One of the key  issues surrounding the NBAF is the true purpose of the facility. The DHS continues to maintain the NBAF will not be used for the development biological weapons.  When questioned on whether or not the NBAF will produce biological weapons, their sole argument that bio-weapons will not be produced rest with the terminology found in a 36 year old treaty, the Biological  Weapons Convention  better known as the BWC.  One issue of importance that is  ignored is the fact that when the BWC was enacted certain technologies did not exist.

Genetic engineering research did not exist.  It can be used for both defensive and offensive research and within these research advancements lies the blurring of the terms put forth by the BWC.
Consider this from the National Bio Defense Analysis and Countermeasures Center. “The US Department of Homeland Security’s threat assessment targets Smallpox, Bubonic Plague, Botulism and Ebola”.
These are pathogens which may be “weaponized.” They are not agricultural diseases.  They are pathogens and toxins which have no known cure and cause human illness and death. That is why they are labled as BSL4  select agents.
Here is another quote from the presentation, “Department of Homeland Security labs will engage in acquiring, growing, modifying, storing, stabilizing, packaging and dispersing biological agents”.  
These activities by nature are dual use, both defensive and offensive.  There are many reasons to be critical of the NBAF.  From the  history of Plum Island to the lax reporting of accidents and safety violations of existing facilities but the most pressing question of bio- weapon proliferation has yet to be answered.
Presidential directive 9 is often mentioned as an outline for the “purpose” of the NBAF,  but one rarely mentioned directive may be more pertinent, Presidential Directive 10, “Biodefense for the 21st Century”. The term bioweapon is used throughtout the directive.
For you consideration, I have included links and excerpts of news articles and opinion pieces on the current policy issues surrounding the BWC. 
Explore and research further for yourself and you too will see just how deep the rabbit hole goes.
The United States is a signatory to nine multilateral treaties that it has either blatantly violated or gradually subverted. The Bush Administration is now outright rejecting a number of those treaties, and in doing so places global security in jeopardy as other nations feel entitled to do the same.
The rejected treaties include: The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), the Treaty Banning Antipersonnel Mines, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), a protocol to create a compliance regime for the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, and the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM). The U.S. is also not complying with the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the Chemical Weapons Commission (CWC), the BWC, and the UN framework Convention on Climate Change.
U.S. actions have similarly led to a dangerous weakening of the Biological Weapons Convention. As recently as November 2002, Bush administration continued to quash negotiations on verification and enforcement measures needed to detect and prevent violations to the BWC. Then, the U.S. announced its intention to build and operate bio-warfare agent facilities at its two premier classified nuclear weapons laboratories, Lawrence Livermore in California and Los Alamos in New Mexico. The co-location of bio-warfare agent and nuclear weapons design capabilities is proceeding without Environmental Impact Statements, public hearings or proliferation reviews.
Many good resources for further study are available from non-governmental organizations and on the web. Tri-Valley CAREs’ site is The “Rule of Power or Rule of Law?” report was written by the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research ( and the Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy ( In 2003, Apex Press released an expanded book-length version under the same title, with Nicole Deller, Arjun Makhijani and John Burroughs.


The United States Army has developed and patented a new grenade that it says can be used to wage biowarfare. This is in violation of the Biological Weapons Convention, which explicitly prohibits development of bioweapons delivery devices.

US Patent #6,523,478, granted on February 25th 2003, covers a “rifle launched non lethal cargo dispenser” that is designed to deliver aerosols, including – according to the patent’s claims – “crowd control agents, biological agents, [and] chemical agents…

The development of biological weapons delivery devices is absolutely prohibited – “in any circumstance” – by Article I of the 1972 Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, to which the US is a party. There is no exemption from this prohibition, neither for defensive purposes nor for so called non-lethal agents.

The development of weapons for biological payloads produces great uncertainty about the US commitment to the Biological Weapons Convention.” says Edward Hammond of the Sunshine Project US, “Thirty four years after the US renunciation of biological weapons, the Pentagon is back in the bioweapons business.

This follows a string of decisions by President Bush to reject other treaties, such the Kyoto agreement on global warming.Experts are also concerned that the Americans are opposing moves to toughen up the treaty to protect its own biological defence programme, as well as the US pharmaceutical industry.”I think the protocol of biological weapons may be great on paper but it’s very different going to execution… Saddam Hussein has kept us out of doing any inspections, I think it’s for the last three years, and that makes a mockery of those kind of conventions,” he said.
  • William Boyle – The Silence is Poisonous   
  • The article is a review of a book titled: Biowarfare and Terrorism” by Francis A. Boyle

“What makes Boyle’s book so important is that the man, almost single-handedly was responsible for all the major legislation, both domestic and international covering the outlawing of biological weapons, in particular the Biological Weapons Convention and the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989.”

The BWC does not cover genetic engineering research, the science didn’t exist when the BWC was enacted, and the same genetic engineering research can be put to both defensive and offensive uses. The line between ‘research’ and development is extremely blurred but according to Article 1 of the BWC, the development of bioweapons is prohibited. One way of determining whether the line has been crossed is whether the bio-agents have been aerosolized for delivery as most bioweapons are designed to be ‘delivered’ through the air.

 And it was here that the role of universities and research institutes across the US came into their own, with billions of dollars of genetic engineering contracts handed out, all under the guise of dual-use, defensive-offensive “research”. The programme was called the “Biological Defense Research Programme or BDRP Under Bush Jr, the programme became the Chemical and Biological Defense Program.

THE US military wants to buy large quantities of anthrax, in a controversial move that is likely to raise questions over its commitment to treaties designed to limit the spread of biological weapons.

A series of contracts have been uncovered that relate to the US army’s Dugway Proving Ground in Utah. They ask companies to tender for the production of bulk quantities of a non-virulent strain of anthrax, and for equipment to produce significant volumes of other biological agents.

This article briefly analyses reasons for the US rejection of a Verification Protocol for the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC), and describes implications for future talks on a strengthened bioweapons ban US opposition to a BWC Verification Protocol can be analysed from two perspectives. First, there are factors specific to biological weapons that contributed to a rejection of a verification mechanism by the Bush administration.

 Second, the shift in the United States’ general attitude towards multilateralism, arms control, and multilateral non-proliferation regimes after the Bush administration took office affected Washington’s approach to the control of bioweapons. This article looks at both issues separately and describes implications for future talks on a strengthened BWC as well as for other arms control measures.