“We believe the bipartisan nature of our work is more important than ever”
The new Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense name and accompanying logo were officially released this morning during the commission’s event, Cyberbio Convergence: Characterizing the Multiplicative Threat, a day-long meeting being held at the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C.
Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense is now the Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense
Now in its 5th year, the Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense is taking on a new name to more accurately reflect its work and the urgency of its mission. Effective immediately, the organization now will be known as the Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense.
Commentary: Ebola is raging again — and the U.S. is not ready
Panel Co-Chairs, Joe Lieberman and Tom Ridge in Chicago Tribune Op-Ed: "Five years ago, the Ebola virus broke through inadequate public health systems in West Africa and spread throughout the world. America was lucky. Only a few cases traveled here, but the U.S. government also did not respond as we had reason to expect. Despite assurances that our country would be able to handle such a serious disease, our public health agencies and health care institutions made some serious mistakes...that will have real human consequences the next time Ebola or another highly infectious disease — including a new highly pathogenic strain of influenza — reaches America."
“Advertising your vulnerabilities is never a good thing.”
Panel Co-Chair, Tom Ridge in LA Times article on sensitive data from U.S. anti-terror program, BioWatch: "Letting your adversaries readily access your vulnerabilities - that's a national security risk, in my judgment."
“America, please look beyond your self interest and do your duty”
"As former homeland security and counterterrorism advisers...we saw the operational, organizational and legal changes that are needed to meet terrorist threats," say Panel Members Lisa Monaco and Ken Wainstein in this Washington Post opinion piece.
Contest to win signed copy of graphic novel, “Germ Warfare: A Very Graphic History”
WIN a limited edition signed hard-copy of "GERM WARFARE: A Very Graphic History"!Written by Best-Selling Author Max Brooks of World War Z, The Harlem Hellfighters, and Minecraft: The Island
The Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense partnered with Max Brooks to produce this boldly illustrated and engaging graphic novel about the earliest attempts to use biological weapons for warfare. We've only got three signed copies, so enter the contest here and follow us on Instagram for more chances to win!
Last week the World Health Organization took the rare step of classifying the Ebola outbreak in Congo as a “public health emergency of international concern.” Max Brooks, best selling author of "World War Z" talks about his latest project with The Blue Ribbon Study on Biodefense, to produce Germ Warfare: A Very Graphic History, a graphic novel depicting previous biological warfare and the continued need for public health security.
Study Panel hosts first public panel meeting in New York City
“We are at a decided disadvantage when it comes to defending against a biological threat," says Panel Co-Chair Senator Joe Lieberman. "We have a responsibility to act now to prevent the worst from happening in the future."
Sen. Lieberman talks biodefense with John Catsimatidis on Cats at Night
Panel Co-Chair Senator Lieberman joins host John Catsamatidis for a live radio interview on Cats at Night, with other guests, including former New York Lt. Governor Betsy McCaughey. Discussion on biodefense starts about 4 minutes into the recorded program.
The new Manhattan Project we need: Shore up our biodefenses now
Panel Co-Chair Senator Joe Lieberman in New York Daily News OpEd on the July 11, 2019 public meeting of the Study Panel in New York City, "A Manhattan Project for Biodefense: Taking Biological Threats Off the Table."
Biodefense Takes Center Stage at House Oversight Hearing
Is the nation ready to defend against antibiotic-resistant diseases or bioterrorism? During the House Oversight Hearing, Dr. Asha George, Executive Director, the Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense, talked about her experiences with drug-resistant diseases during her time in Operation Desert Storm.
National Security Subcommittee to Examine U.S. Preparedness for Biological Attacks and Infectious Disease Pandemics
Asha George, Study Panel Executive Director, will be a witness for Subcommittee on National Security hearing on “U.S. Biodefense, Preparedness, and Implications of Antimicrobial Resistance for National Security,” Wednesday, June 26, 2019, 2 pm at 2247 Rayburn House Office Building.
Congress Passes Legislation Authorizing Critical Biodefense Programs
The House yesterday passed the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act. “The Panel is pleased to see that Congress addressed 15 of our recommendations in this legislation," says Panel Co-Chair Governor Tom Ridge.
Three decades later, have we learned the lessons of ‘The Hot Zone’?
See Letter to the Editor by Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense Executive Director, Dr. Asha George in the Washington Post on Hank Stuever's May 27 Style review "Nat Geo's 'Hot Zone': Cold action, hot paranoia."
(Photo: Ricky Camilleri interviews 'The Hot Zone' star Julianna Margulies in New York on May 23.)
LIMITED AVAILABILITY FREE Hard Copies – Germ Warfare: A Very Graphic History
FREE COPIES of the Panel's graphic novel, GERM WARFARE: A Very Graphic History, by Max Brooks, will be available on Sat, May 18th at FANTOM COMICS, 2010 P St NW, 2nd Floor, Washington DC from 11 am to 8 pm. https://www.fantomcomics.com/
Twitter: @FantomComics. Facebook: @https://www.facebook.com/FantomComics.
New Panel Publication – “GERM WARFARE: A Very Graphic History”
Best Selling Author Max Brooks and the Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense provide a 'Very Graphic History' of Germ Warfare in a highly stylized and engaging graphic novel, depicting previous biological warfare events, the possibilities for the future, and the continued need for public health security, available for free download on the Panel's website on Saturday, April 27.
Measles outbreak drains resources we may need for a future epidemic or bioterrorist attack
"We cannot afford to ignore the lessons that measles, Ebola, pandemic influenza and other diseases have been teaching us about our vulnerabilities," Panel Co-Chairs Senator Joe Lieberman and Governor Tom Ridge Op-Ed in USA Today.
The National Security Implications of Cyberbiosecurity
"The cyber- and biological sciences are converging rapidly, creating benefits, new and advantageous applications, and increasing risks to all nations." See article by Study Panel Executive Director, Dr. Asha George, as part of the research topic, Mapping the Cyberbiosecurity Enterprise, in "Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology."
Homeland Security Replacing Troubled Biodefense System With Another Flawed Approach
Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense Co-Chairs, Senator Joe Lieberman and Governor Tom Ridge along with Senator Tom Daschle provide their thoughts on the need for a more effective biodetection system as the Department of Homeland Security is looking to replace the current biodefense detection system, BioWatch.
Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense focuses on DOD role in protecting U.S. against bio attacks
The Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense held its Fighting the Next War: Defense Against Biological Weapons meeting to gain a better understanding about DOD’s responsibilities and requirements for biodefense, as well as the department’s role in implementing the 2018 National Biodefense Strategy.
Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense Gains New Expertise With Exit of Shalala
The Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense recently bid farewell to one of its founding members, former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala, the newly elected U.S. Representative for Florida, and welcomed former White House Homeland Security Advisor Lisa Monaco.
Former White House Homeland Security Advisor Lisa Monaco Joins Panel
Former White House Homeland Security Advisor Lisa Monaco joins the Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense. She advised the President from 2013 to 2017 on all aspects of counterterrorism policy including pandemics and natural disasters.
The Farm Bill (H.R. 2, the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018) includes several Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense recommendations to better protect the nation’s food and agriculture sector from biological attacks and naturally occurring outbreaks.
Study Panel Co-Chair Tom Ridge Guest on CNN New Day
Study Panel Co-Chair Tom Ridge was a guest on CNN New Day on Nov. 14 to discuss the release of the White House's National Biodefense Strategy. The first U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security talked about the next steps needed to ensure that strategy can be effective in defending America against a biological incident.
Upcoming Episode of ‘The West Wing Weekly’ Podcast to Feature Former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle
Panel Member Senator Tom Daschle on the 'West Wing Weekly Podcast': "Many of the efforts to better our response over the past 17 years have come up short, and our nation is still largely unprepared for a large biological incident. We need to shore up our national biodefense – otherwise, the price we pay will be in American lives."
“Recent Trump Ricin Threats a Reminder of Past Biological Harms”
Panel Member and former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle writes in the Philadelphia Inquirer on the state of the biological threat and his own experience as a recipient of a letter containing anthrax 17 years ago.
White House authorizes National Biodefense Strategy
"The biological threat is real," says Dr. Asha George, Study Panel Executive Director in Homeland Preparedness News. "I am glad to see that the Trump Administration recognized this fact and released the National Biodefense Strategy." Panel Co-Chair Governor Tom Ridge looks forward to the White House assigning responsibilities of this plan and establishing timelines for their completion, adding, "This is the sort of proactive planning and preparation the American people are looking for in their federal government."
White House sets “new direction” in biodefense strategy
"The White House made a great start with the implementation plan they included with the strategy," says Study Panel Co-Chair Governor Ridge in the Washington Post. "We look forward to the White House assigning responsibilities for each element of this plan to specific federal departments and agencies, and establishing timelines for their completion."
Satellite Media Tour: Former Senators Shining Light on Looming Biological Threats
Panel Member Senator Daschle says the threat of large-scale biological incidents is looming large. "This is real. This is going to happen." Panel Co-Chair Senator Lieberman: "Let's spend some money up front, invest in better defenses, prevention."
Satellite Media Tour: Former Senator Tom Daschle Fears Another Pandemic
Study Panel Member Senator Daschle speaking about the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic which killed millions, including 1,800 victims in South Dakota, "That very possibility exists today and we are not ready for it. We don't have a plan; we don't have the kind of leadership and resources necessary to address it."
Satellite Media Tour: Senator Lieberman Shares about the Work of the Panel
Co-Chair, Senator Lieberman says of the work of the Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense, "The basic point is to take a look and see whether America is ready to protect our people from a biological terrorist attack and an infectious disease epidemic."
These DNA Cops Make Sure Deadly Viruses Don’t Get Rebuilt
Genetic engineering could help produce more resilient crops and more effective vaccines. Some fear that it could also be used to make a biological weapon. Security experts, including Panel Executive Director Asha George, discuss the biological threat and efforts to combat it in this Forbes article.
This mock pandemic killed 150 million people. Next time it might not be a drill.
A recent day-long exercise hosted by Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, which counted Panel Member Senator Tom Daschle among its participants, mixed details of past disasters with fictional elements to force government officials and experts to make the kinds of key decisions they could face in a real pandemic.
Blue Ribbon Study Panel Presses Congress to Transform Medical Countermeasure Development
In letters to Congress, federal agencies and the White House, the Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense urges substantial changes to medical countermeasure development, partnerships and incentives. Congressional recipients of the letter included: the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions; the House Committee on Energy and Commerce; the Senate and House Committees on Armed Services; the Senate and House Committees on Agriculture; and the Senate and House Committees on Homeland Security.
America’s response to potential worldwide biological threats — either naturally occurring or imposed by terrorists — must evolve, experts told the Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense during its April 25 public meeting addressing current transnational biothreats and the global security efforts to combat them.
Plant Pathology Director Shares Wheat Blast Expertise With Blue Ribbon Study Panel
James Stack, Kansas State University professor of plant pathology and director of the Great Plains Diagnostic Network, discussed wheat blast and improving global food security at a panel with the Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense.
U.S. ‘A Lot More Fragile Than We Realize’ on Biothreats, Experts Warn
The nation is critically underprepared to confront transnational biological threats ranging from DIY bioterror agents to natural pathogens that outpace current pharmaceuticals and overwhelm medical facilities, the Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense heard at a Wednesday event at the Hudson Institute.
‘It’s all about preparedness,’ U.S. Congresswoman Brooks says
Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN) and U.S. Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA) will serve as co-chairs of the new bipartisan Congressional Biodefense Caucus, at a time when the country remains vulnerable to naturally occurring epidemics and pandemics that pose risks to both national security and public health. Read this interview with Rep. Brooks for details on the new caucus and her support for one of the Blue Ribbon Study Panel's recommendations.
Blue Ribbon Study Panel On Biodefense Warns Congress Against Delaying Federal Funds Tied To Comprehensive Strategy
With biological threats to America and its interests overseas increasing, waiting any longer to commit federal funds to national biodefense would not be in the best interests of the health and well-being of United States’ citizens, nor the country’s security, the Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense warned members of Congress.
Panel Finds Biodefense Budgeting Needs Major Overhaul Now
The report analyzes the funding process for America's defense against naturally spreading and weaponized pathogens, and issues recommendations for improving coordination and integration of biodefense spending.
Blue Ribbon Study Panel Receives $2.5 Million Grant to Advance Leadership and Reduce Catastrophic Risk
The grant allows the Panel to continue its leadership role in assessing our nation’s biodefense, issuing recommendations and advocating for their implementation, and identifying viable avenues for needed change to policy.
U.S. Cutting Global Disease Outbreak Prevention Efforts
Bill Gates thinks an infectious disease outbreak could kill 30 million people in the next decade - but the US is cutting efforts to prevent global pandemics. Read more in this article from the Business Insider with quotes from Panel Ex Officio Member George Poste.
Study Panel to Explore Challenges and Solutions for State & Local Response to Large-Scale Biological Events
Panel Members Secretary Donna Shalala and Representative Jim Greenwood convene a meeting in Miami on Jan 17, focused on the ability of state, local, territorial and tribal governments to respond to large-scale biological events.
Outbreaks of new and reemerging infectious diseases, coupled with an increasing biological threat from non-state actors, highlight the continued need for the U.S. to prioritize biodefense efforts. The Blue Ribbon Panel on Biodefense has noted that the U.S. remains underprepared for a catastrophic biological attack or global pandemic, and has highlighted the need for increased government coordination in biodefense.
U.S. Remains Unprepared for Agricultural Disease Outbreaks
No matter what their cause, major agricultural disease outbreaks put the nation at risk. See input from Ex Officio William Karesh of EcoHealth Alliance in article in Emergency Management, Preparedness & Recovery.
We must do more to protect our farms from terror threats
See article quoting the Study Panel, that the country is still “dangerously vulnerable to a biological event." We must do a better job of protecting
American agriculture from natural and man-made attacks. There can’t be national security without a secure food supply.
Animal Nutrition Sector Vulnerable to Agro-Terrorism – Interview with Ken Wainstein
The relentless escalation of terrorist attacks worldwide is omnipresent in our minds. The potential threat of agro-terrorism also remains real as the agriculture sector is seen as vulnerable, especially from an infectious disease standpoint. Read more in this interview with Panel Member and Former Homeland Security Advisor, Ken Wainstein.
Congress, learn from Zika and Ebola — Update US emergency fund
The public health community has been closely watching proposals for a badly needed public health emergency response fund. Read this article from
Jeff Schlegelmilch with important contributions to the conversation, especially as Congress considers the President’s FY18 request which includes such
Pandemic Threat: Is the world prepared for the next outbreak?
"Public health officials say the world is overdue for a pandemic that could kill 30 million people within a year." Read Bara Vaida's extensive and
well-researched article. Panel Co-Chairs Lieberman and Ridge are quoted several times.
Fighting an Unseen Enemy: Reducing the Pandemic Threat to Global Security
In the 21st century we are all connected, increasing the risk that familiar diseases will spread and mutate and new ones will emerge. Please join the Bipartisan Policy Center, Johnson & Johnson, and the Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense for an evening discussing Unseen Enemy — a documentary about the increased threat of epidemics — and the important policy challenges facing our country and our global allies.
Biodefense: Coordinating Our Response to Deadly Disease
"Another influenza pandemic like the Spanish flu (of 1918) would kill more people than an atomic bomb." Read Alice Hill's article examining the issue of pandemics and biodefense, including the Study Panel's efforts to date.
Global Health and the Future Role of the United States
This just-published National Academies of Science publication makes the case that global health security is national security and, it uses the Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense reports in support of its arguments.
Photo: The National Academies Press
Co-Director Carlin discusses biodefense and Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense.
Listen to Disaster Politics interview of Dr. Ellen Carlin as she discusses the broad continuum of biodefense and the work of groups like the Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense (@BiodefenseStudy) and EcoHealth Alliance (@EcoHealthNYC).
Senator Johnson urges development of comprehensive and robust strategy for defending nation from biological threats
Read the letter Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Ron Johnson sent to the Secretaries of Department of Homeland Security, Department of Defense, Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Agriculture.
The Growing Threat of Pandemics: Enhancing Domestic and International Biosecurity.
The threat posed by pandemics grows alongside increased globalization and technological innovation. Distant cultures can now be connected in a day’s time, and international trade links global health and economic prosperity. In this report, the Scowcroft Institute of International Affairs at The Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University details nine priority areas and accompanying action items that will help to address current pandemic response problems.
Bioterrorism, Pandemics, and Preparing for the Future
Watch the premiere of this important new public affairs special video featuring a discussion with Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense members on biological threats moderated by Max Brooks (scholar and author of World War Z)
During the May 1st Budget Reform for Biodefense: Leadership and Coordination meeting, speakers provided the Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense Panel members with an understanding of and recommendations regarding leadership, interagency coordination, and risk challenges to biodefense budgeting.
Daschle: Potential new role in biodefense for Mike Pence
There is a rule in Washington: Proximity to the Oval Office is power. That rule has become the fixed reality over many administrations through many decades. For this level of leadership to succeed, the Study Panel concluded that there is only one person with the stature and the necessary access to the president, his Cabinet and Congress. That is the vice president.
Photo: Courtesy of Baker Donelson
4 ways Congress can hit the reset button on disaster preparedness
Columbia University's Natonal Center for Disaster Preparedness: Recently, Congress passed a continuing resolution to fund the government through April of next year. The final bill also included $170 million to address some of the infrastructure issues causing the lead exposure in drinking water in Flint, Mich. In addition, disaster-affected areas such as those hit by Hurricane Matthew, the floods in Baton Rouge, and others were given $4.1 billion in disaster assistance.
Emergency trainees mistakenly exposed to deadly ricin
Because of yet another mix-up with bioterror pathogens, a federal terrorism response training center in Alabama says it mistakenly exposed more than 9,600 firefighters, paramedics and other students to a deadly toxin over the past five years.
Ridge & Lieberman: How Donald Trump Can Protect America from Bioterrorism
Leaders from more than 120 nations just concluded the Eighth Biological Weapons Convention Review Conference in Switzerland,
which focused on the threat posed by biological terrorism. During the conference, the U.S. delegation urged countries to reduce that threat by implementing strategies for detecting and responding to bioweapons. The United States needs to heed its own advice.
The country has been and continues to be ill prepared for a biological attack.
Blue Ribbon Study Panel applauds approval of Zika funding; Calls for shift in how U.S. budgets for infectious disease crises
The co-chairs of the Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense today applauded action by the United States Congress to reach a compromise on Zika funding, but also reasserted its desire to seek a total shift in how the U.S. budgets for infectious disease crises moving forward.
Panel received $1.3 million grant to advance leadership role on critical issues of national security
As the nation recalls the 15th anniversary of the deadly anthrax attacks that targeted the U.S. Senate and various media outlets, the Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense announced today it has received a $1.3 million grant from the Open Philanthropy Project.
Terrorism: An Electronic Journal and Knowledge Base
I am Asha George, the co-director of the Blue Ribbon Study Panel for Biodefense. I want to tell you just a little bit about the Study Panel because I think
it is worthwhile understanding it in a non-academic context.
Photo: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health
Wall Street Journal: How Presidents Can Blow It During a National Disaster
This summer’s bad news—floods in Louisiana, the spread of the Zika virus, police shootings, the threat of domestic terrorism—reminds us of
a central challenge for any president: what to do when disaster strikes. Rush to the site and roll up his (or her) sleeves? Trust state and local leaders
to handle the mess? Pick up the putter and finish that round of golf?
Photo: National Institutes of Health
NY Daily News: Lieberman & Karesh: Raising our biodefenses now
With the news from government officials that the Zika virus has now established itself in Florida and mosquitoes are transmitting it among people, we are
reminded that yet another infectious disease is moving faster than our response to it.
NY Daily News: Max Brooks: Imagine the Zika virus as a terror weapon
What if Zika, instead of originating in a Ugandan jungle, had been cooked up in a lab? What if, instead of traveling by mosquito, it had arrived in envelopes of white powder? What if, instead of simply being a public health emergency, it was the first shot in a biological attack? Of course it’s not, but the next time it might very well be.
Letter to Congress: Upton, Brooks, Alexander and Burr letter to Burwell on respecting BioShield Special Reserve Fund
We have closely followed the developments surrounding the emergence of the Zika virus and we are committed to making sure that Americans are protected
from the full range of threats we may face, whether naturally-occurring or man-made.