Infectious Disease and National Security: Strategic Information Needs   [open pdf - 749KB]

"The global community has suffered recently from newly emerged infectious diseases, including HIV/AIDS and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), and from reemerging diseases once thought to be in decline. Additionally, it is increasingly recognized that infectious disease can pose a significant threat to U.S. and world security. To best understand and mitigate this threat, U.S. policymakers require adequate and timely information about the occurrence of infectious disease worldwide. The Advanced Systems and Concepts Office of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency asked the RAND Corporation to examine infectious diseases within the context of national security and assess the need for and the adequacy of such information among U.S. policymakers. The primary objectives of this study were to assess the availability of information concerning global infectious disease threats and to determine the suitability and use of such information to support U.S. policymaking in preventing or otherwise responding to such threats. During the study, we conducted literature and document reviews, surveyed the current state of available information systems related to infectious disease, and interviewed 53 senior policymakers and staff from agencies across the federal government and from selected outside organizations. Our findings are summarized below. Approximately a quarter of all deaths in the world today are due to infectious diseases. In decades and centuries past, an outbreak of infectious disease was often limited to the locale in which it occurred. However, the pace of global travel, migration, and commerce has increased dramatically in recent decades, and that increase poses an increased global risk of disease."

2006 RAND Corporation.
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