Biodefense Policy Landscape Analysis Tool

About the Biodefense Policy Landscape Analysis Tool v2.0

NOTE: THIS VERSION OF B-PLAT 2.0 WORKS BEST IN FIREFOX, CHROME OR SAFARI. IE IS NOT RECOMMENDED AT THIS TIME.

Outbreaks of new and reemerging infectious diseases, coupled with an increasing biological threat from non-state actors, highlight the continued need for the U.S. to prioritize biodefense efforts. The Blue Ribbon Panel on Biodefense has noted that the U.S. remains underprepared for a catastrophic biological attack or global pandemic, and has highlighted the need for increased government coordination in biodefense. Following the events of 2001, multiple policy directives and public laws were enacted, assigning enduring biodefense responsibilities to at least 16 different entities within the federal government. As a result, it is difficult to comprehend the full continuum of federal responsibilities.

In 2017, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) chartered an internally funded working group to capture relevant biodefense policy directives and sections of the U.S. Code in a format conducive to visualization. The resulting tool, the PNNL Biodefense Policy Landscape Analysis Tool, can be utilized to better understand the current state of the U.S. biodefense enterprise.

This Biodefense Policy Landscape Analysis Tool, version 2.0 includes enduring biodefense responsibilities from the following sources:

  • Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD) 9: Defense of United States Agriculture and Food
  • HSPD-10: Biodefense for the 21st Century
  • HSPD-18: Medical Countermeasures Against Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • HSPD-21: Public Health and Medical Preparedness
  • Presidential Policy Directive (PPD) 21: Critical Infrastructure Security & Resilience
  • 6 USC: Title 6 of the US Code, Domestic Security*
  • 7 USC: Title 7 of the US Code, Agriculture*
  • 42 USC: Title 42 of the US Code, The Public Health and Welfare*
  • 49 USC: Title 49 of the US Code, Transportation*
  • 50 USC: Title 50 of the US Code, War and National Defense*

In addition, version 2.0 allows a user to cross-reference responsibilities to the five goals of the 2018 National Biodefense Strategy, released on September 18, 2018.

Given the number of laws and directives relating to biodefense, and the complexity of the U.S. Code, the Biodefense Policy Landscape Analysis Tool is not intended to be a comprehensive reference of all biodefense and public health related responsibilities assigned to the federal agencies and departments, nor does it indicate which responsibilities are supported by corresponding appropriations or active programs. Rather, it is intended to educate the community on the current state of the biodefense enterprise.

One of the most difficult aspects of assembling the B-PLAT was determining what was ''in scope.'' Defining a ''responsibility'' may seem straightforward, but in practice, the language used in policy and Code is nuanced and sometimes obscure. As developers, we used a particular set of definitions and rules, and have captured them in the B-PLAT Taxonomy for reference.

The Biodefense Policy Landscape Analysis Tool 2.0 Development Team includes: Rachel Bartholomew (Lead/Project Manager), Kristin Omberg (Mapping Exercise Lead/Principal Investigator), Lyndsey Franklin (Visualization Lead), Larry Morgan, Cindy Bruckner-Lea, Karen Taylor, Flannery Currin, Michelle Dowling, Scott Dowson, Mia Feng, Sarah Frazar, Jessica Gray, Daniel Jackson, Mary Lancaster, Owen Leiser, Ann Lesperance, Rich Ozanich, Karen Wahl, John Wilson and Ellen Wynkoop.

Please contact Kristin Omberg (kristin.omberg@pnnl.gov) or Rachel Bartholomew (rachel.bartholomew@pnnl.gov) with any questions, comments, suggestions, or reports of typographical or transcription errors, which we will do our best to correct promptly!

*Sections of the US Code were parsed from 2017 pdf files obtained from the US Government Publishing Office’s Federal Digital System using a PNNL-developed text ingestion tool and sets of keywords customized for each section of code. More information can be obtained by contacting Kristin.

