SAIC is also deeply involved in the government's Biological Warfare program,
Clues to the scope and dimensions of the program can be gleaned from past news releases as well as from the company's help-wanted listings. In 1999, SAIC received a contract worth $17.1 million from the federal government's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to perform simulation and modeling for "biological warfare agent detection." The Defense Department reported that 63 percent of the work would be done in San Diego and the remainder in Carlsbad.
The firm's recent help-wanted advertisements offer the vague outlines of a rapidly growing, top-secret Defense Department program that has never been revealed to the public. They also seem to leave no doubt that the U.S. government is plenty worried about the potential of biological warfare, even if a coherent defense strategy has yet to emerge.
One position, listed simply as "scientist," includes tasks such as "analyzing data and researching for related activities as it pertains to biological weapons of mass destruction. Utilize state-of-the-art tools in classified and unclassified environment, prepare briefings, compile reports, etc. Work in conjunction with the COTR and other contractors on a BW program within the intelligence community."
Related positions include "Senior Biological Weapons Specialist": "Research, analyze, report, and present findings on biological agents and weapons programs -- to include both academic research and industrial production." Another position, "Senior Scientist," "requires working closely with the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense (USAMRICD) and Senior Department of Defense leadership on matters involving medical chemical defense," according to the job description.
"The candidate will support the establishment research goals, objectives, and priorities of the medical chemical defense research component of the Medical Chemical and Biological Defense Research Program. Work will be performed in U.S. Government offices staffed by DoD civilian, military and contract personnel and located on Fort Detrick, Maryland."
Yet another Biological Warfare position will "focus on the biological empirical testing phase and evaluation of novel potential therapeutics for Anthrax, Botulinum Neurotoxin, and staphylococcus Aureus Enterotoxin," all deadly germs. Candidates for the job "should have a strong background in molecular biology, protein biochemistry, and/or cell biology. Substantial experience with cloning, gene expression, and recombinant protein purification is required. Because the duty station is located in laboratory space within USAMRIID at Fort Detrick, applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Working knowledge of immunology is a plus."
A position entitled "CB Readiness Analyst" will "provide Nuclear, Biological, Chemical, and Conventional (NBCC), major accident and natural-disaster response expertise (to include military civil support operations) to customers and SAIC. Candidate will function as key member of the analytical and traveling teams associated with NBC concepts of operation (CONOPS)." Applicants must have a "Bachelor's degree in Engineering, Operations Research, International Relations (with quantitative analysis experience), or equivalent work experience" and a "willingness to travel internationally."
SAIC also has a seven-year, $43.8 million contract to produce a malaria vaccine at its facilities in Frederick, Maryland. It also operates, under government contract, a website called Train4Life.com, which offers "Specialized chemical and biological incident training classes" to "paramedics, emergency medical technicians, doctors, nurses, firefighters, and law enforcement officials." Offerings, free or available for purchase online with proper governmental authorization, include courses on Anthrax, Orthopox viruses, Nerve Agents, Blister Agents, Cyanide and Smoke Agents, Pulmonary Agents, including Phosgene and Chloropicrin.
Another local defense institution with extensive involvement in many aspects of anti-terrorism, intelligence, and biological warfare is the Navy's Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command -- SPAWAR for short -- which has a much wider mission than its name implies. Created from the mergers of various navy research labs and joint ventures with the University of California and the California Institute of Technology dating back to World War II, the command consolidated many of the navy's research programs being conducted in facilities around the bay. The command's primary mission, according to its website, "is to be the Nation's preeminent provider of command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance solutions for warrior information dominance."
This July, well before the September 11 attacks, SPAWAR's headquarters complex across the railroad tracks from Old Town was ringed with cement barricades to resist car and truck bombs, apparently in response to the bombing of the destroyer Cole in Aden, Yemen. But the agency was worried about more than simple explosives.
That same month, SPAWAR announced that it had awarded a $6.4 million contract for research and development of "pathogen countermeasures and advanced medical diagnostics," Jane's International Defense Review reported. "The research to be conducted by ChemoCentryx will support the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency's Unconventional Pathogenic Countermeasures program."
According to the DARPA website, the program is supposed to develop so-called counter measures "versatile enough to eliminate biological threats, whether from natural sources or modified through bioengineering or other manipulation. They will also have the potential to provide protection both within the body and at the most common portals of entry (e.g., inhalation, ingestion, transcutaneous)."