Speaking Data to Power

Report

Science, Technology, and Health Expertise in the National Biological Security Policy Process

Following the terrorist events of September 11, 2001 and the subsequent anthrax assaults, policymakers and the public found themselves confronted with the suddenly evident threat of biological terrorism and warnings of a sadly eroded public health infrastructure almost simultaneously. The US Congress and the Executive branch have responded with dramatically increased funding and a raft of laws, regulations, directives, and new programs for biological defense and security. Despite this evidence of current political will, the public health, bioscience, intelligence, law enforcement, and security communities still face many challenges in working together to develop a long-term, effective commitment to preventing the proliferation and use of biological weapons. These diverse communities must develop a shared vocabulary as well as a seamless strategy; their success will rely heavily on the integration of appropriate STH expertise at every level of biological security policy development and implementation. This report attempts to identify strategies for, and obstacles to, successfully completing this task.