Biosurveillance: Ongoing Challenges and Future Considerations for DHS Biosurveillance Efforts, Statement of Chris Currie, Director, Homeland Security and Justice, Testimony Before the Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Communications, Committee on Homeland Security, House of Representatives [open pdf - 238KB]
"The potential threat of a naturally occurring pandemic or a terrorist attack with a biological weapon of mass destruction underscores the importance of a national biosurveillance capability--that is, the ability to detect biological events of national significance to provide early warning and information to guide public health and emergency response. The Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007 addresses this capability, in part by creating NBIC. The center was tasked with integrating information from human health, animal, plant, food, and environmental monitoring systems across the federal government, to improve the likelihood of identifying a biological event at an earlier stage. Similarly, DHS's BioWatch program aims to provide early indication of an aerosolized biological weapon attack. GAO [Government Accountability Office] has published a series of reports on biosurveillance efforts spanning more than a decade. This statement describes progress and challenges GAO has reported in DHS's implementation of NBIC [National Biosurveillance Integration Center] and BioWatch and considerations for the future of biosurveillance efforts at DHS. This testimony is based on previous GAO reports issued from December 2009 through September 2015 related to biosurveillance. To conduct our prior work, we reviewed relevant presidential directives, laws, policies, and strategic plans; and interviewed federal, state, and industry officials, among others. We also analyzed key program documents, including test plans, test results, and modeling studies."
Government Accountability Office: http://www.gao.gov/