33 Australian nanotechnology scientists recently attended a 4 day workshop to explore opportunities for collaboration with the US military. Friends of the Earth have raised concerns that the collaboration could contribute to a nano arms race, making the world a much less safe place.

Dr Gregory Crocetti from Friends of the Earth Nanotechnology Project said “This is an obvious move by the United States to extend its military dominance into the Asia-Pacific region.”

“The US is understood to be making the world’s largest investment in military applications of nanotechnology – accounting for as much as 90% of global nano-military R&D. Why are Australian nanotechnology researchers getting into bed with the biggest war machine on the planet?”

“The US Government spends hundreds of millions of dollars each year on military nanotechnology R&D, with applications including explosives, surveillance and lasers. However, since most of the research is classified it is not clear exactly what research is going on.”

A 2005 NATO report raised concerns that nanotechnology will permit chemical and biological warfare to become more feasible and effective, proliferation easier and that arms races are to be expected.

“The world is still coming to terms with the risks of nuclear weapons, yet now we have a new generation of dangerous nano weaponry that may be impossible to control.”