There is no doubt that biotechnology innovation is essential, and military improvements are a natural progression of advancing technology and research. But the return of great power competition invites the creation of arms races in new frontiers, biotechnology included. If individual actors are left to make assumptions about the potential dual-use capabilities of an adversary’s biotechnology research, they will have to assume the worst. A consensus approach to the growing dangers associated with biotechnology could provide the necessary fodder to unite states for a shared commitment to transparency. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us the potential for a biological incident to upend global stability, and the implications are sobering. States just might have their common ground.
Marigny is a research associate at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s Center for Global Security Research. Her research focuses on the intersection of biological weapons proliferation, counterterrorism, and arms control. She is also a Brumley Next Generation Fellow at the Robert Strauss Center for International Security and Law, and a master’s candidate at the LBJ School of Public Affairs. Disclaimer: This work was performed under the auspices of the United States Department of Energy by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory under Contract DE-AC52-07NA27344. The views and opinions of authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the United States government or Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC. LLNL-JRNL-814541.