The National Academies: What You Need To Know About Infectious Disease

The National Academies

What You Need To Know About Infectious Disease

Countering Biological Threats: Challenges for the Department of Defense's Nonproliferation Program Beyond the Former Soviet Union (2009)

In response to a request from the U.S. Congress, this book examines how the unique experience and extensive capabilities of the Department of Defense (DOD) can be extended to reduce the threat of bioterrorism within developing countries outside the former Soviet Union (FSU). During the past 12 years, DOD has invested $800 million in reducing the risk from bioterrorism with roots in the states of the FSU. The program's accomplishments are many fold. The risk of bioterrorism in other countries is too great for DOD not to be among the leaders in addressing threats beyond the FSU.

Taking into account possible sensitivities about a U.S. military presence, DOD should engage interested governments in about ten developing countries outside the FSU in biological threat reduction programs during the next five years. Whenever possible, DOD should partner with other organizations that have well established humanitarian reputations in the countries of interest. For example, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Health Organization should be considered as potential partners.

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What do you know about infectious disease?

True or False: The only way public health agencies can deal with infectious disease is to have good surveillance in place, wait for an outbreak to happen in a human population, and then rush to contain it.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    By identifying pathogens in the animals where they naturally live and monitoring those organisms as they move from animals into people, it may be possible to prevent deadly new infections of animal origin from entering and racing through human populations.

  • Correct!

    By identifying pathogens in the animals where they naturally live and monitoring those organisms as they move from animals into people, it may be possible to prevent deadly new infections of animal origin from entering and racing through human populations.