Combating Terrorism: Observations on Biological Terrorism and Public Health Initiatives, Statement of Henry L. Hinton, Jr., Assistant Comptroller General, National Security and International Affairs Division, Testimony before the Committee on Veterans' Affairs and the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies, Committee on Appropriations, U.S. Senate   [open pdf - 181KB]

The mass casualties resulting from a terrorist attack using biological weapons to spread anthrax, smallpox, and other deadly diseases could potentially overwhelm the U.S. health care system. This testimony focuses on federal efforts to invest in medical countermeasures and preparedness initiatives, one of the few areas in which national security and public health issues clearly intersect: The General Accounting Office (GAO) briefly discusses intelligence agencies' judgments about the terrorist threat; highlights the importance and benefits of threat assessments to provide a sound basis for targeting the nation's investment in combating terrorism; provides preliminary observations on the science behind the biological and chemical terrorist threat; and provides observations on public health initiatives that deal with a new national pharmaceutical stockpile and the basis for selecting items to research, product, procure, and stockpile for civilian defense against terrorism.

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