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National Bio and Agro-defense Facility

About the facility

With the arrival of the National Bio and Agro-defense Facility (NBAF), Kansas State University is cementing its reputation as a national leader in protecting U.S. agriculture — crops, livestock — and food from global biothreats, while safeguarding people from zoonotic animal diseases and foodborne pathogens. NBAF will attract even more of the best and brightest scientists to Manhattan and, hopefully, further accelerate collaboration among researchers focused on U.S. bio/agrodefense - a critical national security need.

The year after September 11th and the anthrax attacks in 2001, al Qaeda's bio/agroterrorism plans were discovered in a cave in Afghanistan; plans for bioweapons targeting not just people, but crops and livestock as well. Consequently, greatly improved bio/agrodefense research was mandated by Homeland Security Presidential Directive/HSPD-9, Defense of United States Agriculture and Food, January 30, 2004.  Six essential components for protecting agriculture and food were delineated therein (A-F in the graphic below); all are vital. HSPD-10, Biodefense for the 21st century, April 28, 2004, focused on human biothreats. 

HSPD-9

Click here for a 2-page overview of the six major requirements of HSPD-9. 

Public Law 115-43, Securing Our Agriculture and Food Act, in 2017 amended the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to codify HSPD-9-related mandates for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in federal statute. The DHS-specific bio/agrodefense requirements can be seen in the HSPD-9 overview above, while statutory requirements for the DHS Secretary are highlighted in the graphic below.

DHS Mandate

Additionally, when the 2018 National Biodefense Strategy was released by the white House, Sept. 18, 2018, National Security Presidential Directive/NSPM-14 was issued as well. As noted therein, HSPD-9 remains in force, while its human health counterpart, HSPD-10, was superseded and replaced.

NSPD-14

U.S. bio/agrodefense is not just about protecting America; it's about global food security as well. Although the USDA graphic below is from 2010, it illustrates the significance of U.S. agriculture to feeding the world. The contribution today might be somewhat less, but much of the world still relies on U.S. food production.

World According to Ag

The university's Biosecurity Research Institute — a biosafety level-3 facility — is jump-starting the bio/agrodefense research planned for NBAF even before it becomes operational. Protecting America from global biothreats cannot wait for NBAF construction to be completed

NBAF will attract private biotechnology companies and scientists to the Manhattan community, and is expected to bring an additional 40 businesses and laboratories and generate an economic return of $3.5 billion in its first 20 years.