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Malcolm Dando

Articles by Malcolm Dando

11 November 2009

Bringing increased biological and chemical weapons provisions to the ICC

Malcolm Dando

This month, the States Parties to the International Criminal Court (ICC) will come together in The Hague to prepare for their review of the Rome Statute, the ICC's governing document, in Uganda in 2010. The primary goal of this meeting is to assess how the ICC and its governing documents can be improved.

26 October 2009

Closing the biology-security gap

Malcolm Dando

Contrary to popular opinion, I think that the international community has been relatively successful in constraining the proliferation of nuclear weapons over the last 60 years. I also believe that we may see a substantial reduction in the number of nuclear weapons over the next decade. Yet I am much less optimistic when it comes to the proliferation of biological weapons. In part, because it's easier to account for fissile material than biological material.

22 September 2009

How civil society could be the key to a new BWC

Malcolm Dando

People say my office is a mess. While I don't necessarily disagree with them, I would argue that there is order in the chaos. For example, one pile of papers is labelled "Interesting (All Topics)." I usually reread them during the summer. But making my way through this pile this summer has been difficult because I have spent so much time following the Ashes cricket series and the World Athletics Championships.

19 August 2009

The British Parliament wants details on BWC progress

Malcolm Dando

It isn't a good time to be a Member of Parliament (MP) in London. With the roasting the domestic media gave to some MPs for their inflated expense claims during a recession, many people must surely feel that little of value goes on in the Westminster Parliament. Nevertheless, it's important to give credit where credit is due.

14 July 2009

Biodevelopment and the Biological Weapons Convention

Malcolm Dando

It's not uncommon for some biosecurity colleagues to dismiss the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) as a regime with an inadequate mandate. Peter Singer and Abdullah Daar, for example, suggest as much in a recent Bulletin article.

16 June 2009

Can the U.S. lead the way on dual-use education?

Malcolm Dando

Since the Second Review Conference of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC) in 1986, States Parties have made suggestions for how to educate life scientists about and raise awareness of the dual-use implications of their benignly intended work. But little truly has been done to engage scientists on the subject.

18 May 2009

Do U.S. biodefense efforts need systems analysis?

Malcolm Dando

As a young biologist I was offered a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Michigan. When I arrived in the United States I considered my previous work on the characteristics of neuronal circuits and decided to examine it in a broader context. This spurred me to begin reading all I could find on systems analysis--the assessment of large, complex events or structures through the examination of their constituents. Although the only writings of systems analysis I found satisfactory were those of Sir Geoffrey Vickers, I could not shake this interest.

20 April 2009

Bioethicists enter the dual-use debate

Malcolm Dando

Well-informed scientists disagree about whether classic dual-use experiments, such as the genetic manipulation of mouse pox and the sequencing and synthesis of 1918 Spanish Influenza, should have been carried out and/or published. Given this acrimony, an ethical analysis might help as the revolution in the life sciences continues apace. Bioethicists, who have not yet engaged much with the dual-use problem in the life science community, are beginning to apply their expertise to these questions, and the early results suggest that easy answers are still lacking.

24 March 2009

Biotechnology's crossroads

Malcolm Dando

Starting in the early part of this millennium, scientists and analysts forecast that advances in biotechnology and the rush to develop biodefenses were likely to lead to the development of a range of new biological weapons that defenses wouldn't be able to keep up with. Nearly 10 years later, the likelihood of these trends has not diminished, yet it is not too late to discourage the hostile exploitation of biotechnology.

4 March 2009

The risks of the "pathogen research enterprise"

Malcolm Dando

In one of his wonderfully funny children's books, Richard Scarry turned the idea of the clever fox on its head with his foxy character Mr. Fixit. Mr. Fixit is the repairman from hell, who wrecks everything he is called upon to repair. Rather unkindly perhaps, it was Mr. Fixit who appeared in my mind when I first heard that earlier this month the U.S. Army had stopped work at its Fort Detrick biodefense laboratories until it carried out an audit of what materials were in the labs. In expanding its research to protect against a perceived increase in the threat of bioterrorism, had the U.S.

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