Expert Report

Each report is produced by a committee of experts selected by the Academy to address a particular statement of task and is subject to a rigorous, independent peer review; while the reports represent views of the committee, they also are endorsed by the Academy. Learn more on our expert consensus reports.

The issue of laboratory security gained heightened public prominence after the FBI's 2008 revelation that they had identified an employee at a U.S. Army biomedical research lab as the perpetrator of the 2001 anthrax mail attacks. While a substantial body of regulation exists to oversee laboratories that study biological materials that might be used malevolently, the anthrax case raised questions for some as to whether further security measures are necessary This National Research Council report addresses concerns about personnel reliability and physical security at laboratories that study biological agents and toxins. The report recommends some modifications to current practices and procedures, but concludes that there is no "silver bullet," no single measure that will guarantee the security of every research facility. The key imperative is the need to help establish a balance between maintaining laboratory security and ensuring that vital research can thrive.

This project is related to several federal regulations and proclamations including the following:

This project complements other recent reports on laboratory security and personnel reliability including the following: Note: This list is not meant to be exhaustive nor does inclusion represent endorsement by the committee or The National Academies.