Kansas governor establishes biodefense facility steering committee

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback recently signed an executive order establishing the National Bio and Agro Defense Facility in Kansas Steering Committee.

The committee’s purpose is to coordinate efforts to locate the facility in the state and transition important research to its future location in Manhattan, Kansas, according to Infozine.com.

“The completion of the NBAF in Manhattan is a high priority for the Kansas economy and for my administration,” Brownback said, Infozine.com reports. “It is expected to have a $3.5 billion economic impact on the state in the facility’s first 20 years of use. NBAF is a bipartisan commitment at all levels to this once in a generation opportunity to grow our economy long term. I am pleased we will have continued leadership to see this project through - from groundbreaking to ribbon cutting.”

The committee will have federal and state elected leaders as its members, as well as key stakeholders in the NBAF project. Brownback asked U.S. Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) to be the committee’s chair.

“I’m pleased to have Sam back home keeping a watchful eye on NBAF’s developments in Kansas," Sen. Roberts said, Infozine.com reports. "Together we have been immersed in efforts to bring NBAF to our state for a long time, and I am honored to continue being a driving force in that effort."

The state of Kansas has already committed to spending $105 million in matching state funds to the NBAF and another $35 million to aid in the research transitioning effort.

“I am committed to the NBAF. With the animal health corridor running between Manhattan and Columbia, Kansas can be the world leader in animal health research and development. We are globally good at this. We can grow more. We will compete and we will win,” Brownback said, according to Infozine.com.

The NBAF is a $650 million research laboratory project that will develop countermeasures to animal, human and zoonotic diseases. The U.S. Department of Homeland Defense has already spent more than $150 million on site preparation, engineering, design and local risk-assessment.