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GEN News Highlights : Feb 10, 2012

Voters Split on Expanding a Biodefense Program Beyond the Former USSR

A recent GEN poll suggests an even split on whether Washington is wise in growing a biodefense program beyond the countries of the former Soviet Union. Equal percentages (42.9%) of respondents support and oppose the move, with 14.3% undecided.

The Cooperative Biological Engagement Program (CBEP) saw its budget grow 53% year-over-year to $259.5 million under the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), enacted by President Barack Obama on New Year’s Eve. The extra spending will allow CBEP to expand into Iraq, India, Djibouti, South Africa, and Tanzania. Additionally, CBEP is engaged with officials in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kenya, and Uganda. That expansion worried the House of Representatives enough to persuade the Senate to allow CBEP only 80% of its funding pending more details on the expansion.