Assessing Billions Spent in Response to Anthrax Attacks

Having reached the fifth anniversary of the 2001 anthrax attacks that killed five people, including Connecticut resident Ottile Lundgren, HSGAC Chairman Susan Collins and I asked the Government Accountability Office for a full assessment of federal efforts to develop biological detection technology. So far, we have spent $18 billion on biological research and development. It is our intention to ensure that that money is being spent wisely and that the taxpayers' investment in biological research and development pays off in dividends toward their improved safety. Last year, a report by the National Research Council said our agencies are making progress but also said "it is impossible to quantify the probability of the effectiveness of such systems." This request - supported by 21 other senators and house members, including the chairman and ranking members of the senate judiciary committee and the chairman and ranking members of the house senate science committee - is an effort to determine how effective our investment has been and to guide our investment decisions for the future.