Pentagon searching for unsafe African biocontainment facilities

The Pentagon is attempting to protect Americans at home by seeking out potentially unsafe biological containment facilities in Africa.

Kenneth Myers, the director of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, and Senator Richard Lugar went to Burundi, Kenya and Uganda in the fall of 2010 to see for themselves the state of security in local facilities that keep potentially dangerous pathogens, according to

They were reportedly very concerned at the potential for such facilities to be used by terrorists bent on attacking the West.

"It's important to remember that these countries have no intention of being threats to the United States," Myers said, according to

The facilities house the samples for a good reason. Doctors need to match patients with known diseases during an outbreak. Nonetheless, Myers and Lugar worried that just too many such facilities exist.

DTRA has confronted the potential problem by expanding a program that is taken out of Lugar’s anti-nuclear proliferation work. The idea is to partner with these countries to help minimize any threat.

The first goal of the Chemical Biological Engagement program will be to form the relationships needed so they can to begin consolidating the facilities, reports. Myers intends to help make sure that pathogens are stored safely and hopes to offer help on disease surveillance and epidemiological training.

The effort will be funded as part of the $1.5 billion worth of defenses against chemical and biological threats that the Pentagon is asking Congress to fund.