We’ve discussed some of the history of the bioterrorism program throughout previ

Sep 1, 2021 | biology

We've discussed some of the history of the bioterrorism program throughout previous courses in this track.  Now let's take a look at how policy is set going forward.    

The articles below are mostly from 2017.  As a professor in this course, one of my jobs is to keep up with governmental policies regarding biodefense.  It is NOT easy, partly because a lot of this information is somewhat sensitive and might not be publicly available.  And if you had a professor with access to sensitive materials, they wouldn't be able to teach you about them anyway!*  https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ostp/PCAST/pcast_biodefense_letter_report_final.pdf

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This one is a bit more authoritative in my opinion, written by a military member, Al Mauroni, the Director of the US Air Force Center for Unconventional Weapons Studies.  https://mwi.usma.edu/dont-need-another-national-biodefense-strategy/ 

And, most recently, President Trump released his own Biodefense Strategy.  

This assignment is open-ended.  See if you can find some professional opinions about the biodefense strategy and combine it with your own insights.  Consider how it differs from President Bush or President Obama's policies and, in your own professional opinion, whether that policy is an improvement or not.  

The costs of security clearances: I've worked for the U.S. Coast Guard for a little over a decade as a professor.  Security clearances come with costs:  if something you've read is considered sensitive information, you are not allowed to talk about it, even if it is ALSO published in the public domain somewhere (ie, leaked materials).  So while it would be useful for me personally to have a clearance in terms of learning about biodefense from the inside, I would not be able to communicate that information to you.  In fact, it would likely REDUCE what I could teach as there is information out there in the public domain that is also Classified in some way.  

For those not aware, sensitive information can also be compiled from publicly available information. For example, it isn't a big deal for someone to post a picture of a nuclear submarine leaving the New London submarine base.  But if someone were to invent a tool that searched such photos and gathered and compiled that information, it would be a security concern.  The most recent example of this is the Strava leak – Strava is an app used to track movement for running or biking. Potentially damaging information could be generated from compiled data of many different users who, on their own, do not produce information that alone is dangerous. http://dailycaller.com/2018/01/28/fitbit-secret-army-bases/

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