Weapons of mass destruction represent the category of non-conventional weapons that, if used, can seriously affect the health of people or living things in the environment, cause the death of a large number of people and cause unimaginable material damage. The category of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) includes biological or bacteriological weapons, chemical, nuclear and radiological weapons.
The destructive capacity of these weapons is very high, which makes them attractive to both state actors and non-state actors (terrorist organizations). The effects of a WMD attack are unpredictable, the areas that will be affected are hard to define, the losses are hard to estimate.
State actors' interest in weapons of mass destruction stems from governments' desire to benefit from increased security. States possessing such weapons, especially nuclear weapons, have the guarantee that another state actor will not resort to an attack on them because of the high possibility of a full-scale conflict breaking out. Such a conflict situation can degenerate into a war, in which the nuclear weapon will be used, which obviously leads to the scenario of mutual assured destruction. The growth of regional or global power, influence and prestige is another reason why some states have not given up and continue to make significant technological advances in the sector of manufacturing weapons of mass destruction.
In the 21st century, weapons of mass destruction have become attractive to a number of non-state actors, especially terrorist organizations, but also radical entities with far-right or left-wing political views, which through guerrilla actions, sabotage, subversion and insurgency seeks to overthrow governments and establish its own political-social order. Non-state actors who destabilize security at the local, national or regional level may also be concerned with obtaining, through various methods, weapons of mass destruction, with the help of which they can create a state of insecurity, panic and unrest among the authorities, among the civilian population, but also of the institutions empowered by law to protect the population. Also,
The acquisition of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) by non-state entities can be achieved through the capture of such weapons (chemical artillery shells, large-caliber projectiles with tactical nuclear munitions, radiological bombs, microbial toxin ampoules or grenades). , a process that can be favored by inadequate security measures of some state actors, possessing weapons of mass destruction, measures that create security gaps, which can be exploited by non-state entities, which through corrupt intermediaries, (politicians, high-ranking commanders within the armed forces, heads/commanders of security structures), can come into possession of these weapons.
The radiological weapon is not an option for the armed forces of a state, but it can be a major danger once it comes into the possession of terrorist groups. Research into weapons of mass destruction does not consider radiological weaponry because it is difficult to produce and the effects are not strong enough. WMD laboratories, which produce devices for the militaries of states, focus primarily on chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.
Within modern militaries, organized, trained and equipped to deal with Fourth Generation Warfare, there are CBRN Defense (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear) subunits and units that conduct CBRN reconnaissance missions , as well as missions to decontamination of combat equipment and the military. Within the large tactical level units (brigades, divisions) there are CBRN Defense platoons, companies and/or battalions, and at the level of large operational level units (army corps) there may be independent battalions or regiments for NBC Defense.
On the battlefield, the use of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) can lead to a sense of insecurity and terror among combatant forces, who must quickly move to the application of protection and defense procedures.
Combatant units are forced to wear protective equipment to ensure their resistance to contamination caused by such weapons. Military equipment can be heavily contaminated, which poses an increased risk to the safety and health of military personnel. In the militaries of developed countries, considerable sums are invested in the acquisition and manufacture of armor resistant to attacks by weapons of mass destruction. Thus, state-of-the-art tanks, infantry fighting vehicles (AFVs) and armored personnel carriers (APCs) offer increased safety to the soldiers inside them. Within combat units (mechanized or motorized infantry) and maneuver brigades there must be subunits trained and prepared for intervention in the event of an attack with weapons of mass destruction. These CBRN defense subunits, at group, platoon and/or company level, must have the technique and technology necessary to carry out in optimal conditions the activities of decontamination of military personnel and equipment of the armed forces. The military are the first to be subjected to decontamination actions, followed by the process of decontamination of combat equipment.
At the level of CBRN defense units there are CBRN research subunits, as well as structures specialized in the analysis and prediction of CBRN events, which are tasked with outlining the consequences of a possible attack with weapons of mass destruction, the direction and speed of movement of of a radioactive cloud in the area of action of the troops.
An attack with weapons of mass destruction will require a rethinking of strategies and tactics, as the ability of combat units to react is diminished or even halted by the high degree of contamination of the area. Affecting the civilian population will increase the feeling of insecurity and will lead to the need to carry out actions to save and protect civilians. Civilians, due to the fact that they do not have a protective mask and adequate equipment, can be contaminated extremely easily, resulting in numerous victims, as well as seriously ill people. Paralyzing the medical system at the zonal or regional level is a negative consequence of the attack with weapons of mass destruction for the target nation. Contamination of the environment, of extended areas, even areas outside the outbreaks of combat, it will cause the reduction of economic activities in the respective areas, for a period that is difficult to estimate, because the decontamination of the entire area is a difficult and arduous process, which, unfortunately, can offer only a partial result. The spread of toxic agents and radiation towards urban agglomerations will contribute to stopping all economic activities and instilling a high level of terror among the civilian population.
In carrying out any military action, the possibility of the existence of risks and threats of a chemical, biological, nuclear and radiological nature is taken into account. In order to correctly establish the level of CBRN risk and threat in a given area of operations, the CBRN capabilities of the possible enemy are analyzed, which are grouped into defense/defensive capabilities and offensive/attack capabilities. It is also taken into account the knowledge of the adversary's intentions regarding the possibility of using, at a given time and in a certain space, some offensive capabilities of a CBRN nature, which may determine the limitation, for a short or long period of time, of the movement and reaction capacity of own military units, the interruption of some military operations, as well as the contamination of a geographical area.
Weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) constitute a class of unconventional weaponry with the potential to eliminate large numbers of people. WMDs include chemical, biological, and radiological agents. The effects of the weapons of mass destruction are unpredictable, cannot be contained, either temporally or spatially. Also, these weapons are highly disruptive of ecosystems. In modern Armed Forces, organized, trained and equipped to deal with the Fourth Generation Warfare (4GW), there are military subunits and units of CBRN Defense (chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear), which carry out CBRN research missions, as well as missions to decontaminate military equipment and areas affected by a WMD attack. These weapons can affect both parties to the conflict and non-combatant actors.