Where are the Countermeasures? Protecting America's Health from CBRN Threats: A Report of the National Biodefense Science Board [open pdf - 643KB]
"America faces grave danger from a wide range of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) weapons, and from the emergence and spread of infectious diseases. CBRN weapons can cause very large numbers of injuries and deaths, and render affected areas uninhabitable for months or years at a time. Emerging infectious diseases, like the 1918-19 influenza pandemic, have the potential to kill millions. Whether intentional or natural, CBRN agents have the power to incapacitate society and severely damage the economy. As a matter of national security, America urgently needs to develop medical countermeasures (MCMs) to counter CBRN threats. The federal MCM program to date can be characterized as a good effort conducted by talented people, but lacking in centralized leadership and with poor synchronization of the agencies within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The effort has not fully tapped the talent of the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The combined effort is under-resourced and has largely failed to mobilize the productive skills and efforts of industry. There is no unified national strategy that prioritizes the array of threats and encompasses all aspects of responsiveness, from creating to stockpiling to distributing MCMs. Instead, development of MCMs has been too much a matter of selecting projects to fit within available budgets, instead of allocating the necessary funds to tackle a prioritized list of threats. If achieving national MCM goals is likened to climbing a mountain, then most of the mountain remains to be climbed."
United States. Dept. of Health and Human Services: http://www.hhs.gov/