Kazakhstan and the United States have partnered since 2003 to counter the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The US Department of Defense (US DoD) has funded threat reduction programs to eliminate biological weapons, secure material in repositories that could be targeted for theft, and enhance surveillance systems to monitor infectious disease outbreaks that would affect national security. The cooperative biological research (CBR) program of the US DoD’s Biological Threat Reduction Program has provided financing, mentorship, infrastructure, and biologic research support to Kazakhstani scientists and research institutes since 2005. The objective of this paper is to provide a historical perspective for the CBR involvement in Kazakhstan, including project chronology, successes and challenges to allow lessons learned to be applied to future CBR endeavors. A project compendium from open source data and interviews with partner country Kazakhstani participants, project collaborators, and stakeholders was developed utilizing studies from 2004 to the present. An earlier project map was used as a basis to determine project linkages and continuations during the evolution of the CBR program. It was determined that consistent and effective networking increases the chances to collaborate especially for competitive funding opportunities. Overall, the CBR program has increased scientific capabilities in Kazakhstan while reducing their risk of biological threats. However, there is still need for increased scientific transparency and an overall strategy to develop a capability-based model to better enhance and sustain future research. Finally, we offer a living perspective that can be applied to further link related studies especially those related to One Health and zoonoses and the assessment of similar capability-building programs.
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