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Red Teaming the Chemical Weapons Threat Landscape 

The risk of chemical warfare (CW) has increased in recent years. The Homeland Security Enterprise (HSE) has a need to identify state and non-state actors likely to pursue the development of CW as well determining the factors that identify the use of CW. These factors include the states overall strategic orientation to CW, the types of CW agents likely to be pursued and the other activities that would accompany CW development


The objective of this research is to investigate the extent to which strategic decision-making influences countries that currently do not possess a robust chemical weapons (CW) program. The research team will conduct a systematic examination of relevant dynamics surrounding CW using robust and replicative red teaming exercises. The detailed data captured will explore the decision elements that might precipitate changes in current strategic CW perceptions and identify early warnings of nations and groups pursuing CW weapons and the type and timing of those activities. The project will also indicate if any identified tactics may be replicated, across multiple countries and regions.


The project will provide DHS with a preliminary threat assessment and help identify early indicators for countries most likely to pursue CW capabilities. The research will also give a strategic overview of the future landscape of new non-traditional CW activity and identify countries behind these potential threats.

Research Leadership Team 

Principal Investigator: Gary Ackerman, University at Albany – State University of New York
Co-PI: Brandon Behlendorf, University at Albany – State University of New York
Co-PI: Douglas Clifford, University at Albany – State University of New York

Homeland security risk sciences


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