Armenia helped with bio-threat program

June 3, 2011 at 9:35 AM
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OVERLAND PARK, Kan., June 3 (UPI) -- U.S. corporation Black and Veatch will help strengthen Armenia's human and veterinary biological threat reduction capabilities.

The Kansas engineering, consulting and construction company said the award marks the first time the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency selected a contractor to provide program design for a country before contracting for program implementation.

"Black and Veatch has been working with DTRA continuously for more than 18 years, implementing cooperative threat reduction programs across former Soviet Union countries, including Ukraine and Russia," said Matthew Webber, Black and Veatch vice president and program manager.

"Our experience in implementing these programs will provide tremendous value to DTRA as we work to design Armenia's program."

The project, which includes strengthening the country's public health system, is part of DTRA's Cooperative Biological Engagement Program to combat bioterrorism and prevent the proliferation of biological weapons-related technology, pathogens and expertise.

The program also aims to enhance host governments' disease surveillance systems to detect and report bio-terror attacks, epidemics and potential pandemics.

"Infectious disease and deadly pathogens are not bound by borders," said Bill Van Dyke, president of Black and Veatch's Federal Services Division. "Our work with DTRA as part of the CBEP helps make these countries, and therefore the entire global community, more secure in the fight against bioterrorism."

The CBEP, formerly known as the Biological Threat Reduction Program, is part of DTRA's overall Cooperative Threat Reduction Program.

The Cooperative Threat Reduction Program was established in 1991 as part of the Nunn-Lugar Act and seeks to help the states of the former Soviet Union safeguard and dismantle stockpiles of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, related materials and delivery systems.

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