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The National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility: Issues for Congress

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Congressional rept.

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To safeguard the United States against the introduction of non-native animal disease, Congress has appropriated funds to the U.S. Department of Agriculture USDA. Some of this work is performed at the Plum Island Animal Disease Center PIADC, located off the coast of New York. Congress created the Department of Homeland Security DHS in 2003 and transferred ownership and operation of PIADC from USDA to DHS. The USDA and DHS cooperate to conduct foreign animal disease research at PIADC, but they have identified PIADC as outdated and too limited to continue as the primary facility for this research. Homeland Security Presidential Directive 9, issued by President G.W. Bush, tasks the Secretaries of Agriculture and Homeland Security to develop a plan to provide safe, secure, and state-of-the-art agriculture biocontainment laboratories for research and development of diagnostic capabilities and medical countermeasures for foreign animal and zoonotic diseases. To partially meet these obligations, DHS has requested Congress appropriate funds to construct a new facility, the National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility NBAF. This facility would house high-biocontainment laboratories able to hold the pathogens currently under investigation at PIADC, as well as other pathogens of interest. The DHS has selected Manhattan, Kansas, as the NBAF site and plans to open the facility in 2015. The DHS estimates the final, total facility construction cost as 725 million, significantly exceeding earlier projections. Additional expenses, such as equipping the new facility, relocating existing personnel and programs, and preparing the PIADC facility for disposition, are expected to add 190 million. The DHS plans regarding the NBAF raise several policy issues. Concerns about safety and security, previously expressed about PIADC and other laboratories being built to study dangerous pathogens, are also being voiced about NBAF. Coordination between DHS and USDA, as well as prioritization an

Subject Categories:

  • Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Medicine
  • Test Facilities, Equipment and Methods
  • Civil Defense
  • Chemical, Biological and Radiological Warfare

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