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USDA and DHS S&T Revise NBAF Project Timeline

Contact: Stephanie Jacques
December 15, 2020

Due to disruptions from COVID-19, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science & Technology Directorate, or DHS S&T, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, or USDA, have collaborated to realign the schedule for the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, or NBAF, to minimize delays to the overall program. The revised target date for achieving substantial completion of construction, the point at which USDA has full access to the facility and is responsible for operating the facility, is now October 2021.

The substantial completion of construction milestone was previously scheduled for December 2020. However, the revised October 2021 date now includes significant additional efforts to address necessary technology upgrades identified since the design was completed in 2012 as well as installation of USDA-funded equipment. Both efforts would have been executed following the December 2020 milestone date. COVID-19 disruptions provided an opportunity to realign the schedule to include these items in the new substantial completion of construction milestone, which minimizes further delays to the overall NBAF program.

Together, USDA and DHS S&T continue to assess and, where possible, mitigate impacts to downstream milestones for operational standup and transition of the mission from the Plum Island Animal Disease Center, or PIADC. For example, one proposal is for USDA to take phased responsibility for some operational functions of the facility starting in April 2021. While the revised schedule reflects the realignment of scope items to minimize COVID-19’s disruptions, there will be a delay in the overall mission transfer from PIADC to NBAF. Originally scheduled for August 2023, the mission transfer is now projected for December 2023.

Also, while challenges remain, DHS S&T continues to project that the construction and commissioning of NBAF under the new revised schedule can be covered within the current $1.25 billion estimated cost.