The B-PLAT v2 was last updated: 1.23.2019

This material was prepared as an account of work sponsored by an agency of the United States Government. Neither the United States Government nor the United States Department of Energy, nor the Contractor, nor any or their employees, nor any jurisdiction or organization that has cooperated in the development of these materials, makes any warranty, express or implied, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness or any information, apparatus, product, software, or process disclosed, or represents that its use would not infringe privately owned rights.

Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the United States Government or any agency thereof, or Battelle Memorial Institute. The views and opinions of authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the United States Government or any agency thereof.

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B-PLAT 2.0 Taxonomy

Last Updated: 1.23.2019

One of the most difficult aspects of assembling the B-PLAT was determining what was ''in scope'' and how to assign tags. Assigning a ''primary agency,'' for example, may seem straightforward, but in practice, the language used in policy and Code is nuanced and sometimes obscure. As developers, we used a particular set of definitions and rules, and have captured them here for reference. We acknowledge that other rules could have been applied, and the results would be equally valid. Questions specifically related to the taxonomy should be referred to Kristin Omberg (kristin.omberg@pnnl.gov) and Rachel Bartholomew (rachel.bartholomew@pnnl.gov). Both these developers spent hours agonizing over the definitions, and welcome additional input and perspective.

  • Biodefense: Biodefense was broadly defined to include activities designed to prevent, mitigate, detect, respond to, or recover from a deliberate release of a biological agent. All-hazards (e.g., CBRN) preparedness and response activities were included in the scope, as were activities that would support prevention, mitigation, detection, response to, or recovery from a deliberate release (for example, quarantine laws, control of foreign animal diseases). Seasonal influenza preparations, HIV prevention activities, and other general public health activities (e.g., diabetes control, efforts to counter addiction) were typically not considered in scope.
  • Responsibility: A responsibility was defined as a discrete part of the US Code, or a discrete part of policy, assigned to a particular entity. Broad policy statements, such as ''The US Government should...'', were not considered a ''responsibility'' unless a specific government entity was associated with the responsibility. ''Sense of the Congress'' statements from the US Code were included in some cases, with Congress tagged as the responsible entity.
  • Primary Agency: An agency was designated primary if the responsibility was explicitly assigned to the department/agency or its Secretary (e.g., ''The Department of Defense shall...''). If the responsibility was designated equally to multiple entities (e.g., ''The Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Homeland Security shall...''), both agencies were listed as primary.
  • Primary Agency Designee: If a responsible entity was identified within the primary agency (e.g., ''The Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response shall...''), it was captured as a primary agency designee.
  • Primary Subagency: If a subagency within the primary agency was explicity identified in the policy or Code (e.g., ''The National Institutes of Health shall...''), it was captured as the primary subagency. NOTE: the developers have not (yet) done a comprehensive evaluation of delegations made by, for example, Executive Order.
  • Other Agency or Agencies: An agency designated as a supporting agency (e.g., ''The Department of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Environmental Protection Agency...'') was captured as an ''other'' agency. (In the example given, EPA would be the ''other agency.'')
  • International: A responsibility was tagged as ''international'' if it contained an explicit reference to international activities or if its implementation would be reasonably expected to have a direct impact on other countries (e.g., import inspections, quarantine laws).
  • Scope: Seven scopes were assigned based on stakeholder input: human health, animal, plant, food, environment, critical infrastructure and water. These were assigned based on the scope of the activities delineated in the responsibility. When a specific scope was not delineated and the responsibility could reasonably be relevant to more than one scope, multiple scopes were assigned.
  • Activity: Five activities were assigned based on stakeholder input: intelligence, surveillance, forensics and/or attribution, countermeasures and research and development. These were assigned based on the activities delineated in the responsibility and were reasonably straightforward. ''Research and development'' was specifically defined as ''scientific research and development.'' Responsibilities that require analysis of policy alternatives, for example, were not tagged ''research and development.''
  • National Biodefense Strategy Goal and HSPD-10 Pillar: Alignment with the five National Biodefense Strategy (NBS) Goals and four HSPD-10 Pillars was established using the definitions and details in the NBS and HSPD-10. These were the most difficult tags to assign, as the strategies and the Code do not align in a discrete manner. Frequently, responsibilities were assigned to multiple goals or pillars.

