1
Security Context for the Biological Threat Reduction Program

For many years, leading scientists and security specialists throughout the United States and other countries have issued warnings about the threat of bioterrorism, including attacks that could kill tens of thousands of people or other attacks that could lead to widespread social and economic disruption. The U.S. and many other governments have mounted major programs to prevent and to defend against such attacks. The following recent incidents suggest that these warnings and preparations must be taken seriously:

  • Anthrax letters disseminated in the United States in 2001

  • Plans for bioterrorism set forth in documents recovered from al Qaeda training camps in 20011

  • The discovery of “makeshift ricin laboratories” in the Pankisi Gorge adjacent to Chechnya and a “do-it-yourself guidance sheet” on how to make ricin found in the possession of a killed Chechen insurgent in 20032

  • An investigation launched in 2007 by the Procurator’s office in Moscow of alleged unsuccessful efforts to attack a large suburban chicken marketplace by introducing chickens affected with avian influenza virus, which would cause the market to close and business to shift to a competing marketplace3

  • An attempted theft targeted at the pathogen collection at the central reference laboratory for animal health in Indonesia in May 2007 that was thwarted by security systems installed by the U.S. government4

As indicated in these examples, the infrastructure required to support a biological terrorism attack is strikingly smaller than the facilities and personnel resources that were developed to support biological warfare capabilities during the Cold War. Today, the international concern is not bomblets in missile warheads containing infectious viruses that could be released on impact. The focus is on more compact, but also devastating scenarios, such as the dissemination of a few grams of high quality anthrax spores in a major subway system or the introduction of the foot-and-mouth disease virus into a stockyard.

Dangerous biological agents are available in nature, and their potential use for malevolent purposes is increasingly understood by both our allies and our adversaries throughout the world. Intention on the part of a capable, but disgruntled scientist or

1

See http://archives.cnn.com/2001/WORLD/asiapcf/central/11/14/chemical.bio/index.html. Accessed on May 23, 2007.

2

Speech by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov at the Munich Conference on Security Policy, August 2, 2003. Available at http://www.securityconference.de/konferenzen/rede.php?id=104&sprache=en&. Accessed on May 30, 2007.

3

Comments made by Russian officials to visiting committee members and staff in March 2007.

4

Information provided by the U.S. Department of State in July 2007.



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The Biological Threat Reduction Program of the Department of Defense|From Foreign Assistance to Sustainable Partnerships 1 Security Context for the Biological Threat Reduction Program For many years, leading scientists and security specialists throughout the United States and other countries have issued warnings about the threat of bioterrorism, including attacks that could kill tens of thousands of people or other attacks that could lead to widespread social and economic disruption. The U.S. and many other governments have mounted major programs to prevent and to defend against such attacks. The following recent incidents suggest that these warnings and preparations must be taken seriously: Anthrax letters disseminated in the United States in 2001 Plans for bioterrorism set forth in documents recovered from al Qaeda training camps in 20011 The discovery of “makeshift ricin laboratories” in the Pankisi Gorge adjacent to Chechnya and a “do-it-yourself guidance sheet” on how to make ricin found in the possession of a killed Chechen insurgent in 20032 An investigation launched in 2007 by the Procurator’s office in Moscow of alleged unsuccessful efforts to attack a large suburban chicken marketplace by introducing chickens affected with avian influenza virus, which would cause the market to close and business to shift to a competing marketplace3 An attempted theft targeted at the pathogen collection at the central reference laboratory for animal health in Indonesia in May 2007 that was thwarted by security systems installed by the U.S. government4 As indicated in these examples, the infrastructure required to support a biological terrorism attack is strikingly smaller than the facilities and personnel resources that were developed to support biological warfare capabilities during the Cold War. Today, the international concern is not bomblets in missile warheads containing infectious viruses that could be released on impact. The focus is on more compact, but also devastating scenarios, such as the dissemination of a few grams of high quality anthrax spores in a major subway system or the introduction of the foot-and-mouth disease virus into a stockyard. Dangerous biological agents are available in nature, and their potential use for malevolent purposes is increasingly understood by both our allies and our adversaries throughout the world. Intention on the part of a capable, but disgruntled scientist or 1 See http://archives.cnn.com/2001/WORLD/asiapcf/central/11/14/chemical.bio/index.html. Accessed on May 23, 2007. 2 Speech by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov at the Munich Conference on Security Policy, August 2, 2003. Available at http://www.securityconference.de/konferenzen/rede.php?id=104&sprache=en&. Accessed on May 30, 2007. 3 Comments made by Russian officials to visiting committee members and staff in March 2007. 4 Information provided by the U.S. Department of State in July 2007.

