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Biotechnology is the integration of the life sciences and engineering with the goal of harnessing the power of biological molecules, cells, and even whole organisms for industrial, commercial, or other purposes. It comprises genetic, metabolic, tissue, and microbial community engineering, biopharmaceutical development, catalysis, bioleaching and bioremediation, selective plant and animal breeding, and other applications.

To counter threats of bioterrorism, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) must address issues such as

  • Misappropriation of biotechnological tools by state or non-state actors for offensive use;
  • Deterrence of state or non-state actors to misappropriate biotechnological tools for offensive use; and
  • Assessment of whether biotechnological tools that can be harvested to augment the defensive posture of the U.S.

Close and continuous evaluation and research into these issues strengthens the Department’s capability to make sound tactical and strategic decisions and inform policy, strategy, and investments to ensure that the United States not only continues to lead the innovation in biotechnology, but does so with a full understanding and preemptive mitigation of foreseeable risks—thus, enhancing public safety.

The Science and Technology Directorate’s (S&T) focus areas in biotechnology are:

  • Worldwide Developments in Biotechnology - We aim to monitor worldwide developments in biotechnology—and the life sciences more broadly—to fully understand new opportunities for U.S. adversaries to misappropriate developments for offensive use and to enable the U.S. to harvest them for defensive use.
  • Existing and Emerging Biological Agent Detection - We endeavor to strengthen homeland resiliency by developing capabilities that can quickly detect and identify potentially hazardous materials in environmental aerosol samples.





Learn more about us and discover how your organization can partner with S&T to make the homeland more secure.


Last Updated: 03/15/2024
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