HSPD-10 Pillars

The four pillars defined in HSPD-10 (Threat Awareness, Prevention & Protection, Surveillance & Detection, and Response & Recovery) may be used to organize the responsibilities. Each pillar involves multiple agencies and responsibilities.

You can investigate the links between the pillars, agencies, directives, codes, and responsibilities by moving the mouse over parts of the visualization below. You can also move the boxes representing them up and down to focus on different combinations. To fully visualize the Sankey diagrams, you may need to zoom in or out using your browser ('CTRL and +' or 'CTRL and –' on a PC; 'command and +' or 'command and -' on a Mac).

National Biodefense Strategy

The five goals of the National Biodefense Strategy organize responsibilities agross agencies.

You can investigate the links between the strategy goals, agencies, and responsibilities by moving the mouse over parts of the visualization below. You can also move the boxes representing them up and down to focus on different combinations. To fully visualize the Sankey diagrams, you may need to zoom in or out using your browser ('CTRL and +' or 'CTRL and –' on a PC; 'command and +' or 'command and -' on a Mac).

All Primary Agencies

Over 20 different entities are assigned responsibilities under the four pillars defined by HSPD-10.

You can investigate the links between the pillars, agencies, directives, codes, and responsibilities by moving the mouse over parts of the visualization below. You can also move the boxes representing them up and down to focus on different combinations. To fully visualize the Sankey diagrams, you may need to zoom in or out using your browser ('CTRL and +' or 'CTRL and –' on a PC; 'command and +' or 'command and -' on a Mac).

All Primary Agencies

Over 20 different entities are assigned responsibilities under the National Biodefense Strategy.

You can investigate the links between the agencies, strategies, and responsibilities by moving the mouse over parts of the visualization below. You can also move the boxes representing them up and down to focus on different combinations. To fully visualize the Sankey diagrams, you may need to zoom in or out using your browser ('CTRL and +' or 'CTRL and –' on a PC; 'command and +' or 'command and -' on a Mac).

Health & Human Services and HSDP-10 Pillars

The Department of Health & Human Services shares the role of Primary Agency with a number of other agencies across all four pillars defined by HSPD-10.

You can investigate the links between the HHS, pillars, and agencies by moving the mouse over parts of the visualization below. You can also move the boxes representing them up and down to focus on different combinations. To fully visualize the Sankey diagrams, you may need to zoom in or out using your browser ('CTRL and +' or 'CTRL and –' on a PC; 'command and +' or 'command and -' on a Mac).

Health & Human Services and the National Biodefense Strategy

The Department of Health & Human Services shares the role of Primary Agency with a number of other agencies across the National Biodefense Strategy.

You can investigate the links between the HHS, other agencies, and strategies by moving the mouse over parts of the visualization below. You can also move the boxes representing them up and down to focus on different combinations. To fully visualize the Sankey diagrams, you may need to zoom in or out using your browser ('CTRL and +' or 'CTRL and –' on a PC; 'command and +' or 'command and -' on a Mac).

Research & Development

Research and development responsibilities are assigned to multiple agencies across the National Biodefense Strategy.

You can investigate the links between the strategies, agencies, and responsibilities by moving the mouse over parts of the visualization below. You can also move the boxes representing them up and down to focus on different combinations. To fully visualize the Sankey diagrams, you may need to zoom in or out using your browser ('CTRL and +' or 'CTRL and –' on a PC; 'command and +' or 'command and -' on a Mac).

Research & Development and HSPD-10

Research and development responsibilities are assigned to multiple agencies and span all four pillars defined by HSPD-10.

You can investigate the links between the pillars, agencies, directives, public laws, and responsibilities by moving the mouse over parts of the visualization below. You can also move the boxes representing them up and down to focus on different combinations. To fully visualize the Sankey diagrams, you may need to zoom in or out using your browser ('CTRL and +' or 'CTRL and –' on a PC; 'command and +' or 'command and -' on a Mac).

Health and Human Services and Co-Primary Agencies

The Department of Health and Human Services shares its role as Primary Agency across the National Biodefense Strategy with a number of other agencies.