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The Biological Threat Reduction Program of the Department of Defense|From Foreign Assistance to Sustainable Partnerships perhaps more likely a group of misguided scientists to use such knowledge and do harm is a critical concern. Early detection of intention is essential to reduce the likelihood of misuse or proliferation of dangerous biological assets. In short, security systems surrounding virulent pathogen collections are of course important but cannot alone hold potential terrorists at bay. Gaining insights as to intentions is just as important as efforts to constrain through physical barriers and security procedures access to collections of strains of dangerous pathogens. One way to understand—and perhaps even alter—nefarious intentions regarding the misuse of biological agents is through development of close personal working relationships between American and counterpart scientists abroad, which introduce considerable transparency into scientific activities. Also, international projects can improve our understanding of foreign environments that might attract irresponsible groups seeking to misuse biological assets. This chapter discusses important aspects of the security context for consideration of BTRP. It highlights scientific engagement promoted by BTRP and other programs as a promising avenue for understanding intentions. Historical Perspective of Developments in Russia During the Cold War, the Soviet Union and the United States, along with several U.S. allies, particularly the United Kingdom, developed large offensive biological warfare programs. The United States and its allies halted their efforts by 1969. The USSR continued its program until 1992, when President Boris Yeltsin declared that the development of biological weapons was illegal. The committee is unaware of any evidence that indicates continuation of illegal activities in Russia since that time, although others have lingering concerns. Fortunately, neither the United States nor the Soviet Union has used biological weapons. The Soviet program is reported to have involved 30,000 to 40,000 specialists working in up to 40 facilities, primarily in Russia. Many of the facilities were grouped under the umbrella organization Biopreparat. In addition, the Soviet program also obtained specialized scientific support from a number of internationally known civilian-oriented research institutes. Research activities were highly compartmentalized, both within and between institutions. Production facilities were also closely shielded. They were capable of producing annually hundreds of tons of biological materials for weapon filling, particularly anthrax.5 Shortly after President Yeltsin’s announcement, U.S. and British teams of specialists visited four Biopreparat facilities in Russia that were suspected of having supported weapons research and production activities. These visits were carried out within the framework of a Trilateral Agreement signed by the United States, United Kingdom, and Russian Federation. Following the visits and subsequent reciprocal visits to U.S. and British facilities by a Russian delegation of experts, negotiations began to lay the groundwork for additional visits to military facilities. However, the negotiations dragged on for months and eventually terminated without leading to such visits.6 5 See, for example, Mangold, T. and Goldberg, J. 2000. Plague Wars. New York: St. Martin’s Press, chapters 6 and 13. 6 Ibid, chapters 13, 15, and 17.

