Position Paper on Dual Use (DURC) an Ethical Dilemma

Final Draft
In your role as a Program Coordinator for the Board on Health Sciences Policy within the Institute of Medicine, you have been asked to draft a position paper on a biodefense related policy, or controversy/ethical issue. Your paper, which will provide context for the issue as well as recommended courses of action, will be included in a larger report the National Academies is producing on national security ethics.
Biodefense is a broad term used to define the measures taken to defend against or mitigate the consequences of the use of biological agents as weapons of crime, terror, or war. Defense against biological weapons may take the form of preventing the development or use of, or preparing for, responding to, or recovering from a biological weapons incident. As such, effective biodefense is not a single field of study; rather it is a conglomeration of disciplines. For example, knowledge of microbiology, immunology, and aerobiology are necessary to identify potential biological weapons agents, understand how they operate in the body, and to develop potential prophylactics and therapeutics. Engineering, physics, biotechnology, and environmental science contribute to the development of detection systems, while emergency management and law enforcement expertise is required to develop effective consequence management strategies. Further, political science and international law may inform national security and public health policy, and dual use research regulations.
Unlike other hazards that are well understood and have established policies, technologies, and processes/procedures, biodefense is an evolving, theoretical, and untested field, which results in significant debate and controversy. Recent examples of these controversial issues or ethical dilemmas include requiring all military members to receive the anthrax vaccine and whether or not to publish the genome of the 1918 influenza virus.
Students planning a career in biodefense must be able evaluate biodefense-related issues and form positions on them. Thus students should be able to conduct research, identify and assess appropriate sources, understand and articulate the context of the issue, and use critical thinking and logic to form and defend a position, as well as to develop conclusions and recommendations.
Steps to Completion ?
1. Research and identify a biodefense-related policy or issue that is either controversial or presents an ethical challenge.
2. Research the policy/issue and identify a minimum of ten references from a variety of sources relevant to the topic selected.
3. Provide background and contextual information for the identified topic.
4. Based on the research, employ critical thinking and analysis skills to identify and defend a position, identify the counter position, and develop conclusions and recommendations.
5. Draft a paper that:
a. Identifies the issue and provides background/contextual information on the topic;
b. Explains why the policy/issue is controversial or presents an ethical dilemma;
c. Concisely articulates and defends the position;
d. Describes the counter position;
e. Includes conclusions and/or recommendations to address the topic; provides suggestions on how to execute recommendations; and identifies the implications if conclusions/recommendations are not employed;
f. Follows the following format:
i. 8-10 pages
ii. Double spaced
iii. 12 point font (either Arial or Times New Roman)
iv. Includes a cover page
v. Includes section headers (Introduction, Background, Position, Counter-Position, Conclusions/Recommendations, References)
vi. Includes a footer with assignment title, student?s name, and page numbers
vii. Uses the APA format to reference sources both in the body of the paper and in the reference section.
viii. Follows the conventions of Standard Written English
Helpful Hints
1. For more information on Position (or Argument) Papers: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/724/1/
2. For additional information on source annotation: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/614/03/
3. Submit a draft of paper for review prior to final submission
4. To help identify a topic, consider the multitude of disciplines required for comprehensive biodefense

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