DOE Exercise to Determine the Potential Impact of a Legally Binding BTWC Regime on DOE Sites [open pdf - 1MB]
The Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) prohibits the stockpiling of biological materials in types or quantities not justifiable for protective, prophylactic, or other peaceful purposes. The parties to the Convention are discussing details of a legally binding regime for the BTWC, which will go beyond existing confidence building measures. The scope of this regime is unresolved, but may include a series of on-site measures designed, to varying degrees, to help enhance compliance with the BTWC. The Department of Energy Office of Nonproliferation and National Security (DOE/NN) planned and executed a mock BTWC inspection exercise at DOE, contractor and subcontractor laboratories in order to determine the potential impact of a legally binding regime for the BTWC on DOE biotechnology assets. Activities at DOE national laboratories related to refocusing missions and developing new markets has led to an increase in the number of complex arrangements with other government agencies, academia and the private sector. These complex arrangements can potentially increase the vulnerability of not only DOE assets, which are considerable, but those of partner institutions as well. The mock inspection was designed to test those vulnerabilities, and to examine several measures and issues that resulted from the Verification Experts (VEREX) process. The facilities participating in the mock inspection were the Inhalation Toxicology Research Institute (ITRI), the University of New Mexico (UNM) Department of Microbiology, and the Explosive Components Facility (ECF) at Sandia National Laboratories (SNL).