Billions for Biodefense: Federal Agency Biodefense Funding, FY20001-FY2005

Ari Schuler


Biosecur Bioterror. 2004;2(2) 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction

Over the past several years, the United States government has spent substantial resources on preparing the nation against a bioterrorist attack. This article analyzes the civilian biodefense funding by the federal government from fiscal years 2001 through 2005, specifically analyzing the budgets and allocations for biodefense at the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense, the Department of Agriculture, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Science Foundation, and the Department of State. In total, approximately $14.5 billion has been funded for civilian biodefense through FY2004, with an additional $7.6 billion in the President's budget request for FY2005.

The September 11 World Trade Center attacks and the subsequent anthrax mail attacks have made counterterorrism a central security issue in the United States, and the federal government has spent substantial resources over the past several years on preparing the nation against a bioterrorist attack in particular. The most conspicuous example of the federal government's commitment to counterterrorism is the formation of the new Department of Homeland Security (DHS), whose budget has increased from $19.5 billion in FY2002[1] to a proposed $40.2 billion in FY2005.[2]

To date, however, there has not been a clear accounting for, and analysis of, how civilian biodefense funding has been allocated and spent. Only one agency, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), publishes a comprehensive "biodefense spending" section in their annual budget. Other departments, such as DHS, publish partial information, and still others, such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), publish homeland security-themed spending reports. What is lacking is a centralized resource for tracking civilian biodefense budgets and spending.

This article identifies civilian biodefense budgeting and spending across the federal government and consolidates this information into one report. It provides budget information as presented by federal government agencies, either through published documents or via personal communications with their press and budget offices. We have not evaluated the value of programs or whether the goals of the programs have been met, and it should be cautioned that expenditures of money should not be used as indicators of success or failure. Rather, this article is a summary of government budget and funding information from FY2001 to FY2005.

All told, the government has spent approximately $14.5 billion on civilian biodefense from FY2001 to FY2004, with another $7.6 billion in the President's budget request for FY2005 ( Table 1 ; Figs. 1, 2). The two agencies primarily responsible for civilian biodefense are HHS and DHS, which together account for over 90% of budgeted civilian biodefense funds. Some agencies, such as the EPA, the Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the Department of Defense (DoD), also have been given substantial funding for civilian biodefense programs, with others, such as the State Department and the National Science Foundation (NSF), receiving some lesser amounts of funding for civilian biodefense programs. Going into FY2005, civilian biodefense spending is budgeted to be more than 18 times that of FY2001 ( Table 1 ).

Cumulative Civilian Biodefense Spending By Agency, FY2001-FY2005.

Civilian Biodefense Spending By Fiscal Year.


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