U.S. to be prepared for second attack, it's first attack that should be feared

As the Obama administration's new biological threat strategy shifts focus from mitigation to prevention, Congress's role in the new policy has yet to come into focus.

“Anything international that doesn’t say Afghanistan or Iran or deal with nuclear weapons right now is going to be hard to get energy on,” Barry Kellman, the president of the International Security and Biopolicy Institute, told TheHill.com

Kellman will brief members of the House on both the White House's new strategy and how the United States is position in the biological protection arena this week. He has also been asked by Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade, to assess the United States' foreign policies and ability to reduce the danger of a bioattack.

The policy, announced Wednesday by Ellen Tauscher, the State Department's undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security at the Biological Convention in Geneva, Switzerland, looks to create deeper relationships with other countries.

The new policy has created buzz in the international biological sciences community but has not, critics contend, departed from the Bush administration's decision that inspection and verification processes are needed.

“The Obama administration will not seek to revive negotiations on a verification protocol to the Convention,” Tauscher said according to TheHill.com. “We have carefully reviewed previous efforts to develop a verification protocol and have determined that a legally binding protocol would not achieve meaningful verification or greater security.”

Kellman agrees with the Obama administration's contention that a verification process is not viable, stating that bioweapons can be created anywhere, allowing a country to make them in secret while appearing to hold true to convention protocols.

The Obama administration's decision to instead place emphasis on information gathering and sharing between partner countries, Kellman said, will create a global security net that identifies biological threats before or soon after they arise.

A hearing is expected as soon as spring of next year by Sherman's office but, for Kellman, it can't come soon enough.

“We’re going to be really ready for the second attack,” Kellman told TheHill.com. “It’s just the first one that we’re going to be in horrible shape for.”