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National Security Advisor to Center for Biosecurity of UPMC Appointed Executive Director of Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism

APRIL 16, 2009 – Baltimore, MD – Randall Larsen, the national security advisor to the Center for Biosecurity of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, has accepted an appointment as the executive director of the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism (WMD Commission).

The bi-partisan WMD Commission, led by former Senator Bob Graham (D-FL), Chairman, and former Senator Jim Talent (R-MO), Vice-Chairman, was established by Congress in response to the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation that the nation address the grave threat posed by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The WMD Commission interviewed more than 250 public and private sector experts in the U.S. and abroad to assess WMD threats and develop recommendations to reduce them. The  WMD Commission’s conclusions were published in December 2008 in the report, World At Risk (available at www.preventwmd.gov). The Commission was recently given a 1 year extension for its work.

According to Larsen, the WMD Commission will work to improve nuclear and biological security "by working with Congress and the Obama administration to get the Commission’s recommendations implemented, by providing briefings to senior leaders in both the public and private sectors on biological and nuclear security issues, and by communicating these critical national security issues to the American public."

Dr. Thomas Inglesby, Deputy Director of the Center for Biosecurity of UPMC, said of the appointment: “We are very pleased that Colonel Larsen has accepted this important new position with the WMD Commission. We have strongly commended the Commission for its recommendation that the country act more decisively and urgently to deal with nuclear and biological threats. Randy Larsen has the experience, leadership, and skill to help the Commission carry out the next critical phase of its work.”    

Prior to joining the Center for Biosecurity, Colonel Randall Larsen, USAF (Ret) served as the founding Director of the Institute for Homeland Security, as the Chairman of the Department of Military Strategy and Operations at the National War College, and as a Research Fellow at the Matthew B. Ridgway Center for International Security Studies, University of Pittsburgh. He is the author of Our Own Worst Enemy: Asking the Right Questions About Security for You, Your Family, and America (Grand Central, 2007) and co-hosts the weekly public radio show Homeland Security: Inside & Out (also broadcast on Federal News Radio, 1500 AM in Washington, DC).

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The Center for Biosecurity is an independent, nonprofit organization of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC). The Center works to affect policy and practice in ways that lessen the illness, death, and civil disruption that would follow large-scale epidemics, whether they occur naturally or result from the use of a biological weapon.

 

 

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