Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

April 29, 2009

Napolitano’s prepared testimony: legal and policy framework

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Philip J. Palin on April 29, 2009

DHS has released the Secretary’s prepared testimony for this morning’s Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee hearing.  The filed testimony is almost always more formal and detailed than the oral testimony (rough coverage of her actual remarks follows in the next post below).

In regard to the policy-with-practice focus we have been attempting, following are some quick excerpts:

“DHS’ role in addressing the threat of this flu outbreak is clear: The Homeland Security Act instructs the Secretary of Homeland Security to lead the Department as a focal point for the federal government regarding crises and emergency planning. Under Homeland Security Presidential Directive 5 (HSPD-5), the Secretary of Homeland Security is the Principal Federal Official (PFO) for domestic incident management, which includes responding to large-scale medical emergencies. Under the National Response Framework, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has the lead for public health and medical services, which include assessing public health and medical needs, conducting disease surveillance, providing public health and medical information, developing vaccines, and managing health, medical, and veterinary equipment and supplies. As part of HHS’ response, HHS’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has responsibility for identifying and tracking the spread ofthe disease, conducting epidemiological investigations and laboratory tests, managing the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) and providing SNS medicines and medical supplies to states, and communicating health-related information to the government, the media, the public, and others…”

“In our response, we are moving according to plans and protocols in the National Pandemic Strategy and Implementation Plan (PI) to effectively address an outbreak of this kind. We have taken action to get in front of this not just based on what’s going on today, but on what could happen four months from now. We are prepared, and we are constantly evaluating the facts to ensure that we have a plan ready to be executed no matter how the threat evolves.”

“Indeed, this is a threat for which DHS and other levels of government have been preparing for a long time. While Governor of Arizona, I served as the co-chair of the National Governors Association panel on pandemic flu preparedness. I was able to see first-hand and help guide collaboration among states, DHS, HHS, and the CDC in preparing for potentially dangerous flu outbreaks. These preparedness exercises are now coming into great use, and the strong partnerships that formed as a result are now serving the American people well as we collaborate extensively across levels of government to mitigate this public health threat…”

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Comment by William R. Cumming

April 29, 2009 @ 12:35 pm

The prepared testimony makes clear that she (Secretary DHS) did not declare the Public Health Emergency.
Also glad she served as Co-chair of NGA panel on pandemic flu preparedness. Note the results of the GAO review of 20 states pandemic prepardness indicates some large gaps in state planning.
Curious as to the exact status of public health preparedness in Arizona although admittedly she had to deal with largely Republican legislature in that state during her term.

Comment by William R. Cumming

April 29, 2009 @ 4:15 pm

Some blogs reporting WHO went to Level V but no change in WHO official website yet. Also new cases in Maryland reported. Well I guess WHO waiting for CDC to tell them to go to Level 6 when we reach the second 100 days of the Obama Presidency (being facetious) because certainly would NOT want first 100 days to have included a PANDEMIC!
Time for the utmost seriousness and responsible info flow in the world of blogging. I did my time doing SWINE FLU in the 70’s and now time for younger, smarter, and more energetic persons to get fully involved. What has always worried me is that before the Anthrax attacks CDC was so underfunded and understaffed that they literally had to close up shop domestically to go fight some problems like EBOLA in Africa. I really hope it is better because 24/7 after the first week is a real killer, and you don’t need to have the flu either. My greatest respect and sympathy and whatever to all those that will be fighting the good fight and sorry the leadership of the Public Health community was so slow on the uptake. Thanks again to the Navy lab for its surveillance efforts, and for those who since the Anthrax attacks worked their hearts out trying to prepare the nation for what some was a big big joke. Well I think we are about to find out and my greatest hope is that first responders and health care professionals will get the first priority for personal protection and their dedication. A really tough tough situation now and the airlines still flying and border open and potential for real world economic disaster for many. I understand the Egyptians are slaughtering 300,000 pigs as a precaution. Level 6 will cause a real change in lifestyle in the US for some period of time. I guess the bankers now that there finances have been restored by you and me will be leaving early for the Hamptons this year. And I hope all those that can usefully volunteer their services will. Unfortunately with a compromised immune system all I can do is think and write, hopefully thinking first. I thought the “big one” for Obama was going to be an earthquake or Cat V hurricane instead of this but hey what is it FDR said “This Generation has a rendevous with destniney” and hoping it realizes its potential. All those knowing comments and winks on Avian Flu and Sars may now really be returned in spades with respect to the US. I feel absolutely sorry about the tragedy that has befallen the Mexicans as our closest relatives in many ways in N.America. Get those H-95 masks now!

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