight of foreign commercial and research collaboration on dual-use topics, foreign partners’ habits of openness and data-sharing, and poor control of tacit knowledge to advance revisionist state CBW programs.

Countries of interest for engagement include:

  • Europe/Eurasia (e.g. Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Turkey, and Ukraine)
  • South and Central Asia (e.g. India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan)
  • Southeast Asia (e.g. Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam)

Suggested deliverables could include, but are not limited to:

  • Open-source information and related training that highlights illicit procurement and financial networks that support revisionist state access to sensitive dual-use technologies, dangerous pathogens, and/or weaponizable materials
  • Training and capacity-building efforts to enhance due diligence by foreign partner countries and institutions that prevent financing, procuring, or distributing sensitive biological technologies to revisionist proliferator states
  • Foreign partner capacity building to detect and disrupt procurement and financial networks that could support potential revisionist state BW capabilities
  • Foreign partner country capacity building to impede and prevent access to sensitive chemical and biological expertise, collaboration, tacit and explicit knowledge by revisionist states
  • Development of methods to leverage U.S. and international sanctions regimes to strengthen CBW proliferation deterrence

Additional details are available at (SFOP0007378). The current closing date for applications is January 29, 2021