Will the U.S. Keep Buying Medicine for ‘Black Swan’ Attacks? | GSN | NTI

Congress will weigh this year whether to continue spending billions of dollars on antidotes for attacks seen as relatively unlikely, but potentially devastating.

Lawmakers helped to establish Project Bioshield in 2004 to incentivize otherwise unprofitable work on treatments for exotic possible terrorism tools, such as anthrax and botulinum toxin. In coming months, though, the decade-old initiative could face unprecedented scrutiny of its funding, in part due to a dearth of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear attacks in the United States since its launch, says a newly published Congressional Research Service report.

“Congressional policymakers could decide not to fund Project Bioshield,” analyst Frank Gottron said in the assessment. “Given the continued absence of any [WMD] terrorist attacks in the United States since 2001, [they] could deem that the perceived risk of an attack no longer justifies [the] continued investment.”

“Alternatively, policymakers could deem other, more conventional, countermeasure procurement methods sufficient or more efficient than Project Bioshield and redirect funding to those programs,” Gottron wrote.

Source: www.nti.org