Oct. 1, 2009
President Nixon’s Decision to Renounce the U.S. Offensive Biological Weapons Program
The nuclear arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union was a prominent feature of the Cold War. A lesser known but equally dangerous element of the superpower competition involved biological weapons (BW), living microorganisms that cause fatal or incapacitating diseases in humans, animals, or plants. By the late 1960s, the United States and the Soviet Union had both acquired advanced BW capabilities. The U.S. biological weapons complex, operated by the U.S. Army Chemical Corps, consisted of a research and development laboratory at Fort Detrick in Maryland, an open-air testing site at Dugway Proving Ground in Utah, and a production facility at Pine Bluff Arsenal in Arkansas that manufactured biological warfare agents and loaded them into bomblets, bombs, and spray tanks.