Location: Manhattan, KS
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, 16 pgs., 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. DHS S&T will leverage the facility as a national asset to fulfill homeland security mission needs.
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. Facility commissioning will be completed in May 2021, and the facility will be fully operational in December 2022. 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
As of November 2019, the $1.25B NBAF project is approximately 87 percent complete. The facility's main laboratory construction and commissioning activities were initiated in May 2015 and remain on schedule for May 2021 completion. The laboratory will not open until all necessary permits and registrations are received, which is scheduled to occur by December 2022. On June 20, 2019, officials from the USDA and DHS signed a Memorandum of Agreement (PDF, 16 pg., 165 KB) that formally outlines how the departments will transfer ownership and operational responsibility for the NBAF from DHS Science and Technology Directorate to USDA.
You may direct other specific inquiries related to DHS's role in NBAF to the following:
DHS S&T NBAF Program Manager
S&T DOR STOP 0217
Department of Homeland Security
245 Murray Lane, SW
Washington, DC 20528-0217