OTHER MAJOR ISSUES FOR CTR IN THE FUTURE
Scope of the CTR Mission
It is beyond the scope of this study to say what is in or outside of the CTR mission. Some authorizers and appropriators questioned whether CBEP is in fact a defense mission. Fundamentally, whether DoD should be the agency to carry out the CBEP mission is only secondarily a metrics question. The primary question is whether the U.S. Government wishes to prioritize the work done under CBEP and what mix of government agencies is best equipped to carry it out. The increases in budget and scope to date, as well as the National Strategy for Countering Biological Threats, indicate that CBEP is a growing priority to the Administration, and DoD’s involvement reflects a conscious choice to use DoD because of its experience establishing on-going cooperative medical and bioresearch ventures (e.g., NAMRU-3 in Cairo and NAMRU-6 in Lima), conducting biodefense research, and working on threat reduction. Critics may dispute the decision to support the mission, to give DoD responsibility for the mission, or to give Defense Threat Reduction Agency responsibility for implementation, and they can legitimately point out that difficulties in developing reliable direct metrics, for the program’s impact and effectiveness raise the programmatic risks of the program, but mixing these issues with questions about the metrics themselves confuses matters and makes it more difficult to make progress in the program and in the debate about the program.
Finally, defining and measuring completion— how do we know when we are done?— and sustainability— will the changes take hold and will the partner nation support and sustain the programs when U.S. funding stops?—are critically important for the CTR programs, particularly the capacity building programs. What these mean and how they should be implemented and measured for a given program should be part of the formulation of objectives. There is a mismatch in the vision of sustainability and measuring completion of the program among different CTR decision makers in the Administration and on Capitol Hill. One vision might be called a project view, in which DoD partners with a nation, engages in a set of concrete activities with a well defined beginning and end, and then DoD exits and monitors sustainment after project completion. The other main vision might be called a relationship view, in which DoD partners with a nation, works with the partner to build a joint or multilateral network that is exercised regularly to maintain an on-going relationship with no defined end date. These visions appear mutually exclusive, but there are different phases to capacity building programs: the initial phase may involve intensive efforts and capital expenditures. There should be schedules and milestones for completion of this phase. The long-term relationship that follows may be open ended, but it also should require far less funding, which should allay concerns about programs with no exit strategy.