The Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology (S&T) directorate announced today that five sites have advanced to the next phase in the competitive process to select the location of the proposed National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF). The following sites, in alphabetical order, have advanced to the next phase: Flora Industrial Park, Madison County, Miss.; Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kan.; Texas Research Park, San Antonio, Texas; Umstead Research Farm, Granville County, N.C.; and University of Georgia/South Milledge Ave., Athens, Ga. “The NBAF, when built, will enhance our nation’s defense against animal and plant disease threats,” said Jay Cohen, undersecretary of S&T. Initially, 29 sites were proposed as potential locations for the NBAF. The department will conduct environmental impact statements, as part of the National Environmental Policy Act, of the remaining contenders; a final selection is expected to be made in early fiscal year 2009. A joint activity with the departments of Agriculture and the Health and Human Services, the NBAF will address biological and agricultural security risks in a Bio Safety Level 4 (BSL-4) facility, which will conduct research involving diseases that may be transmitted between humans, diseases that may be transmitted from animals to humans and foreign animal diseases in order to develop vaccines and advanced test and evaluation capabilities.