This module can be studied on a standalone basis or as part of the Certificate in Terrorism Studies
This module looks at the development of weapons in the past century and assesses how and why, despite the reductions in stockpiles and the treaties to prevent the proliferation of these weapons, development continues to spread.
By the end of this module, participants will be able to:
Download the full Certificate in Terrorism Studies prospectus here
The first part of the module introduces you to the development and use of Nuclear, Biological and Chemical (NBC) Weapons by nation-states and how they have proliferated to other countries, especially states of concern, with analysis of current state capabilities, explanation of the mechanisms involved whereby countries obtain the means to develop NBC weapons, and how we assess their capabilities, including states undergoing conflict in this century.
The module then examines in detail the threat of the use of CBRN weapons by terrorists and insurgents and why this term has morphed from the original ‘cold war’ ‘NBC’. The module then delves into the terrorist CBRN threat, how it is assessed, the groups and individuals involved, and how it is measured according to intent, capabilities, supply chains, resources, and circumstances. It then assesses the nature and effects of CBRN weapons with noted examples of previous incidents. This will open up discussion about the extent of the CBRN threat as against the prolific use by terrorists of IEDs and question if governments have overstated the threat.
We then focus on the range of CBRN defence countermeasures and how some attempts have been pre-empted, including preparations and training for a CBRN ‘event of high consequence’ and small-scale attacks. These preparations will be placed in the context of current instability in countries of concern and beyond, and finally, the module will assess countermeasures and look to future possible threats.
The module is designed to be studied over four weeks:
Week 1: Understand the origins and stockpiles of NBC weapons used by nation-states. Get an overview of proliferation to ‘states of concern’. Gain an overview of the international legal framework underpinning the possession and dismantlement of NBC weapons, and discuss their effectiveness in preventing proliferation.
Week 2: Explore how 9/11 changed perceptions of the CBRN civilian-based terrorist threat, and discuss capabilities of Al-Qaeda and other groups.Analyse terrorist abilities to acquire CBRN weapons and dual-use materials, gain an understanding of their aims to use CBRN, and discuss if the threat is overstated.
Week 3: Find out the lethality of CBRN substances and think critically about the use of CBRN IEDs and how terrorists use information sources. Gain an insight into terrorist CBRN case studies and discuss why more CBRN attacks have not occurred.
Week 4: Assess the effectiveness of programmes to counter CBRN terrorism, including response techniques, and discuss lessons learned. Finally, assess the current CBRN terrorist threat and countermeasures. Discuss possible future incidents based on current assessments in the context of current crises and conflicts
Study modules individually or as part of the Certificate in Terrorism Studies.
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