2017 ISA Conference Series: A Discussion on CBRN Weapons with Gary Ackerman (START)

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Chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) weapons are an emerging threat. In this week's episode, Analysis Bureau Chief Dean Baratta sat with Gary Ackerman, the Director of the Unconventional Weapons and Technology Division at the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), to discuss the potential use of these weapons, the capabilities to create such weapons, their attractiveness to terrorist groups. and how prepared the United States currently is for the eventuality of such an attack. 




Director, Unconventional Weapons and Technology Division, START

Gary Ackerman is the Director of the Unconventional Weapons and Technology Division of START, where he manages large research projects, explores new avenues for research and establishes collaborative research relationships. Prior to taking up his current positions, Ackerman held the posts of Research Director and then Special Projects Director at START and the Director of the Center for Terrorism and Intelligence Studies, a private research and analysis institute. He has also served as the Director of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Terrorism Research Program at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Monterey, Calif., and chief of operations of the South Africa-based African-Asian Society. Ackerman possesses an eclectic academic background, including past studies in the fields of mathematics, history, law and international relations. His research encompasses various areas relating to terrorism and counterterrorism, including terrorist threat assessment, motivations for using chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) weapons, radicalization, the relationship between terrorism and technology, and the modeling and simulation of terrorist behavior. He is the co-editor of Jihadists and Weapons of Mass Destruction (CRC Press, 2009), author of several articles on CBRN terrorism and has testified on terrorist motivations for using nuclear weapons before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security. Ackerman received his BA and BA (Hons) degrees from the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa and his MA in International Relations from Yale University. He completed his PhD in War Studies at King’s College London, dealing with the impact of emerging technologies on terrorist decisions relating to weapons adoption.