Post-9/11, concern about bioterrorism has transformed public health from unappreciated to a central component of national security. Within the War on Terror, bioterrorism preparedness has taken a back seat only to direct military action in terms of funding. Domestically, homelessness, joblessness, crime, education, and race relations are just a few of a litany of pressing issues requiring government attention. Even within the biomedical sciences and healthcare, issues surrounding the fact that more than 40 million Americans lack health insurance, the rising cost of prescription medications, and the use of government funds for research using embryonic stem cells remain unresolved. Should we prioritize a hypothetical threat (bioterrorism), or existing conditions that have implications for identifiable individuals? Even more fundamentally, should we prioritize research aimed at defense from bioterrorism (or even terrorism in general) when there are so many pressing social problems that affect the U.S. population?