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…”