In its 2015 report, A National Blueprint for Biodefense: Leadership and Major Reform Needed to Optimize Efforts, the Commission addressed inadequacies of BioWatch, the Department of Homeland Security environmental biodetection program. Established in 2003, the federal government intended for BioWatch to provide early warning of biological attacks on major metropolitan areas. However, after nearly two decades of operation, the system is ineffective. There is little evidence that the system effectively detects pathogens of interest, and even if it did, pathogen detection turnaround time is too slow for the government to effectively respond to any actual biological attack. If the federal government continues to spend more taxpayer money on next generation biodetection systems, a reassessment of current efforts is necessary. A new report by the Commission – Saving Sisyphus: Advanced Biodetection for the 21st Century – details specific actions that must be taken by Congress and the Biden Administration before another devastating attack occurs.
Please join us on November 2, 2021, when we will convene an in-person meeting of the Commission, Saving Sisyphus: Course Corrections for National Biodetection, to provide a better understanding of challenges facing federal biodetection programs, public and private advancements in environmental biodetection technology, and mission requirements for 21st Century biodetection capabilities.
COVID-19 precautions: For those attending in person, masks covering both nose and mouth must be worn at all times, except when actively eating or drinking. The Commissioners, Ex Officio members, Executive Director and speakers (while participating on a panel), will not be required to wear masks.