Defending Against Bioterrorism: How Vulnerable is America? Hearing Before the Full Committee on Homeland Security, U.S. House of Representatives, One Hundred Fourteenth Congress, First Session, November 3, 2015   [open pdf - 629KB]

This is a testimony compilation of the November 3, 2015 hearing "Defending Against Bioterrorism: How Vulnerable is America?" held before the Full House Committee on Homeland Security. From the opening statement of Chairman Michael McCaul: ""Over the course of the past year, their Study Panel hosted a number of meetings to address the full spectrum of the bioterror threat, and their final report provides a thorough review of the challenges we face on that front. It makes 33 recommendations on a number of topics including leadership, strategy, intelligence gathering and dissemination, medical countermeasures, and response. It comes as no surprise to me that one of your main findings is the lack of federal leadership and coordination at the highest level of the executive branch. With a dozen agencies playing a role in the biodefense space, we must have a senior individual coordinating these efforts. Indeed, one of the main questions I asked during the Ebola response was 'Who is in charge?' Unfortunately, that would still be an open question today. That is why I have advocated for the reinstatement of the Special Assistant to the President for Biodefense. Your report calls for the designation of the Vice President as the responsible official, along with the development of a White House Biodefense Coordination Council. I look forward to discussing this recommendation and why you believe the Vice President would be in the best position to address this threat. We are also particularly interested in your assessment of the responsibilities of the Department of Homeland Security in this space." Statements, letters, and other materials submitted for the record include those of the following: Thomas J. Ridge, Joseph I. Lieberman, and Leonard A. Cole.

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