. "4 Overcoming Obstacles Confronting the Biological Threat Reduction Program." The Biological Threat Reduction Program of the Department of Defense: From Foreign Assistance to Sustainable Partnerships. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2007.
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The Biological Threat Reduction Program of the Department of Defense|From Foreign Assistance to Sustainable Partnerships
in research engagement activities but instead simply remaining on the sidelines and speculating as to what may be taking place in facilities where research on dangerous pathogens is carried out.
As for Russia, approaches to collaborative research are set forth in Chapter 5. They should circumvent the reluctance of the ministries responsible for defense and health activities to become directly engaged with DOD. Such approaches should recognize that the objectives of cooperation conceived in the 1990s need a new emphasis. Box 4-1 presents an official Russian view in this regard. Sustainability of research groups is of course a key concern. Commercialization programs are an important approach to this end, but other strategies for long-term support of basic research also deserve high priority.
From Redirection to Sustainability in Russia
“The job of redirecting former weapon scientists to peaceful pursuits is completed, and new cooperative efforts should focus on sustainability and commercialization strategies.”
Russian government spokesman, March 2007.
Support of BTRP research activities by the U.S. scientific, public health, and agriculture communities, and indeed the international communities, is also important. To this end, BTRP needs to demonstrate easily discernible benefits to the advancement of science, to the health of people, and to the availability of agricultural resources. Of course, BTRP should continue to emphasize the benefits in enhancing security in accordance with its legislative mandate. While small segments of the international and American scientific communities have a general awareness of BTRP activities, greater outreach efforts by BTRP to the scientific community within the United States are increasingly important as the program increases the number of countries and international scientists that are included in its activities.
BTRP will only be successful if it has strong and sustained support over many years from partner governments, from their implementing ministries and institutions, and from the scientists in these countries. While most partner governments have been attracted to BTRP, at least in part, by access to a new source of financial support through the program, the economic situation in several of these countries is improving, as discussed in Chapter 1. To remain attractive to these governments, financial aspects should now be accompanied by perceptions that BTRP gives high priority to supporting local scientific, health, and agriculture priorities while enhancing security (see, for example, Box 4-2).