Biodefense Policy Landscape Analysis

PNNL scientists designed a tool to help stakeholders assess the nation's preparedness for biological-based dangers, also known as biothreats. 

BPLAT

The Biodefense Policy Landscape Analysis Tool (B-PLAT) captures and visualizes information about U.S. policy and law that  protect its citizens and others around from intentional biological attacks. 

Design

Use the Biodefense Policy Landscape Analysis Tool online at http://bplat.pnnl.gov

Created by PNNL scientists Rachel Bartholomew and Kristin Omberg, B-PLAT incorporates information from biodefense-related policy documents, including presidential directives and the U.S. Code. These documents spell out more than 400 duties and responsibilities on the part of 22 federal departments and agencies in the realm of biodefense.

The current version of B-PLAT  features 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 21: Critical Infrastructure Security & Resilience
  • 6 USC: Title 6 of the U.S. Code, Domestic Security
  • 7 USC: Title 7 of the U.S. Code, Agriculture
  • 42 USC: Title 42 of the U.S. Code, The Public Health and Welfare
  • 49 USC: Title 49 of the U.S. Code, Transportation
  • 50 USC: Title 50 of the U.S. 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.

Operations

B-PLAT pulls biodefense policy information into one place to visually navigate the mass of information with ease. For example, a user can quickly see which agencies are responsible for certain actions that ensure food security or internationally relevant activities. Or, the user can sort which directives and sections of code have been enacted to protect against potential terrorist attacks or mitigate the effects of infectious disease through the development of medical countermeasures.

Thousands of biothreat combinations are easily sorted with clickable boxes and links that enable a user to drill down to specific topics of interest. From there, the user can sort the strands of relevant information that link areas of concern, agencies, code and directives, and other information. The tool also offers a storehouse of details that display when a user hovers the cursor over a topic of interest.

The tool is free to use and available to scientists, government officials, and others interested in protecting people from biological-based threats.

To learn more, watch from BPLAT co-creator Kristin Omberg speak about biodefense at the Northwest Science Media Workshop in 2020. 

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