Image: Anthony Canamucio

Even as a furor arose recently in the US Congress over failures to communicate between intelligence agencies that contributed to America's unreadiness for the terrorist attacks last September, President George W. Bush's proposal to create a Department of Homeland Security was being concocted in extreme secrecy. This left many government officials in an awkward position: having staunchly defended the administration's opposition to the idea of a new department, they were forced without warning to sing the praises of the very thing that they had disparaged. This reporter happened to catch Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) director John H. Marburger III in just such a quandary. His deft extrication speaks well to the political skills that scientists want from their presidential adviser but, inevitably, it also raises a question: What actually is the best organizational structure for advancing the cause of counterbioterrorism research?

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