By Caree Vander Linden
USAMRIID Public Affairs
Representatives of the National Interagency Confederation for Biological Research, a group of seven government agencies with shared scientific interests, kicked off their strategic plan Nov. 2 with a special event at Fort Detrick.
According to Maj. Gen. James K. Gilman, commanding general, U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command and Fort Detrick, the NICBR is unique in that it includes four Cabinet-level agencies working together to develop common goals, objectives and strategies for future interaction.
“This confederation is about scientists, many of whom have been collaborating for a long time,” Gilman commented. “Now they are co-located – and they have a plan for how to continue to work together to defend our country against biological threats, either natural or man-made.”
The Fort Detrick Interagency Coordinating Committee is central to helping the NICBR operate, according to background material provided by the NICBR Program Office. Each partner agency has a representative on the FDICC, which is chaired by the Fort Detrick Garrison and currently co-chaired by the National Cancer Institute at Frederick; the co-chair position rotates among the partners.
The FDICC, in turn, reports to the Executive Steering Committee, consisting of the USAMRMC Commanding General and counterparts from the partner agencies. Finally, the ESC reports to the NICBR Board of Directors, made up of the Army Surgeon General and equivalents across the partner agencies.
NICBR processes are consensus-driven and its two core values are trust and teamwork. Following MG Gilman’s presentation at the strategic plan kick-off, each NICBR partner representative gave remarks highlighting their respective agency’s mission and collaborative efforts.
The NICBR concept was launched in June 2002, with the constitution signed in March 2003.
Since then, the confederation has expanded to include these seven partner agencies:
· National Cancer Institute at Frederick
· National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases - Integrated Research Facility
· U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases
· U.S. Department of Agriculture - Agricultural Research Service
· Department of Homeland Security - National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center
· Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
· Naval Medical Research Center - Biological Defense Research Directorate