process, a government Working Group, created by an Executive Order (EO) issued by President George W. Bush, delivered its assessment to the President in July 2009. The Homeland Security Council staff requested additional input from the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) and the National Research Council (NRC).1 This NRC report considers the efficacy of regulations, procedures, and oversight that have been instituted to safeguard the public and national security against the deliberate use of BSAT and addresses both physical security and personnel reliability. The committee was also asked to consider the impact of biosecurity policies and regulations on the ability of the scientific community to conduct BSAT research.2


In considering its task, the committee developed a set of principles that should guide how research with biological select agents and toxins should be viewed and conducted. These principles also provide the lens through which the committee addressed the specific concerns of laboratory security and personnel reliability.

  1. Research on biological select agents and toxins is essential to the national interest.

  2. Research with biological select agents and toxins introduces potential security and safety concerns.

  3. The Select Agent Program should focus on those biological agents and toxins that might be used as biothreat agents.

  4. Policies and practices for work with biological select agents and toxins should promote both science and security.

  5. Not all laboratories and not all agents are the same.

  6. Misuse of biological materials is taboo in every scientific community.


Personnel Reliability

For those concerned about the security of laboratories conducting BSAT research, personnel issues are among the most difficult and controversial.


The leadership of the National Interagency Biodefense Campus was also involved in requesting this study, which was conducted through a contract with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.


See Box 1-2 for the full statement of task.


The numbering of recommendations follows the order in the Executive Summary.

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