The Department of Defense (DoD) has released the Biodefense Posture Review, outlining reforms aimed to posture the department to fight and win in the face of future biothreats.
“The Biodefense Posture Review was a whole of DoD effort,” said Sasha Baker, Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Policy. “The biodefense enterprise came together during COVID-19 response efforts, and building on that collaboration, developed guidance to achieve National Defense Strategy priorities and address biological threats, especially those with strategic consequences for the U.S. military.”
“We face an unprecedented number of complex biological threats,” said Deborah Rosenblum, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Defense Programs. “The Biodefense Posture Review fully assesses the biological threat landscape through 2035. This review outlines significant reforms and lays the foundation for a resilient total force that deters the use of bioweapons, rapidly responds to natural outbreaks, and minimizes the global risk of laboratory accidents.”
The Under Secretaries of Defense for Policy and Acquisition and Sustainment led the review, which brought together components of the office of the Secretary of Defense, combatant commands, and military services that have distinct roles and authorities for deterring, responding to, and protecting the force from bioincidents.
“We’re increasing collaboration and synchronizing efforts across the DoD enterprise—everything from policies and authorities, to research, acquisition, and investments—to meet the department’s biodefense requirements,” said William LaPlante, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment. “One of the most important reforms in the Biodefense Posture Review that we have already institutionalized is the Biodefense Council.”
The Biodefense Council will build on the intense collaboration of the DoD biodefense enterprise over the past several years and will synchronize and integrate authorities and responsibilities to provide a more empowered and collaborative approach to biodefense.
“The Biodefense Posture Review and the Biodefense Council will further enable the Department to deter biological weapons threats and, if needed, to operate in contaminated environments,” said John Plumb, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy. He adds, “As biological threats become more common and more consequential, the BPR’s reforms will advance our efforts not only to support the Joint Force, but also to strengthen collaboration with allies and partners.”
The BPR emphasizes the need for the combatant commands and services to improve readiness through training and exercises to identify and report capability shortfalls, aiding in the prioritization of the department’s modernization efforts.