some cases, programs should include specialists who have never had any connection to biological weapons programs.
Projects that link a strong foreign institute in the lead working with one or more secondary institutes help create networks and provide project mentoring for less experienced institutes. Networking was not a strength of the scientific community within the former Soviet Union. In security-related areas in particular, institutes were deliberately separated. However, in the modern world of science, networking is essential. While it has become commonplace for strong institutes to reach out to international partners, much greater effort is needed by these institutes to work with other institutions locally to help strengthen the overall infrastructure of the countries, and BTRP should support such activities.
High-level leadership within participating U.S departments and agencies is essential. Ensuring biosecurity requires a long-term commitment that will only be sustained if the leadership within the participating departments and agencies recognizes the importance of global engagement and gives nonproliferation activity a high priority. One reason for the high degree of effectiveness of the USDA efforts stems from the strong support it has received at senior levels. The result has been a strong integration of the program into the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) infrastructure with the program designed to have clear benefit to USDA and ARS. It does not detract from, but indeed supports, the domestic mission while serving a broad nonproliferation mission.
High-level international support is also critical. A “cooperative” approach is an essential aspect of threat reduction. Without the active support of the government or governments on whose territory projects are carried out, lasting impact is unlikely. For these programs to have significant nonproliferation benefit, they must be sustainable into the future. With improving economic profiles in some countries, particularly Russia, the host government must in time assume the burden for sustaining activity into the future, and particularly a commitment to appropriate levels of training, certification, and standards. The goal of the U.S government should be to establish long-term self-sustaining collaborations in biotechnology and the health and agriculture sciences.
In summary, the growing contributions of the life sciences to improving the lives of people throughout the world together with the relative ease of developing biological materials that can cause immeasurable harm and disruption to these same populations are strong reasons for the U.S. government to accord a high priority to promoting appropriate use of dual-use biological technologies. The responsibility and capability for achieving this objective are shared by a number of U.S. government departments and agencies. These departments have good track records in using nonproliferation funds to direct biological assets of countries in political transitions to useful scientific endeavors. Partner governments, private firms, charitable foundations, research institutes, and universities have resources of critical importance as well. BTRP is by far the largest U.S. government engagement program dedicated to countering international biological terrorism that could impact on the United States; therefore this program is especially well suited to catalyze and leverage the vast, high-quality educational, scientific, and entrepreneurial resources of the nation in the struggle with bioterrorism.