Biocrime and bioterror acts continue to occur; natural diseases continue to emerge and challenge the health of naïve populations; the life sciences and biotechnologies are moving forward at an unprecedented pace—generating knowledge and new tools for beneficial use that could be misused for nefarious purposes. In short, biological threats are evolving, our need to defend against them is growing, and our approach must reduce risks from specific known threats while providing capabilities that can promptly adapt to, and address, unanticipated threats.
The National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center (NBACC) is the first national laboratory created by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Its state-of-the-art, purpose-built biosafety level (BSL) 2, 3 and 4 laboratories provide the experimental capabilities in biocontainment that support our national security biodefense priorities. NBACC addresses unmet needs in homeland security and provides a continuously available national capability for newly identified biological threats. As a true interagency facility, NBACC brings DHS, federal law enforcement, defense, and other government partners together to better defend against high priority biological threats. This mission requires special attention to safety, security, and regulatory requirements. We are committed to maintaining a culture of safety and an environment where rules are followed and deviations from standard operations are reported, discussed, and the lessons learned are used for improvement.
NBACC has two separate centers to conduct science: the National Bioforensic Analysis Center (NBFAC) and the National Biological Threat Characterization Center (NBTCC).
The National Bioforensic Analysis Center (NBFAC) conducts bioforensic analysis of evidence from a bio-crime or terrorist attack and provide scientific data for law enforcement attribution investigations. NBFAC is designated by Presidential Directive to be the lead federal facility to conduct and facilitate the technical forensic analysis and interpretation of materials recovered following a biological attack in support of the appropriate lead federal agency. NBFAC maintains 24/7 availability, and NBFAC assays and processes are accredited to an international quality standard, ISO 17025.
The National Biological Threat Characterization Center (NBTCC) conducts studies and laboratory experiments to fill in information gaps to better understand current and future biological threats; to assess vulnerabilities and improve assessments of risk; and to determine potential impacts to guide the development of countermeasures such as detectors, drugs, vaccines, and decontamination technologies.