Fort Detrick, Maryland

Fort Detrick is a 1,200-acre Army base housing a complex of biological laboratories and communication facilities. From 1943 until 1969, when then President Nixon ended offensive biological weapons development in the United States, Fort Detrick was the premiere research center for the nation's biological warfare program. Since then, it has become one of the world's foremost biomedical research facilities. It is home to the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID), which focuses on defensive strategies against both biological warfare agents, as well as naturally occurring agents which have military potential. USAMRIID was involved in researching the mysterious deaths of macaque monkeys imported from the Philippines to the U.S. in the late 1980's, ultimately identifying a new strain of the Ebola virus, which they named the Reston virus. They also investigated bioterrorist incidents involving anthrax-tainted letters distributed in the U.S. in the early 2000's. Fort Detrick is also an important federal communications center, housing numerous vital satellite and fiber optic links, including a major bulk data link directly connecting Fort Detrick to the National Security Agency, White House, and the Department of Defense. In 2009, a 399-acre area of the site which had been used for waste management, was declared a Superfund site, due to groundwater contamination. Remediation efforts are ongoing.