Defining Biological Threats in U.S. Policy
by Albert J. Mauroni
April 2022, 271pp, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-7887-9
$85, £66, 74€, A117
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eBook Available: 978-1-4408-7888-6
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The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated vulnerabilities to deliberate biological threats in the U.S. public infrastructure and military.

This book examines the recent intersection of national security and public health regarding biological threats to the U.S. populace and proposes improvements to the executive and legislative development of U.S. policy addressing biological threat mitigation.

Over the last 20 years, the national security community has engaged with disease-related issues that have traditionally been the scope of public health agencies. The federal government’s response has been to create a single national biodefense strategy, which has been largely ineffective in improving conditions due to poor terminology, a lack of leadership, and a failure to assess government programs.

Applying a public policy framework, Albert J. Mauroni examines how the government addresses biological threats—including disease prevention, bioterrorism response, military biodefense, biosurety, and agricultural biosecurity and food safety. He proposes a new approach to countering biological threats, arguing that lead agencies should focus on implementing discrete portfolios with annual assessments against clear and achievable objectives.


  • Examines each of the five biological threat sectors and identifies who develops and executes the policy for those sectors, what funding they receive, how each policy area's objectives are implemented, what congressional committees are involved, and who advocates for them
  • Covers policy evolution since the beginning of the 21st century and identifies the major milestones in biological threat mitigation
  • Unveils the real issues behind public health challenges, such as funding for disease prevention programs
  • Clarifies commonly misunderstood terminology, such as health security, biosecurity, and biodefense
Albert J. Mauroni is the director of the U.S. Air Force Center for Strategic Deterrence Studies at Air University, Maxwell Air Force Base, AL. He has more than 35 years of experience in Department of Defense counter-weapons of mass destruction (WMD) policy and program development. In his current position, he oversees the development and execution of Air Force education, research, and outreach initiatives relating to counter-WMD and nuclear deterrence operations. He also teaches electives and advises student research at the Air University. He is the author of eight books and numerous journal articles.


"Al Mauroni’s biting critique of American biodefense policies should be required reading. Even those who reject his conclusions will benefit from engaging with his often-controversial perspectives. Based on his extensive knowledge of how the military counters biological warfare threats, Mauroni offers an often-surprising argument against dealing with natural and accidental infectious disease outbreaks with a similar national security framework."—W. Seth Carus, Emeritus Distinguished Professor of National Security Policy, Center for the Study of Weapons of Mass Destruction, National Defense University

"Albert J. Mauroni provides a comprehensive examination of how U.S. government policy has shaped the civilian and military national biodefense community and vice versa. He guides the reader with a thoroughly detailed review that few others with his extensive knowledge and experience have previously attempted. His book should be required reading for all who seek to understand and contribute to our national biodefense strategy and policy."—Zygmunt F. Dembek, Associate Professor, Military and Emergency Medicine, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences; Former Chief of Biodefense Epidemiology and Education & Training Programs, US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases

"Now more than ever, the national security and public health communities need new strategies for managing the distinct challenges posed by biological weapons and by pandemics. In this book, Albert Mauroni provides a trenchant critique of existing policies and provides practical recommendations for a more constructive way forward.” —Gregory D. Koblentz, Director, Biodefense Graduate Program, Schar School of Policy and Government, George Mason University

"Albert Mauroni sees a national crisis in how the United States government addresses biological threats, understood broadly to include health issues, and the mechanisms that it uses in attempts to establish a national policy on “health security.” In particular, he is concerned with the role that the U.S. Department of Defense plays in this effort. Drawing on 35 years of experience in Army and Air Force service and as a consultant to the Department of Defense, Mauroni provides a thorough and highly informed review of the issues and problems."—Milton Leitenberg, Senior Research Associate, Center for International and Security Studies, School of Public Policy, University of Maryland

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