Bloomberg: United States to Establish Biodefense Council

Limited Military Capacities to Counter Biological Weapons, Superbugs, and Other Threats

18/08/2023 - 19:27

The US Department of Defense has established a biodefense council aimed at forecasting and responding to health-related emergencies, as reported by citing Bloomberg.

Acknowledging their limited capabilities in responding to threats such as biological weapons, superbugs, artificial intelligence, and others, the US military has initiated the creation of a biodefense council comprising several high-ranking officials. This council will advise the US Secretary of Defense and coordinate domestic and international efforts in forecasting and managing emergencies.

"Often, the Pentagon learns of health crises from partners in the field, rather than intelligence, and the military requires more reliable intelligence and early signals to identify issues. Due to technological advancements and the spread of disinformation, it is increasingly challenging to determine the source of an outbreak. Currently, the military cannot easily distinguish a biological attack using viruses or bacteria from a natural outbreak or a laboratory incident," the statement reads.

For foreign states and terrorists, the production of hazardous pathogens on a large scale has become easier and more cost-effective due to advancements in biology, data science, artificial intelligence, and manufacturing technologies. Among the threats that the Pentagon is closely, monitoring are the capabilities of Russia, North Korea, Iran, and China.

The Pentagon aims to train military personnel to respond to such incidents and establish stockpiles of essential supplies, such as personal protective equipment. It seeks to enhance intelligence sharing and cooperation with US allies, and create a biowatch data center that aggregates information from wearable devices, medical records, wastewater samples, and genome sequencing data. This center will also be tasked with expanding research into new vaccines and treatment methods for yet-undiscovered threats. To fund these endeavors, the Pentagon has additionally requested $2 billion for the year 2024 from the budget.



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