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The Biological Threat Reduction Program of the Department of Defense|From Foreign Assistance to Sustainable Partnerships Meanwhile in 1991, Senators Sam Nunn and Richard Lugar co-authored legislation to establish the Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) Program within the Department of Defense (DOD).7 This program encompassed nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. The objectives of the program were to (1) dismantle Soviet weapons of mass destruction and associated infrastructures, (2) consolidate and secure Soviet weapons of mass destruction and related technology and materials, (3) increase transparency and encourage higher standards of conduct, and (4) support defense and military cooperation, with the objective of preventing proliferation.8 With regard to biological weapons, these objectives have been pursued through BTRP and its predecessor programs. In parallel, other U.S. government departments and agencies have also undertaken related programs that have been authorized in other congressional mandates. At the outset of bilateral engagement during the 1990s, it was more difficult for DOD to engage Russian counterparts in addressing biological problems than nuclear and chemical issues. The inherent dual-use nature of facilities, equipment, and personnel capabilities inhibited effective interactions between former adversaries. Also, there had not been an offensive biological weapons program in the United States for more than 20 years, and the redirection of biological activities in Russia to match the reoriented U.S. activities was slow and difficult to carry out in a country with a weak pharmaceutical sector. In particular, adjusting former Soviet defense activities to meet Russian regulatory requirements for the development of vaccines, drugs, and diagnostics—the most likely products that would come from redirected activities in the biological weapons sector—was inhibited by a tradition of secrecy and exemption of defense activities from civilian oversight. In time, leaders of Biopreparat facilities and some of their Russian partners within the civilian sector became interested in cooperative activities with American counterparts. In 1994, the International Science and Technology Center in Moscow began to support projects at these facilities involving American collaborators. Soon thereafter, other governments became interested in cooperation with Russian organizations. Direct contacts between DOD and organizations affiliated with the Russian Ministry of Defense have been limited, however. Specialists from the Military Medical Academy and the Military Microbiology Laboratory, both in St. Petersburg, have occasionally attended workshops and related consultations supported by the U.S. government. Also, in recent years a number of newly retired military specialists who had been affiliated with Ministry of Defense organizations have participated in BTRP projects. But the primary Russian military research laboratories have not shown interest in engagement: for example, laboratories in Sergiev Posad, Yekaterinburg, and Kirov. As previously noted and as will be discussed at greater length in Chapters 2 and 3, several U.S. departments and agencies have developed collaborative projects that have been involving former Soviet weapon scientists for more than a decade. Almost all of these programs began with the goal of stemming proliferation of expertise and materials. The initial focus was on keeping former weapon scientists in Russia occupied with non-threatening research. Soon, increased emphasis was placed on supporting projects that were truly of international scientific interest and on facilitating commercialization of the 7 The Soviet Nuclear Threat Reduction Act of 1991 (Title II of Pub. L. 102-228). 8 See http://www.dtra.mil/oe/ctr/index.cfm. Accessed on August 22, 2007.

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The Biological Threat Reduction Program of the Department of Defense|From Foreign Assistance to Sustainable Partnerships results of applied research. The importance of the programs for retaining the scientific workforce in Russia is highlighted in Box 1-1. The goal is now more broadly defined to encompass activities that promote the biological sciences, public health, and agriculture protection on a far-reaching basis as discussed throughout this report. BOX 1-1 Importance of Cooperative Programs “U.S. programs have provided critical support for thousands of Russian scientists who otherwise would have left the research system of the country, and particularly young scientists.” Senior Russian research manager, March 2007. An important milestone for BTRP was the 1997 report of the National Research Council (NRC) Controlling Dangerous Pathogens: A Blueprint for U.S.-Russian Cooperation. The report established the rationale and the framework for eight pilot projects in Russia that became the beginning stage of BTRP. Since that time, a great deal of transparency has been introduced at facilities of the former Soviet weapons program through collaborative projects. More than a dozen key laboratories and production facilities of the Biopreparat complex that participated in BTRP are now largely open and redirected to peaceful purposes. Also, many strain collections at Biopreparat and related facilities have been physically secured, andbiosafety/biosecurityprograms have been upgraded through BTRP. Education and awareness training concerning good laboratory practices, good manufacturing practices, animal welfare, and research ethics have facilitated the development of a culture of greater responsibility within the facilities. Some activities have been carried out in partnership with large American pharmaceutical companies. “Accountability” of biological assets is replacing “control” as an important objective. But, as noted above, key research institutes affiliated with the Ministry of Defense that carry out both classified and unclassified activities remain closed to foreign visitors. In 2005, a second NRC report, Biological Science and Biotechnology in Russia: Controlling Diseases and Enhancing Security, underscored the importance of the evolution of a stronger, more flexible public health system in Russia. This system should be increasingly integrated into global networks as the country responds to endemic and emerging diseases. Enhanced capabilities could contribute to a significant reduction of vaccine-preventable and drug-curable infections in both humans and animals in Russia. The 2005 report sets forth four key themes, or pillars, for countering infectious diseases in Russia. They are (1) improving surveillance and response, (2) meeting pathogen research challenges, (3) realizing the promise of biotechnology, and (4) strengthening the human resource base. The report also strongly supports the cross-cutting theme of international cooperation. All the while, providing assurance of compliance of states with international agreements that are designed to limit biological activities has been an important goal of the U.S. and other governments. However, even with intrusive inspections and with a continued laboratory presence at selected facilities by external observers, obtaining

