Experts urge more collaboration in intelligence community

Experts at a recent panel discussion have raised questions on the number of experts in the United States on the sciences behind the collection of data on biological weapons of mass destruction.

The panel noted that the U.S. intelligence community employs thousands of qualified personnel to analyze and collect this data but the intelligence community was lacking in understanding on what was being collected.

“We have phenomenal analysts, phenomenal collectors, but we have to find ways of talking to the community so we can ask for their help and not threaten their mission,” Lawrence Kerr, one of the National Counterproliferation Center's advisers, told

The National Counterproliferation Center, which is located in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, has hired experts to fill this void. The experts will function as liaisons between the intelligence world and scientific community.

Rather than analyze or collect intelligence, the main job of the advisers is to seek ways to leverage the life sciences community's expertise.

These advisers use academic journals and other open source material - which is where the large majority of biological science knowledge is published - to narrow down the search for potential trouble spots.

The problem Kerr says, is that the intent of a nation or organization secretly working on a weapons program cannot be easily gleaned.

“How do we get inside or next to people whose influence can actually decide the intent of an individual, an organization or a state?” Kerr said.