In a new analysis released on April 15th,  the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation is reporting that the U.S. government has spent or allocated over $48 billion to address the threat of biological weapons since September 2001. However, funding to monitor “dual use” concerns is virtually non-existent, a mere one million dollars.

For you consideration:


$9 Billion for Bio Weapons Prevention and Defense in 2009, Total Spending Since 2001 Over $57 Billion


Since the 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, the U.S. government has spent or allocated nearly $50 billion among 11federal departments and agencies to address the threat of biological weapons. For Fiscal Year 2009 (FY2009), the Bush Administration proposes an additional $9 billion in bioweapons-related spending, approximately $2.5 billion (39%) more than the amount that Congress appropriated for FY2008. New U.S. funding for bioweapons-related activities focuses primarily on research, development, and acquisition of medical countermeasures. Additionally, significant increase in defense funding goes to purchasing protective equipment, enhancing medical surveillance and environmental detection of biological weapons agents, and improving state, local, and hospital preparedness.

The increase in bioweapons related funding in FY2009 is primarily attributed to Project BioShield, a ten-year program to acquire medical countermeasures to biological, chemical, radiological and nuclear agents for civilian use, which will receive an additional $2.175 billion as a result of FY2004 legislation. However, a notable change in funding also appears in the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) within the Department of Health and Human Services, which more than doubles in FY2009. Finally, funding for activities aimed at prevention has more than doubled since FY2007. Further strengthening of prevention efforts, including a commitment to broad cooperative international action, is essential for improving our nation’s security.

Annual bioweapons-related funding for the following departments and agencies from FY2001 to FY2009 is summarized in Table 1: the Departments of Agriculture (USDA), Commerce, Defense (DOD), Energy (DOE), Health and Human Services (DHHS), Homeland Security (DHS), State, Veterans Affairs (VA), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the United States Postal Service (USPS). Table 1 also includes funding for Project BioShield.

Cumulative total funding by agency for the entire FY2001 to FY2009 period ($57.02 billion if the FY2009 request is funded in full) is illustrated in Figure 2, with DHHS funding broken down into its constituent agencies and offices (Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Office of the Secretary (OS). Over 90% of all bioweapons-related funding goes to three lead departments: Health and Human Services, Defense, and Homeland Security (through which Project BioShield is funded).

In contrast to other preparedness efforts, biodefense research, development, testing, and evaluation (RDT&E) can be dual-use in nature: scientific knowledge, methods, and materials that can be used to protect against biological weapons can often also be used to develop biological weapons. The dual-use problem has become a significant national and international policy concern. In the United States, the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) has been established under the auspices of the NIH, with ex officio representation from 16 Federal departments, agencies, and offices, in order to “provide advice, guidance, and leadership regarding biosecurity oversight of dual use research” to the Secretary of DHHS, the Director of the NIH, and the “heads of all federal departments and agencies that conduct or support life science research.”

Cumulative funding for biodefense RDT&E from FY2001 through FY2009 is nearly $24 billion, over 40% of all bioweapons related funding since FY2001 (Table 2). Of this, approximately $2.4 billion has thus far been spent, allocated, or requested for improving existing or building at least 20 new high containment research facilities around the country, including 7 new biosafety level 4 (BSL-4) facilities for conducting work on dangerous pathogens such as the Ebola viruses and other hemorrhagic fever viruses. The Departments of Defense and Homeland Security are expected to request up to another $1 billion over the next five years for two of these BSL-4 facilities.


The complete analysis is available online.