In the May 2008 Washington Watch article in the journal BioScience, Holly Menninger explores the nation’s significant investments in biosecurity research facilities since 2001.

An excerpt from the article follows:

After 11 September 2001 and the anthrax attacks that followed, President Bush made it a government priority to protect human health and food systems from biological attack. Federal agencies have allocated billions of dollars to biological security programs and new research infrastructure across the governmental, academic, and private sectors. However, some government observers have questioned the leadership, coordination, and oversight of these activities, asking, “Are we more vulnerable to a biological attack today than we were in 2001?”

The responsibility to protect the welfare of people, plants, and animals is shared by various federal agencies. These include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH); the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service; the Department of Homeland Security (DHS); the Environmental Protection Agency; and the Department of Defense (DOD).

According to recent estimates from the Center for Biosecurity of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, the federal government has spent $40 billion for civilian biodefense since 2001. In 2007, more than $5 billion was allocated to bio­defense. A significant portion of these resources has been used to build

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