Feeds

US Army goes shopping for anthrax

Would you like that giftwrapped?

SANS - Survey on application security programs

The US Army has asked companies to bid for contracts to produce large quantities of anthrax and equipment to produce other unnamed biological agents, according to New Scientist, but has not said what it needs the facilities for.

Alan Pearson, programme director for biological and chemical weapons at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation in Washington DC, says the contracts raise serious questions about the US' commitment to the Biological Weapons Convention.

Anti-biological weapons campaigner Edward Hammond of the Sunshine Project discovered the contracts, which were issued this year.

One contract specifies: "The company must have the ability and be willing to grow Bacillus anthracis Sterne strain at 1500-litre quantities." Others call for a 3,000-litre production capacity for unnamed biological agents and sheep carcasses to investigate incineration of infected animals.

The non-virulent Sterne strain of the bacterium is the only one specified in any of the documents. It is not thought to be harmful to humans, and is used in vaccination. However, the same equipment could easily be put to use to grow spores of the lethal Ames strain, and it is this that has raised eyebrows.

Speaking to New Scientist, Hammond asked: "What would happen to the Biological Weapons Convention if other countries followed suit and built large biological production facilities at secretive military bases known for weapons testing?"

The tenders were issued by the US army's Dugway Proving Ground in Utah. Dugway maintains that the contracts are still at the "pre-solicitation" phase, and that there is currently no Anthrax at the base.

Dugway has refused to elaborate on what it needs the anthrax for, and although there is no suggestion that the US intends to restart its biological weapons programme, Hammond argues that the military might want to use the agent to test biological weapons delivery systems, for threat assessment. ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco
Standing in the corner, big pointy 'D' hats
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars
File under 'messianic pastries' and move on, people
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
New FEMTO-MOON sighted BIRTHING from Saturn's RING
Icy 'Peggy' looks to be leaving the outer rings
Melting permafrost switches to nasty, high-gear methane release
Result? 'Way more carbon being released into the atmosphere as methane'
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.