The Biodefense Knowledge Center (BKC) was established by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate in 2004 to serve as a national resource for technical analysis of biodefense topics. As a knowledge center, the BKC's PhD-level bioscientists research, synthesize and provide key judgments on complex technical topics in the life sciences. The requirement to synthesize information and make authoritative technical judgments on potential biothreats is why such a specialized group is embedded within the scientific research environment at LLNL. BKC assessments are communicated to policy-makers and other analysts throughout the national security community.
BKC analysts have supported various interagency customers through the publication of dozens of technical reports. These reports have spanned a range of topics, including assessing the feasibility with which emerging technologies could be exploited by an adversary for offensive purposes, to analyses centered directly on acquisition, large-scale production, or dissemination of a biological warfare agent.
Other work involves cooperating closely with DHS Customs and Border Protection to improve the methods used to screen cargo shipments into the United States for potential biological agents, exploitable technologies, or precursor materials. The BKC also has played a key role in supporting the Department of Health and Human Services with information to assist the selection of medical countermeasures for the strategic national stockpile.
The BKC has also made available to the national security community a modern, comprehensive knowledge management system that integrates dozens of interagency data sources and technical reports. The information system houses all the assessments developed by the BKC, as well as millions of other documents that may be useful to analysts, decision-makers and operational groups. The system also is designed to enable discovery and visualization of previously unknown connections among information in the system, further enabling rapid and comprehensive understanding of technical topics and trends.