Defence and security forces take these threats to be continuous and are seeking robust and passive measures with companies to allow troops to operate safely and effectively in a CBRNE environment and protect human life and infrastructures.

Listed below are the key defence and security trends impacting the CBRNE Defence theme, as identified by GlobalData.

Interest of terrorist organisations to procure CBRNE materials

The prevalence of terrorism worldwide increases the risk that terrorist strategies will evolve from traditional methods, such as suicide attacks to biological, chemical, radioactive, and nuclear attacks, which are potentially much more dangerous. It is known that terrorist groups want to procure CBRNE materials and carry out sensational actions that will impact the world, especially in Europe and the USA. Emerging unmanned vehicle technology enables them to carry out multiple and simultaneous chemical and biological attacks at low costs and from a significant standoff distance.

In 2020, the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) and the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Center (UNCCT) of the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) launched a joint five-year initiative to produce a global threat study on non-state organisations to prevent access of them to CBRN materials and potential actions.

Chemical substances for political assassination

Several political assassinations have been executed for decades. For instance, Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny was poisoned with a Novichok nerve agent on 20 August 2020, and was hospitalised in serious condition. A former Russian spy Sergei V. Skripal and his daughter Yulia Skripal were attempted to be killed using a nerve agent in Salisbury, the UK, in March 2018. Kim Jong Nam, the outcast half-brother of North Korea’s leader, was poisoned amid crowds of travellers at Kuala Lumpur’s airport on 14 February 2017.

A former Russian intelligence agent, Alexander Litvinenko, was given tea laced with a fatal dose of polonium210 at a London hotel on 1 November 2006. Viktor Andriyovych Yushchenko, a Ukrainian presidential candidate, fell ill with a massive dioxin poisoning in September 2004 that kept him off the campaign trail for weeks and left him with a severe stain on his face.

This is an edited extract from the Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosives (CBRNE) Defense – Thematic Research report produced by GlobalData Thematic Research.