Modifying the Approach to Bilateral Cooperation

  • Establish a bilateral U.S.-Russian intergovernmental commission on the prevention and control of infectious diseases.

  • Complete the integration of former Soviet biodefense facilities that are no longer involved in defense activities into the civilian research and production infrastructure of the country.

  • Focus U.S. and other Western programs on establishing true partnerships in Russia.

• • •

Letter Report on the Threat Agent Detection and Response (TADR) System Database (2006)

Challenges

  1. The data collection and processing technology is complex.

  2. Three sets of reporting requirements should be integrated into a single system.

  3. Stable funding will be difficult to ensure.

  4. Recruitment, training, and retention of personnel capable of operating the TADR network will be a constant concern.

  5. Governments are already apprehensive over the possibility of U.S. control of all data.

  6. Full compliance in providing “all” required data to the General Data Repository (GDR) will be difficult.

  7. The selection of a location or locations for the GDR in the United States is critical.

  8. Review of large quantities of raw data transmitted to the GDR in the United States—starting from the initial report of a disease occurrence by a clinician through laboratory analyses of both suspected pathogens and human and animal tissue samples—would probably result in many false alarms.

  9. Effective integration of human and animal disease surveillance, reference diagnostics, and reporting activities will be difficult, both in the host countries and in the United States.

Significant Conclusions

Given the foregoing observations, we offer the following conclusions on three key aspects of the TADR network prior to turning to specific recommendations.

  1. The TADR network is well designed to support the U.S. government’s strategy for strengthening Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) compliance while also supporting the mission of the Department of Defense (DOD) more broadly.

  2. Sustainability of the TADR network after the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) completes its participation in the program is critical.

  3. An essential element of sustainability is the broadening of the focus of the network from the 16 agents, classes of agents, and diseases of primary interest to DOD for proliferation reasons.



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