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2020.11.01 Penn Wealth Report Vol 8 Issue 04

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command & control tactical Awareness Copyright 2020. All Rights Reserved. 01 nov 2020 penn wealth Report volume 8 issue 04 9 Biosecurity Biowarfare: e World's New Greatest reat Biological warfare, in some form or another, is about as old as war itself, but the pandemic will be the catalyst for a massive ramp-up in America's biosecurity effort. One of the most sobering exercises I took part in as a mem- ber of the United States Air Force was biological warfare training. At the unique series of blasts from the base sirens, we would hold our breath, grab our chem warfare mask, puff out as strongly as possible, and don the alien-looking headgear. During these exer- cises, which assumed a chemical/biological threat was imminent, we lived and worked in our chem suits, known as MOPP gear, complete with attached detection equipment which would alert users of the presence of biologic agents. I remember thinking, "dear God, I pray we never need to use this equipment in a real- world scenario." e Covid-19 pandemic, which would be called the Wuhan Virus were it not for the warped, politically-correct zeitgeist in which we live, may have originated in a wet market or in a BSL-4 pathogens lab, but one fact is irrefutable: ground zero was Wuhan, Hubei province, China. Actually, another fact is irrefutable: Communist Chinese author- ities could have contained the biological nightmare to the local area were it not for their own wanton, arrogant, selfish concerns. Communists. e Wuhan Virus made us think back to those days of living in our MOPP gear. It also made us recall the female Iraqi scientist known as "Dr. Germ," Rihab Rashida Taha al-Awazi, who performed unspeakable acts against living creatures as part of Saddam Hussein's biological weapons program. Dr. Germ, along with a counterpart nicknamed "Mrs. Anthrax" by US officials, was released from custody in 2005. How much con- fidence do we have in UN agencies such as the World Health Organization to track and monitor such nefarious actors? Would a nation actually unleash biologic weapons? We know that biowarfare research is taking place around the globe, but what are the odds that even a rogue nation would ever unleash such weapons against their enemies? When considering that question, it is important to consider the "accidental release" scenario. Evidence continues to mount that the pandemic did, indeed, come from Wuhan's BSL-4 lab, but that the infectious agent's release was accidental. If China, which is no doubt skilled in the study and handling of biological agents for potential use in warfare, could allow this accidental release, one must wonder about the safety protocols in place at similar facilities in North Korea and Iran. It is academic to ask whether or not such a nightmare would be unleashed on pur- pose or by accident—the horrific results would be the same. It is certainly within the realm of possibility that volatile nation-states such as North Korea or Iran would intentionally use biological weapons against their enemies. While the US has worked tirelessly—at least recently—to keep nukes out of the hands of these adversaries, both have active biowarfare pro- grams. And monitoring these programs is immensely more difficult than tracking nuclear weapons development. America's nascent biosecurity effort. One would certainly hope that the current nightmare the world is suffering through would foment a massive global effort to avoid a repeat, but history has shown us what short memories humans seem to have. And communist China will use its well- tuned propaganda machine to distort the truth and obfuscate the subject. Nonetheless, the US has been developing its own nascent but growing biosecurity program for the past two decades. Operation Dark Winter was a high-level bio-terrorist attack simulation conducted at Andrews AFB in June of 2001. e scenario was a smallpox attack on US cities which mushroomed into a national health emer- gency. e disturbing summary of findings from this exercise led to the creation of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) under the auspices of the US Department of Health and Human Services. BARDA's mission is to prepare for acts of bioterrorism and develop a series of potential responses and countermeasures. e organization also serves as an interface between the government and the biotech industry. On the heels of the current pandemic, we can expect America's biosecurity program to grow exponentially. As was the case with cybersecurity, we can also expect a number of new investment opportunities to arise as companies line up to join the effort. In the next Penn Wealth Report, we will outline some of the potential winners in this critical battle. MOPP (level) 4; Courtesy of the USAF

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