Federation of American Scientists Case Studies in Dual Use Biological Research Module 3.0: Aerosol Delivery Case Study
Topic: Discussion Subtopic: Issues and Implications

 

Managing the dual-use dilemma requires the involvement of life scientists. It can be argued that scientists not only have a moral obligation to prevent the misapplication of their findings, they are also in the best position to understand the potential of biological research for misuse. What remains an open question is what individual scientists and the scientific community as a whole should or can do. Scientists can act as the early warning systems for potential dual-use concerns, as they have the technical expertise to call attention to possible dangers within their research disciplines.

Since science and technology -specifically biomedical research, advance so rapidly, any static, bureaucratic-based oversight can be quickly rendered both meaningless and ineffective. Furthermore, as government moves to manage the dual-use issue, the danger of hampering scientific advances increases. As noted by John J. Hamre, Director of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, if scientists do not take the lead on managing dual-use science, government policymakers will step in with "blanket restrictions in science, not knowing what’s sensitive and what’s not sensitive... For precious little security, we would have devastating effects for the conduct of science."

 

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