National Bio-and Agro-Defense Facility: Issues for Congress [Updated May 19, 2008] [open pdf - 152KB]
This CRS report talks about "The National Bio-and Agro-Defense Facility [NABF]," this is a facility being built by the Department of Homeland Security [DHS] and it would be a place where "scientific and medical research on plant and animal diseases" could be done. Also, this research "may lead to the discovery and development of new diagnostic and countermeasures, reducing the risk of a successful terrorist attack." More specifically, "this report outlines current progress towards establishment of the NBAF, presents current and projected funding levels and timelines, and describes policy issues of potential interest to Congress, such as agency coordination, possession of viruses, construction timelines, disposition of PIADC [Plum Island Animal Disease Center], and community safety concerns." The report also provides the following background information in regards to the program: "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 […] To safeguard the United States against animal disease, Congress has appropriated funds to the U.S. Department of Agriculture [USDA] to engage in research at the Plum Island Animal Disease Center [PIADC], off the coast of New York, on animal diseases not native to the United States. When creating the Department of Homeland Security [DHS] in 2003, Congress transferred the PIADC facility from USDA to DHS. Both USDA and DHS, in cooperation with USDA, conduct foreign animal disease research at PIADC, but PIADC has been identified as outdated and too limited to continue as the primary facility for this research."
CRS Report for Congress, RL34160