Press Release

April 20, 2023
Cardin, Van Hollen, Trone Lead Effort to Provide Long-term Authorization for Fort Detrick-based Biodefense Lab

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen and Congressman David Trone (all D-Md.) have introduced bicameral legislation to authorize the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center (NBACC) at Fort Detrick, Md., and allow this one-of-a kind lab to strengthen its operations. The NBACC supports the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Federal Bureau of Investigation, as well as numerous other federal agencies and partners. For nearly 20 years, the NBACC “has played a key role in America’s response to the Nation’s most difficult public health and biodefense challenges,” according to DHS.

The National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center Authorization Act of 2023, would designate the NBACC as the “lead Federal facility dedicated to defending the United States against biological threats,” whether intentional or accidental. NBACC includes two centers: the National Bioforensic Analysis Center, which conducts technical analyses in support of Federal law enforcement investigations; and the National Biological Threat Characterization Center, which conducts experiments and studies to better understand biological vulnerabilities and hazards. The laboratory plays a critical role in investigating and preventing bio-crimes and bioterrorism.

“The COVID-19 pandemic represents only one of the myriad of threats that the men and women of NBACC have faced on behalf of the American people,” said Senator Cardin. “As natural and man-made threats proliferate, I feel secure knowing NBACC has the top people in the world protecting our national security and keeping the American people safe from harm. Enhancing the long-term future of NBACC is essential to keep us ahead of emerging threats.”

“As we learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, investing in our national biodefense capabilities is critical. The NBACC is the tip of the spear of protecting our nation from potential biological and public health crises. We need to ensure this essential Maryland-based agency has the resources necessary to address the biological threats facing the United States today and in the future,” said Senator Van Hollen.

“As our country continues to recover from the COVID pandemic, it’s mission critical that we act now to prevent future threats and, most importantly, save lives. I’m proud to partner with Senator Cardin to continue our support of the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center at Fort Detrick in Maryland,” said Congressman Trone. “For the last 20 years, the Center has allowed some of the best and brightest innovators to combat potential national security biological threats and keep Americans safe, which is exactly why I remain committed to funding this effort.”

Text of the NBACC Authorization Act of 2023 can be found here.