Oversight of Dual-Use Biological Research: The National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity [Updated April 27, 2007] [open pdf - 130KB]
"Policymakers have addressed the threat of biological weapons and biosecurity issues for many years. An issue garnering increased attention is the potential for life sciences research intended to enhance scientific understanding and public health to generate results that could be misused to advance biological weapon effectiveness. Such research has been called 'dual-use' research because of its applicability to both biological countermeasures and biological weapons. […] The success of the NSABB [National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity] in addressing federal concerns related to biodefense and biosecurity may influence congressional action. Absent an existing, effective mechanism to address potentially controversial issues raised by federally funded dual-use research, policymakers could act to establish an oversight mechanism through legislation. Should the NSABB be successful in linking the scientific and security communities and developing guidelines for effective scientific selfoversight, the board could evolve into a forum that policymakers may use to consider the intersections of science and security. Whether the tools available to the federal government are adequate to assess and control security risks from federally funded research or if additional authorities may ultimately need to be developed is yet to be determined. This report will be updated as events warrant."
CRS Report for Congress, RL33342
U.S. Department of State, Foreign Press Center: http://www.fpc.state.gov/