The Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense is a privately funded entity established in 2014 to provide for a comprehensive assessment of the state of U.S. biodefense efforts, and to issue recommendations that will foster change. Former Governor Tom Ridge and former Secretary Donna Shalala co-chair the Commission. Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, former Representative Fred Upton, former Representative Susan Brooks,  former Representative Jim Greenwood, and Dr. Margaret Hamburg serve as members.

From 2014-2015, the Commission convened four public meetings in Washington, DC on biological threat awareness, prevention and protection, surveillance and detection, and response and recovery. Current and former Members of Congress, former Administration officials, state and local representatives, thought leaders, and other experts provided their perspectives on current biodefense efforts, including strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities. While much good work has been achieved toward biodefense, these meetings have revealed systemic challenges in the enterprise designed to protect Americans from biological events.

Through these public meetings and other research, the Commission has identified systemic weaknesses in the national biodefense posture, and recommended 33 steps the government can take to mitigate this in its report, A National Blueprint for Biodefense: Leadership and Major Reform Needed to Optimize Efforts. The report assessed ongoing efforts; articulated actions to improve the nation’s biodefense capabilities to prevent, deter, prepare for, detect, respond to, attribute, recover from, and mitigate biological incidents; and identified near and long-term actions by current and future Congresses and Presidential Administrations. The Commission continues to advocate for uptake of these recommendations at the highest levels of American government, through additional meetings, reports, and other activities, and is the only such body of bipartisan, former high-level policymakers to do so.

Our Team
Former Commissioners
Senator Joe Lieberman

All of us at the Commission are in shock and are heartbroken at news that Senator Lieberman has died suddenly and unexpectedly. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Hadassah, their children, and extended family.

We all were the beneficiaries of Joe’s many years of selfless public service, his kindness, and civility. Joe was the definition of a Mensch – a person of great integrity and honor. He always put others first and always worked to better our nation, to which he tirelessly devoted so much of his energy. He had an indefatigable spirit that always pushed our work forward.

For nearly ten years, Joe was my co-chair here at the Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense. He cared deeply about the mission, for sure. Even more, he cared about each of our fellow Commissioners and the staff, all of whom I know are personally grieving at this tremendous loss. May his memory be a blessing.

Tom Ridge
March 27, 2024

Former Ex Officio Member