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Biodefense refers to short term, local, usually military measures to restore biosecurity to a given group of persons in a given area — in the civilian terminology, it is a very robust biohazard response. It is technically possible to apply biodefense measures to protect animals or plants, but this is generally uneconomic. However, protection of water supplies and food supplies are often a critical part of biodefense. Various definitions of biosafety emerged in different professions to guarantee non-human health.

Biodefense is most often discussed in the context of biowar or bioterrorism, and is generally considered a military or emergency response term.

Biodefense applies to two distinct target populations: civilian non-combatant and military combatant (troops in the field).

Biodefense of troops in the field

The Department of Defense (or "DoD") has focused since at least 1998 on the development and application of vaccine-based biodefenses. In a July 2001 report commissioned by the DoD, the "DoD-critical products" were stated as vaccines against anthrax (AVA and Next Generation), smallpox, plague, tularemia, botulinum, ricin, and equine encephalitis. Note that two of these targets are toxins (botulinum and ricin) while the remainder are infectious agents.

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