288140 Preparing Against Biological and Chemical Threats: A Strategic Focus in an Unpredictable Future

Monday, October 29, 2012: 1:40 PM
Pennsylvania West (Westin )
Alan Rudolph, Joint Science and Technology Office, Defense Threat Reduction Agency, FORT BELVOIR, VA

Perhaps one of the biggest challenges of our generation is preparing against health and material threats to our nation.  Considerable policy attention to global health security has defined these challenges in the context of both threats from adversarial intent as well as safety and security associated with accidental or pandemic events that can occur at any time and rapidly move a potentially catastrophic event to our shores from anywhere on the planet.  The mission of the Joint Science and Technology Office at the Defense Threat Reduction Agency is to invest in innovative programs that will best prepare our nation and our defenses against such threats.  The challenge we face is clear.  With the widening aperture of the threat space, how do we create a strong position from which to respond?  We have created a strategic plan that recognizes the dynamic nature of the threat and the need for technology to be able to pivot quickly as time is the most precious of response resources.  The time continuum of response recognizes a need for advanced warning and rapid countermeasures following the alert.  In this context, we have crafted a strategic plan that recognizes the need for new diagnostic platforms that are highly distributed (“point of need”) and interoperable and connected to medical and public health reporting systems.  The biological and chemical surveillance ecosystem we seek is intended to provide time to reduce untoward consequences of these threats.  The ability to rapidly mount a countermeasure response is another focus on our strategic plan in which the realization of rapid manufacturing and validation of new medical countermeasures and physical protection systems offers the best opportunity to both mitigate the threat and return our society to equilibrium.  New investments in each of these focused strategic areas will be presented.

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