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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


Biological threats, whether naturally occurring, accidental, or intentional, can have major impacts on global public health, the economy, and national security.

The National Biodefense Strategy (NBS or Strategy) and its implementation plan, directed by National Security Presidential Memorandum 14 (NSPM-14) released on September 18, 2018, set the strategic direction for the United States to combat these threats, whether they arise from natural outbreaks of disease, accidents involving high-consequence pathogens, or the actions of terrorists or state actors. NSPM-14 directs federal agencies, through a series of required annual activities, to implement the Strategy.

In its first year of implementation, the U.S. government (USG) conducted a foundational assessment of the federal biodefense enterprise by reviewing past, present, and planned efforts to address biological threats. Federal biodefense programs, projects, and activities reduce the risk of biological threats and make a difference at the state, local, tribal, territorial (SLTT), national, and international levels. Advances in the biodefense enterprise, such as new and improved vaccines, treatments, and diagnostics, have also improved the nation’s preparedness and response capabilities. However, despite these many achievements and notable successes, there remain gaps, shortfalls, and opportunities for improvement.

This public report provides an overview of the biological threat environment; describes the NBS and NSPM-14; summarizes the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Biodefense Assessment; provides examples of efforts to enhance biodefense including enabling risk awareness and preventing, preparing for, responding to, and recovering from bioincidents; identifies high-level federal priorities; and describes stakeholder engagement activities to date.

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  • This page last reviewed: September 25, 2020