Influenza Pandemic: Further Efforts Are Needed to Ensure Clearer Federal Leadership Roles and an Effective National Strategy, Report to Congressional Requesters   [open pdf - 344KB]

"An influenza pandemic is a real and significant potential threat facing the United States and the world. Pandemics occur when a novel virus emerges that can easily be transmitted among humans who have little immunity. In 2005, the Homeland Security Council (HSC) issued a National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza and, in 2006, an Implementation Plan. Congress and others are concerned about the federal government's preparedness to lead a response to an influenza pandemic. This report assesses how clearly federal leadership roles and responsibilities are defined and the extent to which the Strategy and Plan address six characteristics of an effective national strategy. To do this, GAO analyzed key emergency and pandemic-specific plans, interviewed agency officials, and compared the Strategy and Plan with the six characteristics GAO identified. GAO recommends that (1) DHS and HHS develop rigorous testing, training, and exercises for pandemic influenza to ensure that federal leadership roles and responsibilities are clearly defined, understood, and work effectively and (2) the HSC set a time frame to update the Plan, involve key nonfederal stakeholders, and more fully address the characteristics of an effective national strategy. DHS and HHS concurred with the report. HSC did not comment."

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Government Accountability Office: http://www.gao.gov/
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