DHS Announces Possible Sites for National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility

WASHINGTON – The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate announced Aug. 9 that 18 sites located in 11 states have advanced to the next phase in the competitive process to select the site for DHS’s proposed National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF).

As a joint activity with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), DHS is developing the requirements for a next-generation biological and agricultural defense facility to enhance and protect the country’s agriculture and public health. The work planned for the NBAF will address biological and agricultural national security risks by colocating scientists from several federal agencies in a state-of-the-art bio safety containment facility.

DHS plans to equip the NBAF with numerous laboratories that will conduct research in high-consequence biological threats involving foreign animal, zoonotic (transmitted from animals to humans), and human diseases. As a key part of this, DHS plans to house laboratories that will provide high security spaces for agricultural and animal studies and training. In addition, DHS plans for the NBAF to develop vaccine countermeasures for foreign animal diseases, and provide advanced test and evaluation capability for threat detection, vulnerability, and countermeasure assessment for animal and zoonotic diseases.

DHS built a multi-agency (DHS, USDA, Department of Defense, HHS) multi-disciplinary (engineers, scientists, lawyers, academics, communicators) team to conduct the reviews of 29 interested sites for the NBAF. The teams narrowed down the list to 18 potential sites based on four criteria: acquisition/construction/operations, research capabilities, workforce and community acceptance.

The following consortia, which have proposed sites for DHS to locate the NBAF, in alphabetical order by state, have advanced to the next phase of DHS’s site planning process:

  • Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (California)
  • Georgia Consortium for Health and Agro-Security 2-sites
  • Heartland BioAgro Consortium (Kansas) 2-sites
  • Kentucky and Tennessee NBAF Consortium (Kentucky)
  • Mid-Atlantic Bio-Ag Defense Consortium (Maryland)
  • Gulf States Bio and Agro-Defense Consortium (Mississippi) 3-sites
  • University of Missouri at Columbia
  • North Carolina State University- College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Oklahoma State University
  • Texas A&M University
  • Brooks Development Authority and Brooks City-Base Foundation (Texas)
  • Texas Research and Technology Foundation
  • Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research (Texas)
  • University of Wisconsin- Madison site at the Kegonsa Research Facility

The consortia that proposed these 18 sites will now be given the opportunity to provide more detailed information in support of their submissions. By the end of 2006, DHS expects to review these more detailed submissions and narrow the potential sites to a small list of final candidates. The short list of candidate sites will then be the subjects of environmental impact studies (EIS) following requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act. Upon completion of the EIS process, DHS expects to name the final NBAF site in early 2008.

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