Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2022 Requires Annual Assessment and Formalizes Leadership of Biological Intelligence Activities
WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 18, 2022) – Legislation signed into law this week requires an annual, comprehensive report on biological intelligence collection, analysis, and dissemination, and formally puts the head of the National Counterproliferation Center in charge of national biological intelligence management. Russia’s attacks on Ukraine have suddenly brought concerns about biological attacks to the fore. The Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense thanks Representative Eric Swalwell (D-CA) for his leadership in addressing biological intelligence needs and for working to include the annual assessment in the Act, and commends Congress for recognizing the severity of the threat, and for providing the Intelligence Community with the support and direction it needs to address it.
“For too long, the Intelligence Community failed to prioritize and coordinate biological intelligence activities to the same degree as it did with other threats,” said Dr. Asha M. George, Executive Director of the Commission. “More than six years after the release of our National Blueprint for Biodefense, we are glad to see the Administration and Congress formalizing national biological intelligence leadership and establishing requirements to report what intelligence agencies are doing and how they are coordinating their efforts to address biological threats to our national security.”
On March 15, President Biden signed into law H.R. 2471, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2022, which contains the Intelligence Authorization Act. The Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense made key recommendations to Congress in their 2015 National Blueprint for Biodefense and their 2021 report, Biodefense in Crisis: Immediate Action Needed to Address National Vulnerabilities, to better enable the Nation to defend against biological threats.
“Since its inception, our Commission has stated that biological threats to the Nation and the world are increasing, threats that include biological terrorism and warfare. Last year, the State Department reported that Russia and North Korea possess active biological weapons programs, with China and Iran not far behind,” Dr. George added.
The Act also contains substantial funding increases for other biodefense-related programs in other federal departments and agencies, as well as reporting requirements regarding acquisition efforts to replace BioWatch (the Nation’s biodetection system) and biosurveillance by the Department of Homeland Security.