Pentagon official Andrew Weber discussed global biosecurity scenarios and measures during a panel discussion held at the Aspen Security Forum last week in Colorado, DoD News reported Monday.
Cheryl Pellerin writes that Weber — assistant defense secretary for nuclear, chemical and biological defense programs — said that materials used to make biological weapons or other weapons of mass destruction have become increasingly more accessible worldwide.
“This is why we have to get ahead of it,” he told the forum audience.
Weber has seen many international scientific laboratories that work on pathogens that cause plague, anthrax and other infectious diseases, according to DoD News.
“They’re public health labs, they’re veterinary labs, and security is not always high on their minds,” he added, according to the publication.
“So we as a global community need to do better.”
He also mentioned several global biosecurity efforts, including the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program and the Global Health Security Agenda.
Locally, the National Counterterrorism Center and the Special Operations Command are working to monitor and prevent WMD terrorism, Pellerin reports.
“It really is the national security challenge of the 21st century,” he said.
“And we need to make sure that we never have a situation like the one where the 911 Commission determined that there was a failure of imagination — that we didn’t connect the dots — because the stakes are too high,” Weber told his audience, according to DoD News.