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American BiodefenseHow Dangerous Ideas about Biological Weapons Shape National Security$
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Frank L. III Smith

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780801452710

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801452710.001.0001

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Biodefense and Beyond

Biodefense and Beyond

The Influence of Ideas on National Security

(p.128) Biodefense and Beyond
American Biodefense

Frank L. Smith

Cornell University Press

This concluding chapter presents three major findings in the biodefense study. First, biological weapons do not conform to the military's assumptions and heuristics about projectile weapons and explosives. Second, as a consequence of this discrepancy, the armed services have tended to rely on inaccurate stereotypes that conflate biological weapons with other nonkinetic weapons. These stereotypes let the military neglect biodefense while disregarding it as a matter of routine practice. Third, different ideas produce different results. The influence of different ideas on organizational decision making is one major reason why some civilian organizations are more willing and able to support biodefense than their military counterparts.

Keywords:   biodefense, biological weapons, military stereotypes, nonkinetic weapons, organizational decision making

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