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The Biological Threat Reduction Program of the Department of Defense|From Foreign Assistance to Sustainable Partnerships complete assurance of compliance is not possible. Too many facilities, too much equipment, and too many specialists have dual-use capabilities. As for biological terrorism, the laboratory requirements and the devices that are assembled may be small and easily hidden. With the use of such devices, common infectious or contagious agents such as influenza viruses could be introduced by terrorists with limited scientific training into crowded facilities without great difficulty. At the same time, Russian scientists are increasingly trying to succeed in the domestic and world markets for human and veterinary pharmaceuticals, medical devices, human and animal food products, cosmetics, and other consumer goods. There are regulatory issues, facility issues, personnel training issues, and enormous market barriers. Breaking into U.S. or Western European markets is still, for most, a distant dream. Russian markets have been limited, but with improving economic conditions there now seem to be more opportunities. Development of international private sector partnerships is becoming more realistic than in the past. If they develop, such partnerships could help improve overall intergovernmental relations while contributing to pharmaceutical and biotechnology advancements in the United States and Russia. Also of importance, Russian government funding for basic biomedical research, while limited, is slowly increasing. The Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology has established several competitive grants programs that support research on infectious diseases as well as on other topics. The Russian Academy of Sciences, despite harsh criticism by the government for failure to use its resources wisely, contends that it has retained its status as a strong advocate of increased funding for research.9 Overall, collaborative efforts have contributed significantly to upgrading biological research and biotechnology development in Russia and to building scientist-to-scientist relationships across the oceans. Ideas are regularly exchanged, electronically and face-to-face. Collaborations in fundamental and applied science are increasing, and many collaborators have become long-term friends. Scientist-to-scientist programs are addressing “intent” as a normal aspect of cooperation. But patience is needed, as intent is influenced one scientist at a time through BTRP and other international engagement programs. Since BTRP is the largest program in this field, it plays a particularly critical role in addressing the issue of intent. However, until greater international confidence at both the political and technical levels is developed that Russia no longer is interested in an offensive biological weapons capability, cooperative efforts will have their detractors in Washington and other international capitals. Remnants of the Soviet Biological Weapons Program in Other Former Soviet States While the largest portion of the Soviet biological weapons complex was located on the territory of Russia, a number of important components were located in other states of the former Soviet Union (FSU) as well. Of course, these scattered facilities operated under strict control of Moscow. In some cases, leaders of these facilities were sent there from Russia, but much of the leadership was entrusted to local specialists. Since the collapse of the USSR in 1991, many facilities have retained strong although eroding capabilities of relevance both to biological weapons and to broader 9 Discussions by project staff and committee members with senior officials of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, March 2007.

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The Biological Threat Reduction Program of the Department of Defense|From Foreign Assistance to Sustainable Partnerships public health, agriculture, and biotechnology interests. Some of the scientific leaders from the Soviet era have retired or have been replaced by younger managers. Those who are still at the facilities are approaching retirement age. Several important biological weapons facilities were located in Central Asia. A large anthrax production plant and an associated research institute were established in Stepnogorsk, Kazakhstan. An anthrax weapons storage and testing site was located on Vozrozhdeniye Island, which is now geographically divided between Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. In Kazakhstan and in a number of other regions, a network of anti-plague stations had been established that provided support for research on locally occurring disease agents that were considered relevant to developing biological weapons as well as being of local public health interest. These stations are still operating with civilian-oriented research and surveillance agendas.10 In addition, a number of civilian-oriented biological research institutes throughout the USSR carried out special biological research projects under contract with the Soviet Ministry of Defense, and most if not all of these institutes are believed to have also redirected such efforts to peaceful pursuits. With the splintering of the Soviet Union into 15 independent states, U.S. government access to non-Russian facilities where research related to biological weapons was carried out has usually been possible. As economic conditions deteriorated, most institutions were eager to accept U.S. financial support to help restore their scientific laboratories and to provide paychecks for highly skilled specialists. Indeed, assistance through BTRP and other U.S. programs has been important in helping to stabilize conditions at some of these facilities. While specialists at many facilities maintain long-standing ties with Russian institutions, they increasingly look westward for international connections and financial support (see Box 1-2). Ensuring that the United States is a preferred partner is important, particularly in maintaining the transparency that developed during the initial stages of BTRP. BOX 1-2 Reach of BTRP “Eight percent of the biology researchers of the country are engaged in BTRP activities.” Deputy Minister of Health, Republic of Georgia, March 2007. A special concern is that local dual-use capabilities that are upgraded as a result of BTRP activities not be used in the future for malevolent purposes. This issue is addressed in Chapter 5 with regard to new Biosafety Level 3 facilities, but it is a much broader issue. Of course, hostile groups could hone their dual-use skills on their own or in cooperation with unconcerned international partners regardless of the policies of the U.S. 10 Ben Ouagrham-Gormley, S., A. Melikishvili, and R.A. Zilinskas. 2006. The Soviet anti-plague system: an introduction. Critical Reviews of Microbiology 31:1. Available on-line at http://cns.miis.edu/research/antiplague/index.htm. Accessed on May 23, 2007.

