of the facility. Without a long-term funding commitment that is sufficient to maintain the level and quality of NBAF operations and that can sustain planned mitigation strategies, the findings presented in the uSSRA are not assured.
Not all deviations from the planning assumptions would significantly alter risk. If the uSSRA had included a careful sensitivity analysis based on alternative assumptions and if the deviations had been captured in such a sensitivity analysis, the uSSRA might still be applicable. The uSSRA provided to the committee contains no such sensitivity analysis. The uSSRA has limitations in its applicability, and these limitations are not clearly stated in the uSSRA. Absent a thorough sensitivity analysis, the applicability of the uSSRA under alternative operational conditions cannot be ascertained.
It is important to note that research, diagnostic, and mitigation capabilities envisioned for the NBAF are critical for protecting the nation against known threat agents along with emerging and unknown disease threats. The present committee echoes the conclusions of previous NRC committees that the United States needs the capacity to support critical research and diagnostic programs for the study of foreign animal diseases and zoonotic diseases that are directly linked to securing the health and wealth of the nation.
As required by P.L. 112-10, the committee was instructed to judge the adequacy and validity of the uSSRA. The committee has identified serious concerns about (1) the misapplication of methods used to assess risk, (2) the failure to make clear whether and how the evidence used to support risk assessment assumptions had been thoroughly reviewed and adequately evaluated, (3) the limited breadth of literature cited and the misinterpretation of some of the significant supporting literature, (4) the failure to explain the criteria used to select assumptions when supporting literature is conflicting, (5) the failure to consider important risk pathways, and (6) the inadequate treatment of uncertainty. Those deficiencies are not equally problematic, but they occur with sufficient frequency to raise doubts about the adequacy and validity of the risk results presented. In most instances (e.g., operational activities at the NBAF), the identified problems lead to an underestimation of risk; in other instances (e.g., catastrophic natural hazards), the risks may be overestimated. As a result, the committee concludes that the uSSRA is technically inadequate in critical respects and is an insufficient basis on which to judge the risks associated with the proposed NBAF in Manhattan, Kansas.