Types of Weapons of Mass Destruction

There are five main kinds of weapons of mass destruction. We use the acronym B–NICE to describe them. They are…

  • B – Biological
  • N – Nuclear
  • I – Incendiary
  • C – Chemical
  • E – Explosive

A Biological Agent – A biological agent is something that makes you sick and spreads easily. They are intentionally induced mass diseases. Examples are bacteria, viruses, and various toxins.

Nuclear Terrorism – Nuclear terrorism can occur in several ways, from a threat or actual deployment of a nuclear bomb to spreading radioactive material, which is the toxic byproduct of a nuclear reaction.

Incendiary Device – An incendiary device is any mechanical, electrical, or chemical device purposely used to start a fire. A chemical agent can injure or kill by being inhaled into your lungs by breathing, by being swallowed, or through skin contact. Some examples are those that affect the nervous system, those that cause skin damage, and those that prevent your blood from absorbing oxygen.

Explosives – An explosive, commonly known as a bomb, is probably the best known device, and also the most frequently used. Bombs of every kind can cause damage, from the initial force of the explosion, from shrapnel, and from the danger of falling objects. The different weapons show their effects in different timelines. An explosion, of course, has an immediate effect on people, and a fire or the release of nuclear materials will have an effect within a few minutes.

Chemicals – Chemicals will also affect human beings very quickly, usually within an hour. On the other hand, bacteria or other biological agents will take more than a few days before people start showing symptoms of illness.

The Following will be a review of different types of weapons:


  • Cheap, easy to make and easily available
  • Hard to detect in the victim population
  • Great psychological damage and fear
  • It takes a long time for effects to show up
  • It may hurt the terrorists as well
  • People will get sick, but perhaps not many will die
  • They may not get much sympathy for their cause
  • Anthrax, Botulism toxins, Cholera, Plague, Smallpox


  • Devastating effects
  • Great psychological impact
  • Escalates an attack to all–out war
  • Heavy
  • Expensive (hundreds of millions of dollars)
  • Very difficult to make and to deploy
  • Death by nuclear explosion
  • Radiation burns
  • Radiological poisoning
  • Long–term effects such as cancers


  • Easy to make from home-made materials
  • Ignite about 75% of the time
  • Fire is very frightening
  • Unless accompanied by the effect of a bombing, the victim population knows how to deal with fire
  • The terrorist may destroy more property than lives
  • Trigger methods can be chemical, electronic, or mechanical
  • Delivery methods can be stationary, hand-thrown, or self-propelled


  • Cheap, easy to make and easily available
  • Has an immediate effect
  • Great psychological damage (fear)
  • Need to have a lot to have a mass effect
  • Dangerous to produce and deploy for the terrorist
  • Mustard, Cyanide, Chlorine, Sarin


  • Dramatic
  • Low risk
  • Easy to execute remote attacks
  • May damage both the intended group and innocent bystanders, such as babies
  • Not simple to make the attack covert
  • Over 70% of domestic terrorist incidents involve explosives
  • Pipe bombs, Vehicle bombs, Suicide bombs