U.S. Biodefense & Homeland Security: Toward Detection & Attribution
NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL MONTEREY CA
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American leaders face tough decisions about the role of biodefense in homeland security. Debate centers on U.S. preparedness for biological attack, but few if any have adequately defined preparedness. This thesis defines bioterrorism preparedness in terms of detection and attribution. Through case studies of the 1984 Rajneeshee cult and 2001 U.S. anthrax attacks, the thesis develops a notional model of biodefense that shows that nature of attack and the lethality or type of agent influence outbreak detection and biological weapons attribution. Because public health surveillance facilitates detection and interagency coordination facilitates attribution, there is a need to re-balance U.S. biodefense priorities by easing emphasis on current programs, and redirecting resources to simpler improvements in communication and organizational efficiency. Core limitations of the public health system that impede surveillance are discussed, and barriers between public health and law enforcement officials that hamper coordination are examined. Recommendations are provided to improve detection through better surveillance, and to enable attribution through better coordination and information sharing.
- Civil Defense
- Chemical, Biological and Radiological Warfare