You can investigate the links between the HHS, agencies, and strategy goals by moving the mouse over parts of the visualization below. You can also move the boxes representing them up and down to focus on different combinations. To fully visualize the Sankey diagrams, you may need to zoom in or out using your browser ('CTRL and +' or 'CTRL and –' on a PC; 'command and +' or 'command and -' on a Mac).

Directives & Laws

Five Presidential Directives and four sections of U.S. Code have been captured in this version of the Biodefense Policy Landscape Analysis Tool. A directive or code may assign multiple responsibilities to multiple agencies.

You can investigate the links between the pillars, agencies, directives, codes, and responsibilities by moving the mouse over parts of the visualization below. You can also move the boxes representing them up and down to focus on different combinations. To fully visualize the Sankey diagrams, you may need to zoom in or out using your browser ('CTRL and +' or 'CTRL and –' on a PC; 'command and +' or 'command and -' on a Mac).

Responsibilities Index

This index contains the enduring responsibilities that have been assigned to a department or agency by 6 USC, 7 USC, 42 USC, 49 USC, 50 USC, and the five directives referenced on the "About" page. The filters in the index may be used to highlight interesting combinations of capability, activity, HSPD-10 pillar, scope, agency or agencies, and source. All responsibilities were assigned associated capabilities and activities, primary agency or agencies, scope and HSPD-10 pillar. Additional responsible agencies or subagencies and specific designees were added if specified but were not assigned to all responsibilities.

Faceted Responsibilities Browser- HSPD10 Pillars & Strategies

This faceted browser contains the enduring responsibilities that have been assigned to a department or agency by 6 USC, 7 USC, 42 USC, 49 USC, 50 USC, and the five directives referenced on the “About” page. The facets along the top allow you to select for any number of combinations of Source, Agency, and alignment with strategy. The toggle buttons allow you to narrow or broaden the responsibilities displayed by selecting one element of each facet ‘AND/OR’ another. For example, you may display all responsibilities assigned to the Department of Homeland Security AND the Department of Agriculture (a relatively small subset), or you may display all responsibilities assigned to the Department of Homeland Security OR the Department of Agriculture (a much larger set). Scroll down and click on a responsibility to view its details.

Faceted Responsibilities Browser- Agencies & Strategies

This faceted browser contains the enduring responsibilities that have been assigned to a department or agency by 6 USC, 7 USC, 42 USC, 49 USC, 50 USC, and the five directives referenced on the “About” page. The facets along the top allow you to select for any number of combinations of Source, Agency, and alignment with strategy. The toggle buttons allow you to narrow or broaden the responsibilities displayed by selecting one element of each facet ‘AND/OR’ another. For example, you may display all responsibilities assigned to the Department of Homeland Security AND the Department of Agriculture (a relatively small subset), or you may display all responsibilities assigned to the Department of Homeland Security OR the Department of Agriculture (a much larger set). Scroll down and click on a responsibility to view its details.

Document Library

This version of the Biodefense Policy Landscape Analysis Tool captures the enduring biodefense responsibilities from 6 USC, 7 USC, 42 USC, 49 USC, and 50 USC, many of which originated from these sources. Current versions of the U.S. Code may be obtained from the US Government Publishing Office.

PL 101-298 Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act, May 22, 1990

PL 102-182 Chemical & Biological Weapons Control & Warfare Elimination Act of 1991, December 4, 1991

PL 107-56 USA PATRIOT Act, October 26, 2001

PL 107-188 Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act, June 12, 2002

PL 107-296 Homeland Security Act, November 25, 2002

PL 108-276 Project BioShield Act, July 21, 2004

PL 109-417 Pandemic and All-Hazards preparedness Act, December 19, 2006

PL 110-53 Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act, August 3, 2007

PL 113-5 Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act, March 13, 2013

PL 115 Securing our Agriculture and Food Act, June 30, 2017

Compilation of Homeland Security Presidential Directives January 2008

National Security Presidential Memorandum (NSPD)-14 Presidential Memorandum on the Support for National Biodefense, September 18, 2008

National Biodefense Strategy, September 18, 2018