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The Biological Threat Reduction Program of the Department of Defense|From Foreign Assistance to Sustainable Partnerships
Summarized below are recommendations for building on BTRP’s successful contributions in preventing the proliferation of biological weapons. For the purposes of this report, biological weapons are defined as any biological materials that, if deliberately misused, could cause significant harm to human health or agricultural resources.
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Recommendation 1: The U.S. government should provide strong and sustained supportfor BTRP and related programs.
Within the former Soviet Union, BTRP activities have strengthened the containment of biological materials, technologies, equipment, and expertise that, if misused, could result in serious biological threats. Specific changes in the region that can be attributed at least in part to BTRP have included the following:
Unprecedented transparency at dozens of important facilities with dual-use capabilities that had not previously been open to foreign specialists
Dismantlement and/or conversion of production and research facilities established to support biological weapons activities, including transformation to civilian activities of more than a dozen important components of the weapons-oriented Biopreparat complex
Redirection to civilian pursuits of hundreds of senior biological scientists, engineers, and technicians who were formerly engaged in defense programs
Attraction and retention of hundreds of younger specialists working in basic sciences and in the fields of public health and agriculture
Adoption by local institutions of standard international approaches to project management and to fiscal accountability
Participation in scientific conferences and training programs abroad by specialists from the region who had not previously traveled abroad
Increased publication by local scientists in peer-reviewed international journals of research findings, which demonstrate their capabilities to participate effectively in international scientific activities
Enhanced quality of local research projects and technology transfer activities that have taken advantage of the experience and expertise of international collaborators
Improved biosecurity and biosafety at biological research institutions, particularly with regard to consolidation and physical protection of dangerous pathogen strains
Opening and sharing of local databases with international collaborators
Construction and equipping of modern research, public health, and agriculture facilities where activities of interest to international partners are carried out
Development of local regulations and related training programs concerning the safety and security of biological materials and good laboratory practices
The foregoing and other results of engagement activities supported by BTRP and related programs have led to the establishment of continuing international linkages based on friendships and common professional interests. These personal contacts help build mutual