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Terrorism: It can be defined as a malicious attempt to disrupt economic well-being, undermine peoples’ confidence, and/or destroy public health and safety by means of violence and/or threats to commit acts of violence.

Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) : These are agents and devices used by terrorists with an intent to cause large scale destruction, and/or to inflict incapacitation, serious injury, and/or death to many people.

There are five categories of WMDs (weapons of mass destruction) used by terrorists.    C-BRNE: 5 Categories of WMDs


Toxic substances classified by their effect on human health, which include nerve agents, blistering agents, blood agents, choking agents, and irritating agents.


Naturally-occurring, living organisms harmful to humans, plants and animals. Includes bacteria, viruses, fungi, and toxins. Most cost-effective WMD for terrorists to produce.


Radioactive substances; high-energy particles or gamma rays emitted by an atom undergoing radioactive decay.


Release of nuclear energy caused by atomic nuclei reactions of nuclei with neutron and other nuclei


Devices that cause immediate massive destruction from blast and/or heat; may also be used as a means to disperse chemical, biological, or radiological agents.


Agroterrorism: When any person knowingly or maliciously uses biological or chemical agents as weapons against the agriculture industry and food supply or the malicious use of plant or animal pathogens to cause disease in the agricultural sector – plants or animals.

Two weapons categories

1. Disease-causing organisms such as bacteria, viruses and prions

2. Toxic substances produced by or from living organisms such as bacterial toxins, fungi and molds, plant extracts and animal toxins

Objective of Agroterrorist’s

ü  Attack our food supply and create Shortages

ü  Cause us to fear, to lose faith and confidence

ü  An indirect form of attack and aggression

Why do agroterrorists seek certain pests or diseases to use as anti-crop agents?

Terrorists look for these characteristics:

ü  Ease of production

ü  Ease of dissemination

ü  Low infective dose

ü  Short incubation period

ü  Difficult to diagnose  in early stages

ü  High infectivity

ü  Short life cycle

ü  Stability in the environment

ü  Lack of availability of cost-effective treatments

ü  Absence of genetic resistance

Prevention and Response

1.      Office of Bio and Food Security Preparedness

2.      Office of Agricultural Law Enforcement

    • Helping protect  against the spread of “citrus greening”
    • Guarding against“mad cow” disease (bovine spongiform encephalitis)

3.      Domestic Security

    • Prepare first responders;
    • Improve information, intelligence and technology capability;
    • Enhance public health capacity and bio-terrorism defenses.
    4.      NPDN: National Plant Diagnostic Network

Writer :: Sudharani      Published on :: 12-Apr-2024

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