Homeland Insecurity: Building the Expertise to Defend America from Bioterrorism

Homeland Insecurity: Building the Expertise to Defend America from Bioterrorism

The threat of bioterrorism became reality in late 2001, when anthrax-laced letters were sent to some members of Congress and the media. Since then, first responders in big cities, including police, fire, ambulance, and hospital personnel, have received funding for vaccines and bioterrorism training. While local preparation is crucial, the federal government must also bolster its ability to fend off new attacks, argues the advocacy group Partnership for Public Service. A new report from the organization, Homeland Insecurity: Building the Expertise to Defend America from Bioterrorism (36 pages, PDF), warns of an upcoming shortage of science and medical experts at the five key federal biodefense agencies — the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the Food and Drug Administration, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, and the Food Safety and Inspection Service — and makes a number of recommendations, including scholarships and/or debt forgiveness for students willing to commit to public service and the creation of a biodefense institute to train people already working in the field.