cannot now be provided through existing science and technology (S&T) but might be available in the future, given longer-term research and possibly more innovative funding and organizational approaches. The chapter focuses on research needs related to both human and agricultural health. Many of the recommendations apply equally to both areas while others are specific to one area or the other. In general, recommendations focus on R&D goals or organizational goals. The chapter concludes with recommendations about education and information dissemination, strengthening the public health and agriculture infrastructures, and organizing the research and development effort through improved policies, new funding models, and public–private partnerships.
A comprehensive approach to coping with bioterrorism must incorporate efforts to prevent the proliferation of biological weapons; methods for detecting covert biological weapons programs; strategies for deterring their use if biological weapons do proliferate; and mechanisms for protecting civilian and military populations if deterrence fails. The emphasis in this multitiered approach should be on defense, simply because the proliferation of biological weapons is difficult to control (biotechnology equipment and expertise are now available globally), covert biological weapons programs (e.g., those of the former Soviet Union and Iraq) are difficult to detect, and deterrence will likely be less effective against suicidal terrorist groups than against states. Consequently, in addition to improving intelligence and information management, the S&T community should be focused on improving defenses against biological weapons. The means to do so include environmental detection of biological agents together with preclinical, clinical, and agricultural surveillance and diagnosis.
Increased awareness in the S&T community could reduce the inadvertent spread of knowledge that may aid terrorists, although there is a fine balance that must be achieved so as to not quash legitimate exchange of scientific information. Voluntary international and national efforts to share biotechnology information could improve security and safety in the handling, storage, and transport of sensitive biological material and equipment. Information technology could help monitor international trafficking in biotechnology products.
Detection of covert programs will involve technical intelligence (e.g., remote sensing and environmental sampling) as well as human intelligence, which has special importance because it can distinguish the benevolent use of biotechnology from the malevolent. Understanding intent in the area of biotechnology, which requires familiarity with S&T culture, processes, and procedures, is an expertise that scientists and technologists can offer the intelligence community.