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National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility

NBAF: National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility

The National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) will be a state-of-the-art biocontainment laboratory for the study of diseases that threaten both America’s animal agricultural industry and public health. DHS S&T is building the facility to standards that fulfill the mission needs of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) which will own, manage and operate (PDF, 16pp, 165 KB) the NBAF once construction and commissioning activities are complete. The NBAF will strengthen our nation’s ability to conduct research, develop vaccines, diagnose emerging diseases, and train veterinarians. The NBAF will be a national security asset and will meet the needs of the homeland security mission.

The DHS Science & Technology Directorate will transfer ownership and operational responsibility for the new National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF), located in Manhattan, Kansas, to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in spring 2023.

For the latest information on the new NBAF facility, please visit the USDA’s NBAF web site at https://www.usda.gov/nbaf.

The United States currently does not have a laboratory facility with maximum biocontainment (BSL-4) space to study high-consequence zoonotic diseases affecting large livestock. The NBAF will be the first laboratory facility in the U.S. to provide BSL-4 laboratories capable of housing cattle and other large livestock. The NBAF will also feature a vaccine development module. For more information about the facility and intended use of its state-of-the-art features, please visit the USDA NBAF Program website.

DHS S&T leads construction activities for NBAF which remain underway. Current operations at the Plum Island Animal Disease Center (PIADC) will continue until the mission is transitioned to the NBAF.

The federal government will execute a plan to provide for seamless transition of the agricultural defense mission from PIADC to the NBAF that includes an overlap of operations to make certain there is no interruption of the critical science mission and operational capabilities.

In January 2020, USDA and DHS S&T signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to outline their ongoing strategic interagency partnership at NBAF focused on national security. The MOU establishes an initial framework for scientific collaboration and identifies current areas of opportunity for collaboration which include:

  • Threat Risk Assessment and Research Prioritization: To determine which transboundary, emerging animal diseases and zoonotic pathogens present the greatest risk to animal health, human health and national security. Outputs from this work will inform the process for research prioritization at NBAF.
  • Research and Collaboration:  To support the related USDA and DHS S&T food and agriculture missions including threat characterization and classified research; RDT&E involving biological countermeasures (vaccines, biotherapeutics and diagnostics); subject matter expert collaboration and information sharing; and partnerships.

Collaborative program areas may evolve over time. As a result, this MOU establishes a process for periodic review to ensure consistency with current missions and scopes of activities.

Current Project Status

View of the NBAF main entrance.

The $1.25B NBAF project is approximately 99 percent complete. The facility's main laboratory construction and commissioning activities were initiated in May 2015 and substantial construction was completed in June 2022. The laboratory will not open until all necessary permits and registrations are received. On June 20, 2019, officials from the USDA and DHS signed a Memorandum of Agreement (PDF, 16pp, 165 KB) that formally outlined how the departments will transfer ownership and operational responsibility for the NBAF from the DHS Science and Technology Directorate to USDA.

Our Impact

News Release: DHS S&T Seeks Information on Scientific Capabilities for Food, Agriculture and Veterinary Defense
News Release: DHS S&T’s NBAF Awarded Prestigious LEED Gold Certification


You may direct other specific inquiries related to DHS's role in NBAF to the following:

DHS S&T NBAF Program Manager
Department of Homeland Security
245 Murray Lane, SW
Washington, DC 20528-0217

Last Updated: 01/25/2023
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