Threats to U.S. Food and Animal Agriculture
The United States’ food and animal agriculture supply is a highly integrated, open, global, and complex infrastructure. Increased imports of agricultural products and growing numbers of international travelers to and from the United States have had positive effects, but have also opened our food and agricultural supply to possible foreign animal disease outbreaks. The recent global H1N1 outbreak and other regional foot-and-mouth disease outbreaks have demonstrated the vulnerabilities present when there is a lack of available vaccines, countermeasures, and other rapid response capabilities to curb an outbreak. The food and agriculture industry is a significant contributor to U.S. economic prosperity; therefore, the loss of a significant food market would have dire economic and potentially human health consequences.
Current and previous Administrations have affirmed these threats and the need to prepare and respond through Homeland Security Presidential Directive 9: Defense of United States Agriculture and Food (January 2004) and the National Security Strategy for Countering Biological Threats (November 2009). In addition, the Congressional report, The Clock Is Ticking, pointed to the likelihood of biological threats and advised the United States to “strengthen our resilience by developing the capability to produce vaccines and therapeutics rapidly and inexpensively.” To supply the needed capabilities, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) have the joint responsibility to protect our Nation’s animal agriculture and public health from these threats. The Department is leading these efforts through the construction of the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) in Manhattan, Kansas.
NBAF Site: Manhattan, Kansas
Manhattan, Kansas was selected as the NBAF location after an extensive three-year site selection process that included a thorough risk assessment, environmental impact assessment, and security assessment. The Manhattan location puts the NBAF in proximity to research of NBAF-related missions in veterinary, agriculture, and bio-security research expertise, and resources. This location also puts NBAF in proximity to a major hub of the veterinary pharmaceutical industry. The NBAF will be built on a site on Kansas State University adjacent to the existing Biosecurity Research Institute.
Read more about the NBAF site location in Manhattan, Kansas.
NBAF Mission and Research
NBAF will be a state-of-the-art biocontainment facility for the study of foreign animal, emerging and zoonotic (transmitted from animals to humans) diseases that threaten the U.S. animal agriculture and public health. NBAF will provide and strengthen our nation with critical capabilities to conduct research, develop vaccines and other countermeasures, and train veterinarians in preparedness and response against these diseases. For the past 50 years, the Plum Island Animal Disease Center (PIADC) has served our nation as the primary facility to conduct this research. However, PIADC is nearing the end of its life-cycle and needs to be replaced in order to meet U.S. research requirements and ensure the timely development of countermeasures in the event of an outbreak. NBAF meets that need and will serve as a replacement for the PIADC facility. Strategically, NBAF will boast of new and expanded capabilities, specifically, large animal biosafety level 4 (ABSL-4) containment for the study of high-consequence diseases affecting large livestock.
Specifically, NBAF will meet its mission by:
- Providing enhanced research capabilities to diagnose foreign animal, emerging and zoonotic diseases in large livestock
- Providing expanded vaccine and countermeasure development capabilities for large livestock
- Replacing and expanding research currently done at the PIADC in New York, and continuing the partnership between the Department and the USDA Animal Research Service (ARS) and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).
NBAF rests on a strategic partnership between DHS and USDA. These agencies set research priorities based on threats to animal agriculture, and conduct risk assessments, gap analysis and other necessary evaluations to protect our nation from threats to our animal agriculture and public health. Within the facility, DHS and USDA will continue the work of PIADC at NBAF to conduct research, diagnostics, vaccine development and testing, and training in preparedness and response for veterinary and animal agricultural specialists.
In December 2012, the federal government acquired the property where NBAF will be constructed. DHS awarded the NBAF central utility plant (CUP) construction contract in February 2013.
The NBAF will be a state of the art laboratory with critical research adjacencies for DHS and USDA to carry out their unique and congruent missions. NBAF will contain 574,000 gross square feet of facility space which includes BSL-2, 3, and 4 shared research space for the development of vaccines and other countermeasures. Approximately 10% of the space will be for BSL-4 research.
- Why Build a New Facility? No facility currently meets the requirements identified in Homeland Security Presidential Directive 9.
- Facility Research & Staffing describes diseases that would potentially be studied at the NBAF and staffing plans.
- Facility Design & Construction describes facility space requirements and contracts awarded for design and construction services.
NBAF Project Timeline and Transition from Plum Island
The timeline for designing, constructing, and operating the NBAF is as follows:
Environmental Impact Study
Determine Suitability of the Kansas Site
Record of Decision
Complete Site Selection
Develop Detailed Design
Prepare Site for Construction
Begin Construction of Central Utility Plant
Begin Construction of Main Laboratory Facility
Complete Facility Commissioning
To Be Determined
Select Agent Registration
Receive Select Agent Permit
To Be Determined
Begin Research and Vaccine Trials
To Be Determined
* Planned dates that are subject to change.
Once construction of NBAF is completed, the current mission activities at the PIADC will begin to transition to the new facility. The transition process is expected to take approximately two years.
The Department of Homeland Security is committed to open communication and providing stakeholders with access to pertinent information and relevant documentation regarding the planning, design, construction, and operation of the NBAF.
The Department is fully committed to providing the public access to information about the NBAF and opportunities for involvement. Please send inquiries to the address below
NBAF Program Manager
S&T DOR STOP 0217
Department of Homeland Security
245 Murray Lane, SW
Washington, DC 20528-0217