In recent years, the threat of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) attacks has increased. Chemical attacks by both state and non-state actors in Syria, the VX attack in Malaysia, the Novichock attack in Salisbury and the recent munitions train derailment in Nevada have brought the CBRN threat to life.
The full potential of these CBRN threats is often difficult to predict and can be affected by a variety of independent factors, including the flow of goods, people and even weather conditions - making it difficult to determine the character or origin of the threat and its potential consequences.
A September 2017 report by the Brussels-based policy think tank, the Atlantic Treaty Association, on the CBRN threat (1) we face makes for some sobering reading. Terrorist groups remain intent on acquiring CBRN substances for malicious purposes.
Despite ISIS being declared as “wiped out” in Syria, there is an ongoing “underground rebranding and adaptation of likeminded terrorist organisations such as al-Qa’ida or al-Nusra, towards a coherent jihadist strategy aimed at shifting the West’s focus from the Middle East to Western countries”.