"The advances in the weapons technology of the 20th century ensure the United States will achieve military dominance on the battlefields of today and tomorrow. Victories require people on the ground facing the enemy wherever the threat is present. These warriors must be protected from the endemic infectious disease threats as well as from the possibility of an intention release of a biological agent. The Department of Defense has a unique role in conducting research and development to produce vaccines against those threats that could serious hamper the global role of the military to defend this nation. The military vaccine program is facing untenable odds at maintaining its momentum while faced with severely unfunded programs and a lack of commitment from the Department of Defense to recognize this force protection imperative. When the United States was attacked on September 11, 2001, the focus of this nation changed forever. Homeland security became the number one priority. There was unprecedented national support directed at improving public health emergency preparedness specifically vaccines to protect this nation from a biological attack. Congress has allocated billions of dollars to pursue immediate advances in medical countermeasures, vaccine development, and drug availability. This has not translated into increasing the military research programs. The purpose of this paper is to examine the unique role of the Department of Defense in vaccine research and development and how the current emphasis on homeland security and public health emergency preparedness threatens the viability of this program. This paper will highlight the importance of the military vaccine program; identify its weaknesses and vulnerabilities and make recommendations to secure its vital role in protecting the U.S. military personnel both at home and abroad."
Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC): http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/