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National Strategy for Countering Biological Threats, 2009

Published December 9, 2009

The White House released this press statement regarding its 2009 National Strategy for Countering Biological Threats.

"Today, President Obama released the National Strategy for Countering Biological Threats. This Strategy outlines the Presidentís vision for addressing the challenges from proliferation of biological weapons or their use by terrorists.† It highlights the beneficial nature of advances in the life sciences and their importance in combating infectious diseases of natural, accidental, and deliberate origin.† It also outlines how the risks associated with misuse and potential consequences of a biological attack require tailored actions to prevent biological threats. ...

The Strategy emphasizes the need to (1) improve global access to the life sciences to combat infectious disease regardless of its cause; (2) establish and reinforce norms against the misuse of the life sciences; and (3) institute a suite of coordinated activities that collectively will help influence, identify, inhibit, and/or interdict those who seek to misuse the life sciences. Through this Strategy the United States Government will work with domestic and international partners on the following seven objectives to PROTECT against misuse of the life sciences to support biological weapons proliferation and terrorism:

  • Promote global health security: Increase the availability of and access to knowledge and products of the life sciences that can help reduce the impact from outbreaks of infectious disease whether of natural, accidental, or deliberate origin.
  • Reinforce norms of safe and responsible conduct: Reinforce a culture of responsibility, awareness, and vigilance among all who utilize and benefit from the life sciences to ensure that they are not diverted to harmful purpose.
  • Obtain timely and accurate insight on current and emerging risks: Improve threat identification, notification, and assessment capabilities as well as our understanding as to the global progress and distribution of the life sciences to help identify and understand new and emerging challenges and inform appropriate actions to manage the evolving risk.
  • Take reasonable steps to reduce the potential for exploitation: Identify, sensitize, support, and otherwise safeguard knowledge and capabilities in the life sciences and related communities that could be vulnerable to misuse.
  • Expand our capability to prevent, attribute, and apprehend: Further hone our abilities to identify and stop those with ill intent to reduce the risk of single, multiple, or sequential attacks.
  • Communicate effectively with all stakeholders: Ensure the United States Government is advancing cogent, coherent, and coordinated messages.
  • Transform the international dialogue on biological threats: Promote a robust and sustained discussion among all nations as to the evolving biological threat and identify mutually agreed steps to counter it."

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