Author Biography

Mary D. Zalesny is a behavioral scientist whose research interests include counterterrorism, insider threat, and the application of behavior theory to understanding and modeling behavior of individuals and groups across various contexts.



Subject Area Keywords

Biological weapons, Chemical weapons, Nonstate actors, Political violence, Radicalization, Terrorism / counterterrorism, Violent extremism


This paper describes a conceptual model to identify and interrelate indicators of intent of non-state actors to use chemical or biological weapons. The model expands on earlier efforts to understand intent to use weapons of mass destruction by building upon well-researched theories of intent and behavior and focusing on a sub-set of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) to account for the distinct challenges of employing different types of WMD in violent acts. The conceptual model is presented as a first, critical step in developing a computational model for assessing the potential for groups to use chemical or biological weapons.