Department of Homeland Security (DHS) strategic responsibilities related to the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center (NBACC) mission in biodefense are captured in legislation, Presidential Directives and Strategies, national planning documents and DHS strategy and planning documents (e.g., 2014 Quadrennial Homeland Security Review, DHS FY14-18 Strategic Plan, DHS S&T Strategic Plan 2015–2019, and 2016 Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency Strategic Plan). The President’s 2018 National Biodefense Strategy states, “Biological threats—whether naturally occurring, accidental, or deliberate in origin—are among the most serious threats facing the United States and the international community….America’s biodefense enterprise needs to be nimble enough to address emerging infectious disease threats, the risks associated with the accelerating pace of biotechnology, and threats posed by terrorist groups or adversaries seeking to use biological weapons.” Five strategic goals were identified—NBACC has a role supporting DHS in preparing for and responding to four of the five:
- Enable Risk Awareness to Inform Decision-Making Across the Biodefense Enterprise;
- Ensure Biodefense Enterprise Capabilities to Prevent Bioincidents;
- Ensure Biodefense Enterprise Preparedness to Reduce the Impacts of Bioincidents; and
- Rapidly Respond to Limit the Impacts of Bioincidents
The President identified the national security requirement that biodefense be available and applicable to the risks associated with natural outbreaks of disease, accidents with high consequence pathogens, and deliberate use by adversaries who wish to do harm with biological agents. This includes enabling effective response to and recovery from priority biological incidents and maintaining mission-essential functions during and after biological incidents as stated in the 2014 Quadrennial Homeland Security Review. DHS domestic leadership responsibilities also provide NBACC requirements in support of DHS Components, Federal Law Enforcement, and other federal agencies across the Homeland Security Enterprise (HSE).
The NBACC mission is to provide the Nation with the scientific basis for characterization of biological threats and bioforensic analysis to support attribution of their planned or actual use.