2015 CPEO Military List Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <lsiegel@cpeo.org>
Date: Thu, 25 Jun 2015 18:09:49 -0700 (PDT)
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] BIOLABS: Defense Department's Infrastructure for Chemical and Biological Defense
Chemical and Biological Defense:
Designated Entity Needed to Identify, Align, and Manage DOD's Infrastructure

Government Accountability Office
June 25, 2015.

A key component of the 26 Department of Defense (DOD) organizations that constitute the Chemical and Biological Defense Program (CBDP) Enterprise is the chemical and biological defense research and development and test and evaluation infrastructure. After nearly 7 years, the CBDP Enterprise has not fully achieved its goal to identify required infrastructure capabilities. The Joint Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Defense Program Analysis and Integration Office (PAIO), CBDP's analytical arm, recommended in 2008 that the CBDP Enterprise identify required infrastructure capabilities, such as laboratories to research chemical and biological agents, to ensure alignment of the infrastructure to its mission. CBDP Enterprise officials recognize the importance, validity, and necessity of addressing the 2008 recommendation. The CBDP Enterprise has made limited progress in achieving this infrastructure goal because CBDP Enterprise officials told GAO that they were focused on higher priorities and had no CBDP Enterprise-wide impetus to address the infrastructure recommendations. The Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Defense Programs previously identified the need for an entity that has the responsibility and authority needed to ensure achievement of this goal, but DOD has not designated such an entity. By identifying and designating an entity with the responsibility and authority to lead infrastructure transformation, the CBDP Enterprise would be better positioned to achieve this goal.

The CBDP Enterprise has taken some actions at its laboratories to identify duplication in its chemical and biological defense infrastructure. DOD directives outline goals, such as to avoid duplication by using existing DOD and other federal agencies' facilities. As part of an ongoing study to identify required infrastructure, in July 2015 PAIO plans to inventory and analyze CBDP Enterprise infrastructure for potential duplication. However, study officials stated that they do not plan to identify, request, or consider information about infrastructure capabilities from existing studies of other federal agencies, such as the Department of Homeland Security, because their office does not have the authority or resources to require such information. By considering existing information, which would not necessarily require new authority, PAIO will have more information about existing infrastructure inventory across the federal government, such as its capability and potential availability for use.

The CBDP Enterprise used threat data and plans to use threat data and the results from risk assessments piloted in 2014 to support its future portfolio planning process to prioritize research and development investment. However, the CBDP Enterprise has not updated its guidance and planning process to fully institutionalize the use of risk assessments. Federal standards for internal control state that agencies should have written procedures to better ensure leadership directives are implemented. According to CBDP Enterprise officials, while updating the guidance would be beneficial, they had not committed to updating such guidance or established a time frame for doing so. By updating its guidance to fully institutionalize the use of risk assessments, the CBDP Enterprise would be better positioned to prioritize future research and development investments.


For the entire summary and a link to the full report, go to


Lenny Siegel
Executive Director, Center for Public Environmental Oversight
a project of the Pacific Studies Center
278-A Hope Street
Mountain View, CA 94041
Voice: 650-961-8918 or 650-969-1545
Fax: 650-961-8918

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