Saturday, September 09, 2006

Milton Leitenberg's Recommendations

Yesterday I posted the conclusions of Milton Leitenberg's report (pdf) ASSESSING THE BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS AND BIOTERRORISM THREAT," but not the recommendations. Here they are:
Policy Recommendations.
The policy recommendations derive directly from the analysis presented in the study, and fall into two groups: 1) threat assessment, and 2) U.S. biodefense program oversight.

Recommendation 1: A thorough national BW threat assessment is necessary, to the degree that the best available information permits. It should be based on the realities of state and nonstate actor capabilities, rather than on hypothetical projections of technological state-of-the-art.

Recommendation 2: Government officials should avoid, and where necessary correct, exaggerated portrayals of the biological weapons threat. Such exaggeration, even if seen as politically useful by some, runs counter to the national interest by stimulating the interest of others in BW development.

Recommendation 3: Federal expenditures for Bioshield I and II—to procure vaccines against BW “select agents”— would very likely be of far greater benefit to the U.S. public if they were redirected to procuring vaccines against pandemic flu strains. Such reconsideration and redirection should be an urgent executive and legislative priority.

Recommendation 4: The U.S. Government should make every effort to strengthen the Biological Weapons Convention, the international treaty regime whose essential purpose it is to maintain the norm against the proliferation of BW. It should do nothing to damage it or reduce its stature or relevance.

Recommendation 5: A serious national policy of oversight for the U.S. biodefense research program is necessary:
• Above all, oversight should exist at the level of the National Security Council.
• The Department of Defense should see that its relevant Compliance Review Group is functional.
• The Department of Homeland Security should institute a similar group to monitor the compliance of the work program of the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center (NBACC) with the provisions of the Biological Weapons Convention.
• Authority to explicitly review international treaty compliance of all programs carried out by NBACC should additionally be extended to the Committee on Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures of the National Research Council. Most desirable would be an advisory group of the stature of the President’s Science Advisory Council of the 1960s. Review panels with members selected from in-house laboratories and federal contractors are unlikely to provide a
critical review.
• The National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) should be provided with authorization to include classified biodefense research programs under its jurisdiction.
i hope he isnt looking for new grants.

No comments: