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U.S. Biodefense Spending to Increase

Global Security Newswire

The United States has spent or distributed more than $36 billion for biodefense since 2001, an amount expected to increase to $44 billion in fiscal 2007, the Center for Arms Control and Nonproliferation said in an analysis released last week (see GSN, Feb. 7).

The Bush administration is proposing in the next fiscal year to spend $8 billion for defenses against biological weapon, a hike of $120 million from spending approved by Congress for fiscal 2006 (Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation analysis).

The majority of funding — more than $26 billion through fiscal 2007 — has been directed toward development of countermeasures against pathogens and protective gear. Another $3 billion has probably been aimed at upgrading medical monitoring and environmental detection of weaponized agents, with $7.5 billion designated for preparing state and local agencies and hospitals for an attack.

“Only 2 percent of all federal bioweapons-related funding has been devoted to efforts to prevent the development, acquisition, and use of biological weapons by states and terrorists and other nonstate actors” the center said in a press release. “Stronger prevention efforts, including a commitment to broad cooperative international action, are essential for improving our nation’s security” (Center for Arms Control and Nonproliferation release, June 21).

The U.S. Health and Human Services Department is set to receive 82 percent of federal biodefense funds in fiscal 2007, according to an article by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Center for Biosecurity.

The budget request for civilian biodefense efforts is $5.24 billion, $112 million more than the fiscal 2006 request. Homeland Security is set to receive $180 million less it did in this fiscal year, a 31-percent decrease due to a one-time emergency allocation it received following Hurricane Katrina (University of Pittsburgh Center for Biosecurity release, June 20).