Ten years ago this week, in the wake of 9/11, Americans were confronting a new threat—bioterrorism. As it turns out, the anthrax letters of October 2001 were a relatively small incident, in which 22 people were infected and five died. Other than the psychological aspects and the costs of cleanup (in excess of $500 million), the anthrax letters were on the scale of a truck bomb, not a weapon of mass destruction.


A decade later, however, three critical questions remain: Is large-scale bioterrorism a serious threat? Can we prevent an attack? If we cannot prevent a biological attack, can the nation respond effectively and mitigate its consequences? The Bio-Response Report Card, released on October 12 by the WMD Center, which is led by chair Bob Graham and vice chair Jim Talent, addresses these very questions—providing an assessment of America's current biodefense capabilities and recommendations to strengthen our nation's bio-preparedness and response.


Bob Graham served two terms as governor of Florida and 18 years in the United States Senate. He is recognized for his leadership on issues ranging from education, economic development, health care, environmental preservation and for his service on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence—including eighteen months as chairman in 2001–2002.


Graham has served on several governmental commissions and boards including as Chairman of the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism. Currently he serves as chairman of the WMD Center, a 501c3 not for profit research organization, which continues the work of the Commission. He also serves as a member of the CIA External Advisory Board, as a member of the board of directors of several companies and, as Chair of the Board of Overseers of the Bob Graham Center for Public Service at University Florida. Graham is a former senior fellow at Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center.


Senator Jim Talent is the Vice Chair of the WMD Center, and has been a Distinguished Fellow at The Heritage Foundation since 2007, where he specializes in military readiness and welfare reform issues. He served four terms as a congressional representative from Missouri and one term as senator. As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, Talent was in the thick of the debate over strengthening the armed forces. He continued to focus on defense issues in the Senate. He served as a member of that chamber's Armed Services Committee, and chaired the Sea Power Subcommittee for four years.


Talent is a 1978 graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, where he received the Arnold J. Lien Prize for most outstanding political science student. He graduated Order of the Coif from University of Chicago Law School in 1981, and then clerked for Judge Richard Posner of the U.S. Court of Appeals for two years.


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