Mr. You: At the local level, WMD coordinators act as resources for our partners, and they also engage in threat assessments and investigations. Coordinators are dedicated professionals who have their own career path within the FBI, and they go through an extensive training and certification program. With regard to training, we have partnered with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to provide training locally, regionally, and internationally. We are able to educate the scientific community about threats and provide situational awareness about security issues that may not have been considered. In turn, the scientific community advises law enforcement about the current state of the field and assists us in identifying over-the-horizon risks. The life sciences field is advancing so rapidly that it is difficult to stay current. We rely on the expertise of our business and academic partners to ensure that our agency is addressing issues appropriately and effectively. Synthetic biology is a case in point.
Mr. You: We will continue working with industry and the scientific community. Because we provide a service and act as a resource for our partners, our outreach has grown at a rapid pace—we can’t keep up with demand in terms of speaking engagements we are invited to or contributions to biosecurity policymaking. When we started our outreach program five years ago, we were out knocking on doors in the scientific community, trying to spread our message. Now they are inviting us in. They obviously they see the value of what we’re doing to protect the public and the scientific process.