May 10, 2009 - Working Group on Strengthening the Biosecurity of the United States

The Working Group on Strengthening the Biosecurity of the United States is held a public consultation meeting on May 13-14, 2009, at the Hyatt Regency Bethesda, 7400 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland.

The Working Group on Strengthening the Biosecurity of the United States was created on January 9, 2009, through Executive Order 13486. The focus of the Working Group, which is co-chaired by officials from the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Defense, is physical/ facility security and personnel reliability of those entities and persons who handle, store or transport Select Agents. The Working Group is expected to review existing policies and practices in place at Federal and non-Federal facilities that conduct research on, manage clinical or environmental laboratory operations involving, or handle, store or transport biological select agents and toxins. By July 9, 2009, the Working Group must issue a report to the President containing recommendations for any new legislation, regulations, guidance, or practices for security and personnel assurance and options for establishing oversight mechanisms. The report will also include a comparison of personnel security and reliability programs for access to biological select agents and toxins to similar programs in other fields and industries.

This public consultation allowed the Working Group to obtain individual input from members of the public and scientific community onimportant aspects of biosecurity and personnel reliability.Panelist presentations and discussions at the meetingwill focus on a series of questionsabout which the U.S. Government would like to solicit specific comment.

The topics explored during the meeting focus on:

  • Select Agent Regulations
  • Physical Security of Select Agents
  • Oversight and Inspections
  • Transportation of Select Agents
  • Personnel Security and Reliability
  • Culture of Security and Responsibility