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Center for Biosecurity Identifies Top Federal Biosecurity Jobs

BALTIMORE, MD -- December 01, 2004 -- The federal government's key biosecurity programs and positions are spread across several departments and agencies, making it increasingly difficult to organize and execute a national biosecurity strategy and its component programs, according to an article published by the Center for Biosecurity of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC).

The article, "Executive Government Positions of Influence in Biodefense: The Bio-Plum Book," appears in the December issue of Biosecurity and Bioterrorism. It is modeled on the "Plum Book," a list of top appointive positions in the federal government that is published every four years as a resource for incoming administrations.

The authors cite more than 75 positions with significant responsibility--program, policy, or budget, or some combination of the three--for biodefense and biosecurity at the federal level. The positions are spread across several departments, including the Departments of Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Defense, Agriculture, Commerce, and State and the Environmental Protection Agency and the White House. In addition to listing the positions and the current incumbent, the article identifies the type of position--whether Executive Schedule, noncompetitive Senior Executive Services, Schedule C--and the position's scope of authority.

"This period of transition in the Administration and Congress provides an important and necessary opportunity to analyze how government biosecurity strategy is set, how goals are articulated, and how programs are organized to meet these ends," said Dr. Thomas Inglesby, Deputy Director of the Center for Biosecurity of UPMC and a co-author of this report. "The danger in the kind of diffusion seen now in government biosecurity is that some initiatives that should be top priorities may have no evident government home, and others are scattered so that no program or official is clearly responsible or accountable."

The authors note that few of the top government biodefense positions have biodefense as their only or most important priority and that these positions are arrayed across a number of agencies. This diffusion of biodefense programs may present "particular challenges to efforts to design, implement, and oversee a coherent, coordinated, and efficient biodefense strategy."

Executive Government Positions of Influence in Biodefense: The Bio-Plum Book. Schuler A, Fitzgerald J, Inglesby TV, and O'Toole T. Biosecurity and Bioterrorism. December 2004.



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