February 02, 2023

CNAS Biotech Task Force Issues Statement of Purpose

CNAS Biotech Task Force Issues Statement of Purpose

Washington, February 2, 2023—Today, the CNAS Task Force on Biotechnology and American Competitiveness issued a statement of purpose to define its research focus in the dynamic field of biotech policy.

Established in November 2022, the CNAS Biotech Task Force develops pragmatic policy recommendations to address acute biosecurity challenges such as bioterrorism and bolster American competitiveness across the biotechnology landscape.

The Task Force is comprised of national security leaders and technical experts from government, industry, and academia. The Task Force recently welcomed Peter L. Levin, co-founder and CEO of Amida Technology Solutions, as its newest member. Levin joins a team of leading professionals who are dedicated to promoting long-standing American competitiveness in the field of biotechnology.

The full statement of purpose is available below:

Biotechnology is primed to transform global society and the geopolitical landscape. Breakthroughs in areas including synthetic biology and genomic editing, next generation pharmaceuticals, and bioinformatics are already revolutionizing how we build and manufacture, treat and prevent illness, grow food, generate and store energy, and tackle existential threats from pandemics to climate change. Some advances have the potential to open new domains and capabilities in warfare, such as human performance enhancement and medical care, or for misuse by adversaries, such as with biological weapons.

At present, the United States is the global leader in biotechnology. That leadership is increasingly challenged, however. Many countries, friends and foes alike, seek to leverage biology to gain an edge–economically, politically, and militarily. The implications for the United States of falling behind in biotech are profound. At stake is the ability to drive and shape the global economy by upending old industries and creating entirely new ones. There are also key implications for national security and societal resilience, such as the ability to strengthen supply chains and mitigate threats posed by pandemics, biodiversity loss, and climate change.

America’s leaders must act to ensure that the United States can maximize its potential to reap the promise and tackle the perils of advances in biotechnology. In its most basic form, a national strategy for biotech competitiveness will include investments in basic and applied research and talent development, boosting infrastructure, and modernizing the use of data. It also means constraining harmful tech development by certain actors with updated mitigation strategies that incorporate export controls and investment restrictions, updating regulations, forging collaboration with trusted international partners, and reinforcing international law and norms.

We see urgent opportunities to foster research and innovation, address bioterrorism and biosecurity risks, and strengthen the U.S. bioeconomy in an era of global technology competition. Our task force will examine how the United States should respond to the national security and economic security opportunities and challenges presented by biotechnology.

We stand firmly committed to tackling the most acute biotechnology questions facing the United States today, anticipating questions it will face tomorrow, and contributing meaningfully to U.S. and global biotechnology policy development for years to come.


Michael Chertoff Dr. L. Val Giddings Dr. David A. Markowitz
Chair Member Member
Martijn Rasser Dr. Gigi Kwik Gronvall Ryan Morhard
Executive Director Member Member
Bryan Baines Liz Hanpeter Dr. Tara O’Toole
Member Member Member
Dr. Alex Burgin Jacob Helberg Dr. Megan Palmer
Member Member Member
Dr. Richard J. Danzig Dr. Andrea Hodgson Anna Puglisi
Member Member Member
Dr. Diane DiEuliis Dr. India Hook-Barnard Gary Rieschel
Member Member Member
Dr. Chris Fall Heather Ichord Dr. Caroline Schuerger
Member Member Member
John Frank Dr. Peter L. Levin Dr. Nikki Teran
Member Member Member

For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact Cameron Edinburgh at cedinburgh@cnas.org.

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CNAS Task Force on Biotechnology and American Competitiveness

The CNAS Task Force on Biotechnology and American Competitiveness tackles critical issues at the nexus of biotechnology and U.S. national security. Bringing together experts f...

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