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The White House, President George W. Bush

For Immediate Release
Office of Press Secretary
April 28, 2004

BioDefense Fact Sheet
Fact Sheet: President Bush Signs Biodefense for the 21st Century

"Bioterrorism is a real threat to our country. It's a threat to every nation that loves freedom. Terrorist groups seek biological weapons; we know some rogue states already have them.... It's important that we confront these real threats to our country and prepare for future emergencies."

President George W. Bush
June 12, 2002

PRESIDENTIAL ACTION

President Bush has made strengthening the nation's defenses against biological weapons a critical national priority from the outset of the administration -- investing over $10 billion since 2001. While significant progress has been made to protect America, President Bush instructed Federal departments and agencies to review their efforts and find new and better ways to secure America from bioattacks.

The result of this review is Biodefense for the 21st Century, a presidential directive that provides a comprehensive framework for our nation's biodefense. Biodefense for the 21st Century builds on past accomplishments, specifies roles and responsibilities, and integrates the programs and efforts of various communities -- national security, medical, public health, intelligence, diplomatic, agricultural and law enforcement -- into a sustained and focused national effort against biological weapons threats.

BIODEFENSE FOR THE 21ST CENTURY

Biodefense for the 21st Century outlines the essential pillars of our biodefense program and provides specific directives to further strengthen the significant gains put in place during the past three years.

BACKGROUND

Among the many efforts and programs already launched to confront the biological weapons danger, the administration has:

Many new programs have been launched to assure the development of vastly improved capabilities over the mid- and long-term. For example:

The across-the-board improvements to the nation's biodefense capabilities have vastly increased day-to-day security for all Americans, not only against threats posed by terrorists, but for medical response in the wake of natural catastrophes and in response to naturally-occurring biological hazards such as SARS.

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