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Executive Summary
Pages 1-14

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From page 1...
... Scientists and engineers in many fields are relying on continuing advances in the life sciences to identify pharmaceuticals for the treatment of cancer and other chronic diseases, develop environmental remediation technologies, improve biodefense capabilities, and create new materials and even energy sources. Moreover, other fields not traditionally viewed as biotechnologies-such as materials science, information technology, and nanotechnology-are becoming integrated and synergistic with traditional biotechnologies in extraordinary ways enabling the development of previously unimaginable technological applications.
From page 2...
... In addition to the efforts by terrorists or states with malevolent intent, we must be concerned about the grave harm that may result from misuse of the life sciences and related technologies by individuals or groups that are simply careless or irresponsible. The continuing threat of bioterrorism, coupled with the global spread of expertise and information in biotechnology and biological manufacturing processes, has raised concerns about how advancing technological prowess could enable the creation and production of new threats of biological origin possessing unique and dangerous but largely unpredictable characteristics.
From page 3...
... In contrast, this report adopts a more global perspective, addressing the increasing pace of advances in the life sciences and related convergent technologies likely to alter the biological threat spectrum over the next five to ten years and broadly considering ways to prevent or mitigate the consequences of malevolent exploitation or naļve misapplication of these technologies. While many readers might hope to find a well-defined, prioritized list or set of lists of future threats, the pace of research discovery in the life sciences is such that the useful lifespan of any such list would likely be measured in months, not years.
From page 4...
... The preeminent position that the United States has enjoyed in the life sciences has been dependent upon the flow of foreign scientific talent to its shores and is now threatened by the increasing globalization of science and the international dispersion of a wide variety of related technologies. The increasing pace of scientific discovery abroad and the fact that the United States may no longer hold a monopoly on these leading technologies means that this country is, as never before, dependent on international collaboration, a theme that is explored in depth in Chapter 2.
From page 5...
... laboratories, meetings, and business enterprises -- could impede scientific and technological growth and have counterproductive, unintended consequences for the biodefense research and development enterprise. Although this Report is concerned with the evolution of scientific and technological capabilities over the next five to ten years with implications for next-generation threats, it is clear that today's capabilities in the life sciences and related technologies have already changed the nature of the biothreat "space." The accelerating pace of discovery in the life sciences has fundamentally altered the threat spectrum.
From page 6...
... 3b. The best available scientific expertise and knowledge should inform the concepts, plans, activities, and decisions of the intelligence, law enforcement, homeland security, and public policy communities and the national political leadership about advancing technologies and their potential impact on the development and use of future biological weapons.
From page 7...
... 3d. Encourage the sharing and coordination, to the maximum extent possible, of future biological threat analysis between the domestic national security community and its international counterparts.
From page 8...
... The potential to develop effective countermeasures against biological threats is strongly enhanced by the nation's leadership position in the life sciences. However, implementation of the regulatory regime imposed by the PATRIOT and Bioterrorism Response acts on the life sciences community has raised concerns that qualified individuals may be discouraged from conducting biomedical and agricultural research of value to the United States for a variety of reasons.
From page 9...
... A sound defense against misuse of the life sciences and related technologies is one that anticipates future threats that result from misuse, one that seeks to understand the origins of these threats, and one that strives to preempt the misuse of science and technology. It would be tragic if society failed to consider, on a continuing basis, the nature of future biological threats, using the best available scientific expertise, and did not make a serious effort to identify possible methods for averting such threats.
From page 10...
... Yet the life sciences and related technologies are globally distributed in a seamless fashion, and future threats that arise from this science and technology will be globally distributed as well. The committee, therefore, recommends the creation of an independent advisory group that would work closely with the national security community for the purpose of anticipating future biological threats based on an analysis of the current and future science and technology landscape, and current intelligence.
From page 11...
... Despite their limitations, the committee appreciates their value in articulating international norms of behavior and conduct and suggests that these conventions serve as a basis for future international discussions and collaborative efforts to address and respond to the proliferation of biological threats. The committee also appreciates the potential for codes of conduct or codes of ethics to mitigate the risk that advances in the life sciences might be applied to the development or dissemination of biological weapons.
From page 12...
... An effective civil defense program will require a well-coordinated public health response, and this can only occur if there is strong integration of well-funded, well-staffed, and well-educated local, state, and federal public health authorities. Despite substantial efforts since September 11, 2001, few if any experts believe that the United States has achieved even a minimal level of success in accomplishing this goal, which is as important for responses to naturally-emerging threats, such as pandemic influenza, as for a deliberate biological attack.
From page 13...
... The committee also affirms the need to adopt a broader perspective on the nature of the threat spectrum and to strengthen the scientific and technical expertise available to the security communities so that they are better equipped to anticipate and manage a diverse array of novel threats. Given the global dispersion of life sciences knowledge and technological expertise, the committee recognizes the international dimensions of these issues and makes recommendations that call for the global community of life scientists to adopt a common culture of awareness and a shared sense of responsibility, including specific actions that would promote such a culture.
From page 14...
... 14 GLOBALIZATION, BIOSECURITY, AND THE FUTURE OF THE LIFE SCIENCES be effectively integrated, and who will control operations and ensure they are adequately interfaced with local and state governments and public health agencies? Although well beyond the scope of the committee's charge, the development of an effective means of integrating the responses by multiple government agencies would provide the nation with perhaps the most necessary of "tools" with which to meet any future challenge.


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