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The Biological Threat Reduction Program of the Department of Defense|From Foreign Assistance to Sustainable Partnerships government. In any event, long-term engagement that builds transparency and shared values as to appropriate use of biological assets on a broad basis is the best means to prevent abuse of capabilities. In the geographical areas where BTRP has been active, the risks of adverse consequences from upgraded capabilities are outweighed by the benefits of sustained efforts to responsibly address infectious diseases, in the judgment of the committee. As discussed below, the economic conditions in all of the countries of the former Soviet Union have been poor. Only recently have several countries with oil and gas resources begun to achieve significant economic progress. Laboratories with outdated experimental equipment are commonplace throughout the region. An absence of young biological investigators is noticeable almost everywhere. Research results seem to have little impact on international science or on economic development. In short, the scientific infrastructures in all of the countries need upgrading.11 Biological Risk in Other Countries of Concern While this study did not address in depth facilities outside the FSU, committee members are aware of poor security conditions at some facilities in other regions of the world that handle dangerous pathogens. Their impressions concerning the lack of adequate security at facilities throughout South Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America are consistent with reports to the committee by U.S. government specialists who have visited a number of the facilities. In short, rudimentary security precautions are lacking at many facilities as the revolution in biological research and biotechnology spreads worldwide. Some vulnerable facilities are located in developing countries in Africa and Southeast Asia where reports suggest that there are safe havens for terrorist cells. As one example of the countries’ concern, the 2007 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Convention on Counter Terrorism provides a political umbrella for collaborative efforts to address biological terrorism. ASEAN has entered into a number of agreements with member states and other interested parties directed to countering biological terrorism threats along with other types of threats.12 As U.S. companies expand their outreach into these countries, the opportunities for U.S. leadership in promoting responsible use of biological assets should increase. Security Implications of Changing Economic Conditions Depressed economic conditions have been an important consideration in BTRP’s decisions to carry out programs not only in Russia but also in Central Asia and the Caucasus region. Following the collapse of the economies in all of the states of the FSU during the early 1990s, which was intensified during the financial crisis of 1998, the 11 See, for example, National Research Council Committee on Science and Technology in Kazakhstan. 2007. Science and Technology in Kazakhstan: Current Status and Future Prospects. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press. Chapters 3 and 4. Available on-line at http://books.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=11808. Accessed June 13, 2007. 12 Yong, O.K. 2005. ASEAN’s contribution to regional efforts in counterterrorism. Speech delivered at the National Security Australia Conference, Sydney, February 21, 2005. Available on-line at http://www.aseansec.org/17274.htm. Accessed on May 30, 2007.

