GAO: DHS, FBI Should Formally Conduct Bioforensics Capability Gap Analysis

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The Government Accountability Office has urged the Department of Homeland Security to cooperate with the FBI in the completion of a formal bioforensics capability gap analysis.

GAO said Friday the capability gap analysis can help inform current and future bioforensics investments through the identification of needs and scientific and technical gaps.

DHS and FBI have worked to determine gaps in their bioforensics functions through an informal undocumented process, which makes it unclear whether all capability gaps have been identified, GAO added.

Auditors said DHS plans to roll out improved bioforensics measures in 2025 but the department faces challenges such as the need for a statistical framework that can interpret bioforensics analyses and present them in court settings.

DHS also needs to obtain suitable biological agents and DNA sequences to provide quality references for investigations.

GAO also recommended DHS to update the formal capability gap analysis periodically.

The government watchdog examined whether DHS and FBI have improved their capacity to track the source of a biological threat agent since the 2001 anthrax attack.

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