Congress to ask President for update on National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza

Representatives Lowey (D-NY) and Emanuel (D-IL) are circulating a Dear Colleague letter to be delivered to the President asking him to update the Congress on the National Strategy on Pandemic Influenza. Released 8 months ago, the strategy includes over 300 activities designed to prepare the nation for a potential influenza pandemic. However, many of the activities will also prepare the nation for other public health emergencies including bioterrorism events. Since the activities are tied to benchmarks, Congress is looking to ensure that plans are moving forward.

Dear Colleague:
Please join us in sending the attached letter to President Bush requesting an update on the progress made in federal efforts to prepare for a possible pandemic flu outbreak.

Public health experts tell us it is a question of when, not if, an influenza pandemic will strike. The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported that the avian flu has infected 258 people worldwide, killing 154 of them, with the most recent deaths occurring in Egypt just last month.

On May 3, 2006, President Bush released the federal government’s National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza Plan (NSPI) to coordinate federal efforts to prepare for a potential outbreak. The plan contains more than 300 activities to be performed by various federal agencies that are tied to specific accountability measures and timelines.

In our judgment, the eight months since the release of the NSPI are sufficient for the federal government to have made significant progress in executing at least a portion of its directives. While the status of many of the NSPI recommendations are listed on the federal pandemic flu website, not all of the relevant information has been made public.

Congress has a responsibility to carefully monitor the progress of the Administration in achieving the goals of its own plan. If you would like to sign this letter or have any questions, please contact Jean Doyle in Rep. Lowey’s office at jean.doyle@mail.house.gov, or Lauren Aronson in Rep. Emanuel’s office at lauren.aronson@mail.house.gov.

The post Congress to ask President for update on National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza appears on the FAS Strategic Security Blog.

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One Response to “Congress to ask President for update on National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza”

  1. Mark D. Drapeau, Ph.D. May 31, 2007 at 1:50 PM #

    While the medical response to pandemic flu will be important to controlling its spread and limiting its toll, there are considerable non-medical issues related to flu preparedness that are essential for ensuring the continued well-being of the nation’s economy. Planning for Continuity of Operations (COOP) and Continuity of Government (COG) is critical to maintaining the overall viability of society. Thus, while we rightly prepare for the flu, we must be equally prepared to function during the flu.

    The Center for Technology and National Security Policy of the DOD’s National Defense University has prepared a number of freely-available items which can help civilians be prepared both before and during the flu. “Bird Flu and You” is a poster available in 9 languages with basic information about influenza preparedness. “Weathering the Storm” is a report with information about planning for COOP, including instructions for carrying out “tabletop excercises” with a COOP plan.

    Electronic copies of the poster are available at http://www.ndu.edu/ctnsp/Bird_flu.htm. Electronic copies of the report are available at http://www.ndu.edu/ctnsp/Def_Tech/DTP%2038%20Weathering%20The%20Storm.pdf, and to request hard copies of the
    report, contact the Life Sciences group at lifesciences@ndu.edu.

    Robert E. Armstrong, Ph.D.
    &
    Mark D. Drapeau, Ph.D.

    Center for Technology and National Security Policy
    National Defense University
    Washington, DC

    This is the view of the authors and does not represent the official view of National Defense University, the U.S. Dept. of Defense, or the U.S government.

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