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The Biological Threat Reduction Program of the Department of Defense|From Foreign Assistance to Sustainable Partnerships governments of the region greatly reduced expenditures to support health, agriculture, and scientific activities as a part of across-the-board budget reductions. Inadequate security conditions at facilities housing pathogens and equipment with dual-use applications became a serious concern. Also, important biological specialists became desperate in their search for economic relief as their paychecks became less dependable and lost their purchasing power. Easy access by terrorist groups to biological agents with potent characteristics was a major concern as BTRP’s predecessor programs began providing funds that helped stabilize conditions at some critical facilities. From the outset, BTRP recognized that stabilization involves not only protection of physical assets but also engagement of scientists with important dual-use skills who are eager to become part of the international scientific community. With the advent of dramatically higher prices for exports of oil in the early 2000s, several oil-rich countries of the region—Russia, Kazakhstan, and Azerbaijan—provided higher levels of funding for upgrading research and development infrastructures. In each of these countries, government budgets for disease-related activities, along with budgets for other government-supported activities, increased. Also, in Russia the private sector began to invest in biotechnology and became interested in partnerships with a few former defense facilities and with civilian institutions. Nevertheless, serious security deficiencies remain in many facilities where dangerous pathogens are used or stored. Thus, national security considerations for international scientific engagement remain strong even as the economies slowly recover. But the level of external funding that is required to upgrade facilities in some countries, given more favorable economic conditions, is declining (see, for example, Box 1-3). Appropriate divisions of costs with partner institutions for strengthening infrastructures are becoming more significant. BOX 1-3 Importance of Continuing Contact “We are now just as interested in maintaining contacts with American specialists as in financial support from the United States. Interactions of specialists are very important in staying abreast of developments in the field and in sustaining research efforts initiated through BTRP.” Director of former Biopreparat Institute in Russia. May, 2006. There are other countries with dual-use biological assets within and outside the region that are not in a favorable economic status, including Georgia, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. Depressed economic conditions should remain an important consideration in targeting activities to prevent proliferation. Of course, the long-term strategy in any country should be to encourage the partner government to find finances from diversified sources to sustain efforts initiated by BTRP. But for the next few years, depressed economic conditions will remain an important inhibition on locally financed biosecurity upgrades and improved environments for scientific work forces with important dual-use capabilities. Even in a more prosperous Russia, the time needed to modernize dozens of

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The Biological Threat Reduction Program of the Department of Defense|From Foreign Assistance to Sustainable Partnerships important facilities and to reorient many institutions to self-sustainability is a number of years into the future. Facilities of Special Interest BTRP has given considerable attention to the selection of facilities that should be of program interest based on on-the-ground assessments of the risks if biological assets at the facilities are obtained by irresponsible governments, terrorist groups, or hostile individuals. One approach has involved assessments of (1) hazards that would result from theft and misuse of the most potent biological pathogens at the facility, (2) potential importance to terrorist groups of the dual-used equipment that is maintained at the facility, and (3) scientific expertise and technical information at the facility that are relevant to biological weapons. Then the physical security and biosafety/biosecurity practices at the facility are considered. At the same time, insider threats are probably more important than outsider threats. A particularly important concern is the prevalence of criminal and terrorist-related activity in the geographical area where the facility is located.13 This analytical approach is clearly important when considering security in a narrow sense. However, when addressing biosecurity in a comprehensive manner, which is the thrust of this report, many other factors are important. For example, the role that the facility plays in the public health or veterinary system of the country is a crucial consideration. In particular, the responsibilities and capabilities of the facility to conduct research and surveillance activities that are essential in detecting and responding to disease outbreaks are significant. Of course, the selection of facilities that should receive priority attention for cooperative activities should and will be greatly influenced by the views of partner governments, which will have their own criteria for establishing priorities. In any event, considerable care should be given to the selection of organizations, facilities, and specialists. The selection should be based not only on the current conditions and responsibilities of the facilities. Selection should also be based on plans of partner governments for future development of the public health and agriculture infrastructures of the countries. (See Box 1-4 for two views of the importance of local participation in selection of facilities of special interest.) 13 See, for example, Pilch, R.F. 2006. Building the Babylon tower: Biological weapons proliferation prevention in Russia. Photocopy, provided by DTRA, April 2007.

