Defense Civil Support: DOD, HHS, and DHS Should Use Existing Coordination Mechanisms to Improve Their Pandemic Preparedness
GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE WASHINGTON DC WASHINGTON DC United States
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The U.S. Army estimates that if a severe infectious disease pandemic were to occur today, the number of U.S. fatalities could be almost twice the total number of battlefield fatalities in all of Americas wars since the American Revolution in 1776. A pandemic occurs when an infectious agent emerges that can be efficiently transmitted between humans and has crossed international borders. DODs day-to-day functioning and the militarys readiness and operations abroad could be impaired if a large percentage of its personnel are sick or absent, and DODs assistance to civil authorities might be limited. House Report 114-102 included a provision for GAO to assess DODs planning and coordination to support civil authorities during a pandemic. This report assesses the extent to which 1 DOD has guidance and plans for supporting civil authorities in the event of a domestic outbreak of a pandemic disease and 2 HHS and DHS have plans to respond to a pandemic if DOD support capabilities are limited, and they have mechanisms to coordinate their pandemic preparedness and response. GAO reviewed agency pandemic guidance and plans, interagency coordination mechanisms, and pandemic-related exercises and after-action reports.
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