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The Biological Threat Reduction Program of the Department of Defense|From Foreign Assistance to Sustainable Partnerships
outbreaks, but also in spreading a culture of responsible behavior by researchers throughout the world. The involvement of key U.S. facilities and personnel in BTRP programs is a unique opportunity to achieve multiplier effects through other programs (see Chapter 5, page 72).
DOD should work through existing scientific networks and establish newmodels as appropriate to reinvigorate BTRP in Russia by supporting cost-sharedcollaborative research projects, scientific conferences, and other scientific activitiesthat promote both Russian and U.S. national security interests through engagementof outstanding established and young scientists in the two countries. To this end, a competitive grants program funded by BTRP that initially emphasizes collaborative projects sited in Russia and then expands to other countries should be considered.
The biological assets of Russia, a country spanning a large portion of the earth’s land mass, are too important not to include them in future BTRP activities, using well-established mechanisms for engagement that circumvent the need for formal agreements with recalcitrant Russian ministries. The benefits of engaging Russian scientists have been repeatedly demonstrated through BTRP and related programs and the challenge is to regain lost program momentum by using a variety of approaches to scientific engagement that are acceptable in Russia (see Chapter 5, page 74).
To improve program management, DOD/DTRA should ensure availability ofadequate internal technical staffing for BTRP and should recognize that while thereis a need for commercial integrating contractors for construction projects,assistance in management of research projects and related training programs can bemore appropriately provided by government, academic, or nonprofit organizations. Strengthened internal BTRP staff capabilities are essential to reduce the outsourcing to commercial contractors of contacts with important foreign participants and of key technical judgments about program directions and program results. Excessive outsourcing of activities to contractors has led to misunderstandings and has raised concerns within the United States and abroad over costs, quality, and U.S. motivations for BTRP (see Chapter 4, page 64 through 65).
Additional Priority Recommendations
The following six issues are directly related to the major recommendations set forth above, and they warrant priority attention for BTRP programming (page number is cited with each):
Collaborative development of a country science plan for each country whereBTRP has activities. The plan should provide a shared vision of the goals of the program and a framework for activities that reflect priority interests of partner governments as well as achievement of BTRP objectives (page 40).
Joint strategic planning for proposed national central reference laboratories(CRLs), which may cost $60 million each to build and equip. The laboratories should provide services of importance for improvement of public health and agriculture that are not only cost effective but also outweigh the possibility that the facilities might be misused due to unanticipated political developments in the region (page 40).