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U.S. Government Judgments on the Threat of Biological Weapons: Official Assessments, 2004-2011 PDF

Compiled by the Center for Biosecurity , January 2010; updated March 2011


In recent years, there have been many official, public U.S. government reports presenting assessments of the threat of bioterrorism and/or biological weapons. However, the collected findings of those assessments have not been organized in such a way as to make evident common, persistent, and/or important judgments or trends. For that purpose, the Center for Biosecurity (the Center) has compiled key judgments from a series of major U.S. government assessments conducted in the past 7 years to create this resource for those in the policymaking, analytic, and research communities seeking to understand the U.S. government’s judgments on bioterrorism and biological weapons threat over time.

All reports excerpted here were published between 2004 and 2011 by The White House, the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Defense Science Board (DSB), the National Intelligence Council (NIC), the Department of Defense (DoD ), Department of State, and several other, U.S. government entities. All assessments included in this report are available publicly, as unclassified documents (although some of the documents do have classified versions). None of the (many) classified U.S. government reports or assessments published during the same period are included in this report.


To assemble this report, the Center first conducted a comprehensive search for and review of the major threat assessments published between 2004 and 2011 by U.S. federal agencies responsible for national security, homeland security, and intelligence. Congressionally-commissioned assessments and testimony from the same period of time were also reviewed. In March 2011, a similar search was conducted to update the report. All documents were located online, where they were published as PDFs of the original documents or in HTML form.

Key findings from each threat assessment were then identified and excerpted. The excerpts compiled here highlight the threat of biological weapons and/or bioterrorism and also show the range of federal agencies tasked with assessing this threat.


Included for each assessment is the full title, author and/or source, stated purpose, URL, and excerpts that characterize the document’s assessment of the bioweapons threat.

All excerpts are direct quotes copied verbatim from the source documents (all of which are in the public domain). For each quote, the page number is provided. When the source document is available only in HTML form, and therefore without page numbers, the number of the paragraph in which the quote can be found is provided.

Read the full report: Download PDF