WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen and Congressman David Trone (all D-Md.) have introduced legislation to authorize the continuing operations of the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center (NBACC) at Fort Detrick, Md. First established in 2004, this one-of-a-kind laboratory supports both the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Federal Bureau of Investigation, as well as numerous other federal agencies and partners. 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, including the 2014 response to Ebola and the recent COVID-19 pandemic.
Their bicameral legislation, the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center Authorization Act of 2022, 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 biological and chemical threats to our nation continue to grow, from both natural and man-made sources,” said Senator Cardin. “The men and women of NBACC show time and again that they are the best in their field, protecting our national security and keeping the American people safe from harm. As threats evolve, securing the long-term future of NBACC will ensure that our nation’s response can stay ahead.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the need for robust national biodefense capabilities. The hardworking men and women of the NBACC operate at the forefront of defending our nation against biological attacks and public health disasters. 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 2022 can be found here.