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Friday, September 24th, 2021

Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense replaces name for Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense

The Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense, the newly renamed biodefense study panel group, more accurately reflects the earnestness and importance of the five-year-old organization’s mission, group leaders said today.

“We do not simply study the problem,” said Dr. Asha George, executive director of the Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense. “We conduct our activities with a self-imposed mandate and the same sort of urgency that congressional commissions demonstrate.”

Established in 2014 to assess the state of U.S. biodefense and to issue recommendations for change, the commission will continue to be led by its current co-chairmen: former U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman and former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, who also served as the nation’s first U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security.

“Moving forward,” George said, “our leadership team and unyielding focus remain unchanged.”

The new Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense name and accompanying logo were officially released this morning during the commission’s event, Cyberbio Convergence: Characterizing the Multiplicative Threat, a day-long meeting being held at the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C.

The meeting is designed to provide commission members with a better understanding of the convergence of cyber- and biological sciences (cyberbiosecurity); the vulnerability of pathogen and biomanufacturing data systems; biological risk mitigation; and the vulnerability of intellectual property and the national and global bioeconomy.

Academic, industry and law enforcement experts also will offer their perspectives, experiences, challenges, and recommended solutions regarding cyberbiosecurity, and discuss public and private-sector roles and responsibilities for cyberbiosecurity.   

During opening remarks, Ridge said that during its process of five years working to educate Congress and others on these issues, the group is “pretty proud of the work we’ve done,” but decided that they “needed to brand ourselves a little differently … showing where we are and where we intend to go.”

“We believe the bipartisan nature of our work is more important than ever,” George said in a statement. “Biodefense is an issue that crosses all party lines and ideologies. We advocate for change, for national leadership, and for the implementation of our National Blueprint for Biodefense. We will also look ‘beyond the Blueprint’ to address new biological threats, vulnerabilities and catastrophic consequences.”

The new website for the group can be found at https://biodefensecommission.org/ while the commission’s Twitter handle is now @BiodefenseComm1. The Hudson Institute remains the commission’s fiscal sponsor.