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Fact Sheet: National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center

Release Date: 02/24/05 00:00:00

General Overview

  • The Department of Homeland Security’s National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center (NBACC) will provide the nation with essential biocontainment laboratory space for biological threat characterization and bioforensic research.

  • The NBACC facility, managed by Homeland Security’s Science & Technology directorate in accordance with the Homeland Security Act of 2002 and the Homeland Security Presidential Directive entitled “Biodefense for the 21st Century,” will be located within the National Interagency Biodefense Campus at Fort Detrick, Maryland.

  • The programs conducted at NBACC will provide knowledge of infectious properties of biological agents, effectiveness of countermeasures, decontamination procedures, and forensics analyses to support policy makers and responders’ development of policies, programs, and technologies.

  • NBACC is part of a nationwide group of institutions that collectively are referred to as the Homeland Security Biodefense Complex.  The Complex includes the Plum Island Animal Disease Control Center, the Biodefense Knowledge Center, the national laboratories, and the university-based Homeland Security Centers of Excellence.

Composition of NBACC

 NBACC will be comprised of:

  • The National Bioforensic Analysis Center (NBFAC), is designated in Presidential Directive “Biodefense for the 21st Century, to be the lead federal facility to conduct and facilitate the technical forensic analysis and interpretation of materials recovered following a biological attack in support of the appropriate lead federal agency.  NBFAC conducts bioforensic analysis of evidence from a bio-crime or terrorist attack to attain a “biological fingerprint” to identify perpetrators and determine the origin and method of attack.

  • The Biological Threat Characterization Center (BTCC) will conduct studies and laboratory experiments to fill in information gaps to better understand current and future biological threats, assess vulnerabilities, conduct risk assessments, and determine potential impacts in order to guide the development of countermeasures such as detectors, drugs, vaccines, and decontamination technologies to protect the U.S. against these threats.

Facility Status

  • DHS completed the environmental planning and public review process for the construction of the NBACC facility with a Record of Decision on January 26, 2005.  It is anticipated that an architectural and engineering (A&E) contract will be awarded late March 2005 to allow groundbreaking to take place in the summer of 2006 and completion of the project in 2008.

  • A contract is scheduled to be awarded in March to begin design of the NBACC facility.

  • The gross space, or entire footprint, is expected to be about 160,000 square feet.  This includes administration areas, BSL- 2, 3 and 4 laboratory space, air handling equipment space, security controls, and other supporting features.

  • The anticipated number of researchers and support staff is approximately 120.

  • An interim capability for the NBFAC has been established in partnership with the FBI and the U.S. Army at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) at Fort Detrick.  Also, some threat characterization research and studies are being conducted in other established private and government laboratories, including USAMRIID.

The National Interagency Biodefense Campus

  • NBACC will be located on the new National Interagency Biodefense Campus at Fort Detrick.  The other agencies sharing the Ft. Detrick National Interagency Biodefense Campus are:
    • Health and Human Services’ National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), NIH
    • Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service and Foreign Disease-Weed Science Research Unit (FDWSRU), and the
    • Department of Defense’s U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID), USMRMC

  • Collectively, these laboratories have complementary scientific goals and will collaborate on developing a comprehensive understanding of biological agent characteristics (NBACC), elucidating the disease process (NIAID Integrated Research Facility) and developing products to reduce risks to human health and agricultural productivity (USAMRIID, USDA- ARS).  

  • The unique missions of forensics analyses and threat characterization will complement the mission responsibilities of the other agencies.  Coordination of these proposed activities takes place through an established Fort Detrick interagency committee.


updated February 24, 2005

This page was last reviewed/modified on 02/24/05 00:00:00.