Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Biological Lab Safety

The Defense Science Board (DSB) which provides independent advice to the Secretary of Defense just released its final report about safety in DoD (Department of Defense) biological labs. When comparing DoD labs with those of similar size in government, industry, and academia, the report found that DoD labs were as good or better. The labs also exceeded recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, the DSB task force also found that "a determined adversary cannot be prevented from obtaining very dangerous biological materials intended for nefarious purposes, if not from DoD laboratories, then from other sources." Therefore, the task force recommended improvements in seven areas:
  • Cyber Red Team (computer systems security)
  • Monitoring Activities
  • Biological Personnel Reliability Program
  • Overseas Regulations
  • Compliance Inspections
  • BSAT (Biological Select Agents and Toxins) Transport
  • Public Education and Relations