Harvard Sussex Program
on chemical and biological warfare armament and arms limitation


HSP seeks to instil the traditions, practice and benefits of scholarship into the formation of public policy on issues involving biological and chemical weapons. University-based research and publication, other forms of international communication, constructive association with people in policy-shaping and policy-making circles, and training of young people are the means HSP uses. In addition, HSP maintains national and international frameworks for discourse, study and consensus-building that bring together scientists and other scholars with officials of governmental and intergovernmental bodies.

Motivating HSP is the urgency of concerns raised by biological and chemical weapons as potential instruments of terror, coercion and mass killing, whether in the hands of warring nations or of non-state entities. HSP therefore favours efforts to eliminate these weapons globally and to prevent the hostile exploitation of biotechnology. It supports efforts to maintain and enhance the moral, political and legal constraints and prohibitions against the hostile use of disease. If the existing norms against CBW were to fail, biological and chemical weapons of the kinds developed during the years of East-West cold war could furnish relatively simple means for the attack of people, animals and crops over large areas. Even more menacing, in the longer term, would be a world in which the dual-use nature of new biotechnology, now advancing very rapidly, were exploited for those purposes.

While other programs are dedicating their efforts to ameliorating the possible effects of biological or chemical attack should it happen, the emphasis of HSP has been and remains maintaining and strengthening the constraints against development and use of the weapons.

In order to be effective, policies for such prevention must be based on a scientifically sound understanding of the potentials and limitations of existing and possible future weapons, recognising that political and social contexts may either weaken or strengthen the constraints. The policies must be fashioned so far as possible in a genuinely international and co-operative manner; and they must be built on shared interests in domestic and international stability across regional, national and other divides. From policy-makers around the world, all of this will demand clear and careful thought, well founded in historical experience and sensitive to technological and political change. This is what HSP seeks to promote.