National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility: Issues for Congress [Updated September 10, 2007] [open pdf - 179KB]
"The agricultural and food infrastructure of the United States is potentially susceptible to terrorist attack using biological pathogens. In addition to the impacts of such an attack on the economy, some animal diseases could potentially be transmitted to humans. (These diseases are known as zoonotic diseases.) Scientific and medical research on plant and animal diseases may lead to the discovery and development of new diagnostics and countermeasures, reducing the risk and impact of a successful terrorist attack. To safeguard the United States against animal disease, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) engages in foreign animal disease research at the Plum Island Animal Disease Center (PIADC). With the formation of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in 2003, the PIADC facility was transferred from USDA to DHS, though USDA continues its research program at the facility. The DHS has identified the PIADC facility as too old and limited to continue to be the primary facility performing this research. Homeland Security Presidential Directive 9 tasks the Secretaries of Agriculture and Homeland Security to develop a plan to provide safe, secure, and state-of-the-art agriculture biocontainment laboratories for research and development of diagnostic capabilities and medical countermeasures for foreign animal and zoonotic diseases. To meet these obligations, DHS has announced plans to construct a new facility, the National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF). […] The final construction costs would depend on the site location and actual construction time lines, but are projected to exceed $460 million."
CRS Report for Congress, RL34160