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The Biological Threat Reduction Program of the Department of Defense|From Foreign Assistance to Sustainable Partnerships BOX 1-4 Selection of Facilities for Upgrading “We have been involved in every step of the development of BTRP activities in our country, including the selection of facilities of interest and modifications of those facilities.” Azerbaijani institute director, March 2007. • • • “We have provided our new Biotechnology Center with $50 million to become the national focal point for biological research and development related to the prevention of diseases, including coordination of international cooperative programs.” Deputy Minister of Education and Science, Kazakhstan, September 2006. Benefits from International Scientific Engagement In looking ahead, the challenge is to balance the costs and benefits of activities to enhance and sustain biosecurity that are being considered for support by the U.S. government in general and by BTRP in particular. Short-term financial costs of planned activities can be predicted with some degree of certainty, but the political costs—measured in terms of the risk that upgraded capabilities might be misused—may be substantial. Meanwhile, some of the most important benefits discussed below are diffuse and can only be judged in a very general sense. Benefits may be realized many years into the future. They may not even be recognizable at present. For example, interactions with political leaders that usually characterize high profile biological engagement activities may set an important tone for subsequent national and international dialogues on the prevention of proliferation of biological weapons. Also, cooperative activities usually build good will among important segments of societies, particularly if they enable partner countries to use high-technology achievements (see, for example, Box 1-5). BOX 1-5 Use of High-Tech Achievements “Through BTRP, we are mapping plague and brucellosis infections with the assistance of the Global Positioning Satellite system.” Senior Uzbek scientist, March 2007. Often, it is not possible to separate the impact of BTRP from impacts of other overlapping U.S. government and international programs. In some cases, the international relationships developed by other U.S. departments have been critical in setting the stage for BTRP activities. A few of the types of impacts of interest are as follows:

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The Biological Threat Reduction Program of the Department of Defense|From Foreign Assistance to Sustainable Partnerships Reducing the likelihood that irresponsible governments, terrorist groups, or embittered individuals will gain access to materials or expertise that could be used in constructing biological weapons. Among the steps that can be taken are dismantling facilities that produced materials for use in biological weapons; monitoring international and national commerce of such materials; upgrading physical security at institutions that house such materials; enacting national and facility security regulations that call for severe penalties for breaches of security; supporting redirection of research activities from military to peaceful applications; and instilling norms and codes of responsible scientific behavior at the international, national, and institutional levels. Improving capabilities of countries to detect and to respond to naturally occurring and deliberately triggered outbreaks of diseases. Achieving this objective can be enhanced by establishing modern disease detection, surveillance, and information systems; improving capabilities to respond to disease outbreaks; and establishing biological forensic capabilities. Improving capabilities to counter threats of biological terrorism will also enhance public health and animal disease prevention and control programs in dealing with naturally occurring diseases. Building confidence among nations that dual-use activities are not intended to support illegitimate activities. Transparency is a key factor in this regard. The greater the engagement, the greater the confidence-building through transparency and the attendant insights as to intentions. Enhancing the security of American military and civilian assets abroad. Given the repeated anti-American pronouncements of terrorist groups throughout the world, early warning of disease outbreaks ascertained through cooperative activities and through activities of other governments that were initiated through cooperation can contribute to strengthened security of American military and civilian facilities abroad. Containing the spread of infectious diseases. Public health and agriculture infrastructures of partner governments that are strengthened through cooperative programs can help contain infectious diseases at the international, national, and local levels through early detection and appropriate response measures. Global efforts to contain Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and avian influenza are good examples of how capabilities of other countries have contributed to the protection of American interests at home and abroad. Contributing to international science and to global biotechnology capabilities. Partner institutions often have unique technical capabilities that can contribute directly and indirectly to scientific and technical advances that are of considerable interest to the United States. Inexpensive diagnostic techniques, improved understanding of various strains of disease agents of concern such as anthrax, and better formulations for vaccines and drugs have already been realized from BTRP efforts. Also, cooperative programs may identify appropriate sites for testing vaccine and drug formulations in disease-endemic areas. Box 1-6 highlights important achievements by the U.S. government. These and other achievements that demonstrate the benefits identified above are set forth in Chapter 2. They support the case that, given the dual-use nature of many activities in the biological sciences and in biotechnology, a comprehensive approach to engagement can have many security benefits for the United States.

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The Biological Threat Reduction Program of the Department of Defense|From Foreign Assistance to Sustainable Partnerships BOX 1-6 Importance of DOD Programs “The last decade has opened many doors in the former Soviet Union. The U.S. government’s footprint is large and DOD’s is the largest in the region. The U.S. government has done much good in supporting science, improving scientific methods in the region, providing a wide breadth of training, improving communication networks from telephones and computers to high-speed Internet access and subscriptions to international journals. Yet there is much to be done…. The threat of dual-use technologies and bioweapons expertise is still present in the region.” Former manager of a U.S. government biological nonproliferation program, July 2007.