Understanding Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosives (CBRNE) defense policies is critical in promoting safety to civilian and military personnel in the United States and globally. This thesis first examines a few of the most significant CBRNE policies in history, their place in the world today, and how their creation has impacted society. Utilizing two canonical policy making models– the “linear model” and the “policy stream model”– a range of case studies are analyzed to examine how decision-making behind CBRNE policy compares with other comparable policy domains, particularly non-CBRNE biotechnology innovation. The likelihood of proactivity and the potential influence of foreign affairs across cases were assessed. The results of these studies suggest that, compared with non-CBRNE biotechnology policies, CBRNE policies in the United States are similarly likely to be driven by foreign events (approximately half the time in the cases examined), but they were slightly more likely to be reacting to external events rather than proactively addressing possible risks (43% of CBRNE cases examined were proactive, compared to 50% of biotechnology cases). These suggestive patterns merit further research to test whether they hold over a wider scope of cases.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Military policy--History; Biological warfare--History; Biological warfare (International law)--History; Chemical warfare--History; Chemical warfare (International law)--History; United States--Military policy--History

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Science, Technology and Public Policy (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

Public Policy (CLA)


Nathan R. Lee

Advisor/Committee Member

Ray Dongryul Kim

Advisor/Committee Member

Cami Goldwitz


RIT – Main Campus

Plan Codes