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Understanding Weapons of Mass Destruction and Executive Order 12938

Define Weapons of Mass Destruction


The Department of Homeland Security was developed as a way to provide security for the people of the United States through boarder security via water, air, and ground.  The department also have measures in place to protect the people from weapons of mass destruction.  With that being said, people find it hard to fully understand what is actually defined as weapons of mass destruction.  Executive Order 12938 provide the United States with guidelines to protect the country against weapons of mass destruction and identify likes and differences between alpha and beta particles and how to protect yourself against them, how the United States plan to run  its weapons of mass destruction counter proliferation efforts, and where does the major threat of weapons of mass destruction come from in regards the United States.

Define Weapons of Mass Destruction

From the outside looking in, a lot of people does not have a full understanding in regards to what weapons of mass destruction.  Some may feel that every explosion which has taken place involve weapons of mass destruction which not the fact because, the weapon is defined as any type of explosive, incendiary, and/or poison gas device that has the ability to release radiation or radioactivity at dangerous level or has the potential to carry disease organism.  Weapons of mass destruction displays the intent to cause death or serious bodily through its release, dissemination or impact from toxic or poisonous chemicals, or precursors (FBI).  Based on information gathered by the Department of Homeland Security it depicts weapons of mass destruction being any nuclear, radiological, chemical, biological, or other device that is intended to harm a large number of people (DHS).  Protection against weapons of mass destruction is completely outlined by President William Clinton in Executive Order 12938.

Executive Order 12938

From the information gathered it was determined that the Executive Order 12938 set forward by President Clinton in 1994, declaring a state of emergency resulting from the proliferation of biological, nuclear, and chemical weapons.  President Clinton in 1994 declared a state of national emergency as a result of the proliferation of biological, nuclear, and chemical weapons.  The executive order is a set of guidelines to help with preventing the importing of technologies, or services created or the circulation by immigrants who the Secretary of State decides needs a ban due to their weapons of mass destruction activities (WMDC).

As a consequence of the sanctions mentioned above, no department or agency of the United States Government is allowed enter any contract or agreement with such foreigners. The foreign persons described in the sanction are not authorized to import goods to the United States.  However, such prohibition has to be imposed by The Secretary of the Treasury to be valid.  It is unknown whether the described foreign persons are not allowed to import goods without a special rule of the Secretary of Treasury.  However, there is evidence that supports the claim that the Secretary of Treasury is likely to react in case the foreign person attempts to import such goods (WMDC).  There is still the way for such people to omit the ban providing that they ceased all activities mentioned by the sanction.  Also, the use of sanction can be eliminated if the Secretary of the Treasury or The Secretary of State decides that the contract with the party is essential “to meet U.S. military operational requirements.” Apart from that, the contracts are not permitted (WMDC).  Weapons of mass destruction can come forms of radiation through very small particles known as alpha and beta and how to protect yourself against these forms of radiation.

Executive Order 12938

Compare and Contrast

When looking into the similarities and differences between alpha particle, radiation and beta particle, radiation the definition most first be understood.  With that being said let’s start by defining beta particle, radiation has some of the same properties as electrons, are discharged through natural materials.  This type of radiation takes place during medical applications.  With that being said, beta particles are lighter than alpha particles, and they generally have a stronger ability to pass throw other material (U.S. NRC).  The Department of Energy (DOE) defines alpha particle, radiation as an ionization process as atoms consisting of comparatively large particles (protons and neutrons) sitting in a central nucleus, orbited by smaller particles (electrons); basically, a miniature solar system (Department of Energy).  Both radiation forms are made up electrons, has the ability to have long-term effects on the body if over expose.  The differences between the two is when it comes to alpha particle, radiation, it is a very slow-moving particle of radiation that would not have the ability to past throw a sheet of paper but on the other hand, beta particle, radiation has a little more pep in its step cutting throw paper like a knife but has a hard time with lead and aluminum products.

Weapons of Mass Destruction Counter Proliferation Efforts

The weapons of mass destruction counter proliferation efforts are pushed forward by three resources as a way to strengthen and regenerate a more multi-lateral supportive method, re-introducing the want for a collective responsibility between all the governments for maximizing peace by the disarming and providing a vision of the world to reduce threats produced by weapons of mass destruction. The best ways to help with proliferation efforts is through verification, compliance, and execution.  The ability to lower the threat of weapons of mass destruction may require different type of similar and/or supporting methods in the business of arms control, disarmament, non-proliferation and anti-terrorism, throughout all levels by way of unilateral, bilateral, regional plurilateral and global (Ackerman).  With that being said, there three resources that could assist with counter proliferation to combat weapons of mass destruction by way of strengthening the non-proliferation to combat WMD proliferation and manage the consequences.  The (NPT) Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, (CWT) Chemical Weapons Convention and the (BWC) Biological Weapons Convention all was put into action as a way to help in the effort to combat weapons of mass destruction.  These was done as a way to attempt to stop the spread of nuclear weapons, another bans the purchasing and the retaining of nuclear weapons and one bans the production, mass storage, handover and use of chemical weapons. “Counter-proliferation bounds the terrorist threat by reducing the vulnerability of US forces, allied military units and even civilian populations to terrorist attack” (Wirtz).

The Conclusion

When it comes to weapons of mass destruction the United States’ threat is most based on homegrown terrorism through the use of chemical weaponry.  The reason for this is based the fact the materials to produce the weapon system can be purchased in the everyday hardware store.  The information provided has given a full breakdown on weapons of mass destruction from definition and how the United States plans to protects it safe against the weapon system. 

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