Bioterrorism policy reform and implementation in the United States: The impact of the 2001 anthrax attacks

Cieplak, Mary Victoria (2013). Bioterrorism policy reform and implementation in the United States: The impact of the 2001 anthrax attacks. University of Birmingham. M.Res.

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The 2001 anthrax attacks on the United States (U.S.) Congress and U.S. media outlets showed the world that a new form of terror has emerged in our modern society. Prior to 2001, bioterrorism and biological warfare had brief mentions in history books, however, since the 2001 anthrax attacks, a new type of security has been a major priority for the U.S. Now that over a decade has passed, it is appropriate to take a closer look at the impact this act of bioterrorism had on the U.S. government’s formation and implementation of new policies and procedures.

Bioterrorism is considered a low impact, high probability form of terrorism, which causes political fear due to the ambiguity surrounding the threat. Due to the American system of pork barrel politics, lobbyists with a financial hold over politicians, and political and media exaggeration, it was equally inevitable that the US government’s response would be overblown. With the assistance of various academics and experts, this thesis will argue that while most of the initial preventative and responsive policies were necessary to enhance and modernize security and defensive measures against acts of bioterrorism, the ultimately overblown financial response to the US anthrax attacks has had a potentially bigger impact beyond budgetary matters; by taking away resources from public health programs, this has potentially left Americans less safe from threats (flu outbreak, etc) with a higher probability of occurring than bioterrorism. This overreaction led to significant overfunding to the field of biological research and may have caused a new era of insecurity on various fronts, including an imbalance of priorities for the public health system.

Type of Work: Thesis (Masters by Research > M.Res.)
Award Type: Masters by Research > M.Res.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: American and Canadian Studies
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: E History America > E151 United States (General)
J Political Science > JK Political institutions (United States)


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