Definitions - Weapons of Mass Destruction

Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) was first coined in the 1990’s and is generally considered to involve Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and High Yield Explosives (CBRNE). Historically, WMD was sometimes abbreviated NBC which suggested mainly consideration of nuclear, biological and chemical components excluding high yield explosives and those involving radiation (dirty bombs). This module will utilize the full CBRNE definition to impart the importance of the current definition and to serve as a reminder of the predilection of terrorists for explosive weapons.

While these weapons fortunately are low probability events for a community or region their high consequence impact, including both actual injuries/deaths and psychological side effects create surge capacity stresses on the local emergency personnel, healthcare providers and infrastructure.


  1. Immense lethality
  2. Portability
  3. Accessibility
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