Artist’s rendering of the National Bio & Agro-Defense Facility under construction in Manhattan, Kan. (Department of Homeland Security)

2019 Budget: DHS to Hand Off Agro-Defense Lab to USDA

President Trump’s fiscal 2019 budget request would shift operational authority for the $1.2 billion National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility in Kansas from the Homeland Security Department’s Science and Technology Directorate to the Agriculture Department.

The transfer is part of the DHS agency reform plan field efficiency program realignments.

Also under the reform plan, “initiatives are being launched specifically to look at headquarters functions including planning, intelligence and management reform (e.g., cloud migration shared service delivery and the consolidation of network and security centers); aviation and maritime operations and support; future surge operations and the immigration lifecycle,” according to the DHS 2019 Budget in Brief.

“NBAF will be a state of the art biocontainment laboratory for the study of diseases that threaten both America’s animal agricultural industry and public health,” says the budget document.

DHS S&T will finish building the lab, which is slated for completion in 2021. USDA and DHS initially partnered on NBAF, with DHS S&T leading construction and USDA’s Agricultural Research Service and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service in charge of its research and diagnostic missions, The Mercury of Manhattan, Kansas, reported Feb. 18.

The NBAF is intended to replace the 64-year-old  Plum Island Animal Disease Center in Orient, N.Y., currently the only U.S. laboratory authorized to handle live foot-and-mouth disease virus, The Mercury reported. USDA and DHS use Plum Island for research, diagnostic testing, and training on major foreign animal diseases.

See more at The Mercury.

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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