April 23, 2018

Meeting of the Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense to Address Transnational Biological Threats and Global Security



Contact:  Steve Aaron, SRA Communications, (717) 554-8614,




New York State Health Commissioner Howard A. Zucker and Author Michael Osterholm Lead Distinguished Lineup of Panelists

WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 23, 2018) – The recent poisoning of a former Russian agent in the United Kingdom and the repeated use of chemical weapons in Syria show that malevolent actors are willing and able to use dangerous agents, both within and beyond the confines of their own countries. The Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense will host a public meeting this week to address current transnational biological threats and the global security efforts to combat them.

“Biological threats to our nation increase continuously and recognize no borders,” said former Senator Joe Lieberman, co-chair of the Panel. “As naturally occurring diseases continue to spread throughout the world, terrorists continue to pursue biological weapons to add to their arsenal, while nation states establish new – and reinvigorate old – offensive weapons programs. This meeting is as timely as it is relevant.”

“The time for assuming nation-states and terrorist organizations are not involved in developing biological weapons programs is over,” added Governor Tom Ridge, Panel co-chair. “We cannot afford to downplay any country’s or terrorist organization’s efforts to develop or obtain weapons they think will give them the advantage on the battlefield.”

The meeting will feature Dr. Howard A. Zucker, the Commissioner of Health for New York State, and Dr. Michael T. Osterholm, professor and author, along with a prestigious panel of experts, including current and former government officials, academic representatives and other subject matter experts. The meeting is set to begin at 10:00am Wednesday, April 25, at the Hudson Institute, 1201 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Suite 400, Washington, D.C. The complete agenda can be found here. Your coverage is welcome. Media should RSVP to either attend the event or watch a live stream by contacting

This meeting of the Study Panel, chaired by Sen. Joe Lieberman and Governor Tom Ridge, will provide the Study Panel with a better understanding of:

  • Current transnational biological threats;
  • Homeland defense and security in the global context;
  • Global security efforts to combat these threats; and
  • The need to elevate global health security and make it a national and global priority.

About the Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense

The Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense was established in 2014 to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the state of U.S. biodefense efforts, and to issue recommendations to foster change. The Panel’s 2015 report, A National Blueprint for Biodefense: Leadership and Major Reform Needed to Optimize Efforts, identified capability gaps and recommended changes to U.S. policy and law to strengthen national biodefense while optimizing resource investments. The Panel continues to assess biodefense challenges and to urge reform. Former Senator Joe Lieberman and former Governor Tom Ridge co-chair the Panel, and are joined by former Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala, former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, former Representative Jim Greenwood, and the Honorable Ken Wainstein. Hudson Institute is the Panel’s fiscal sponsor.