Sen. Jerry Moran and Rep. Frank Wolf Call on President Obama to Designate Primary Point of Contact to Coordinate U.S. Ebola Response
Oct 06 2014
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Ranking Member of the Senate Appropriations Health Care Subcommittee, and Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA), House Appropriations Subcommittee Member, called on President Obama to designate a single, senior advisor responsible for coordinating all U.S. agencies and policies involving the international and domestic response to Ebola. They have concerns that a clear organizational structure and chain of command for this interagency mission has not been established and explained by the Administration.
As members of the Senate and House Appropriations Committees, Sen. Moran and Rep. Wolf want to make certain resources are allocated as efficiently as possible across the agencies responsible for the Ebola response in West Africa and disease control activities at home.
Click here or see below for the full text of the letter:
October 6, 2014
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President,
The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is a health crisis of massive proportions. You have announced a government-wide response to address this crisis and help Africans before it becomes a threat to the United States. This requires a global response and the U.S. needs to provide the necessary leadership to control and eliminate this outbreak. We believe it is imperative that you designate a single, senior advisor who will be responsible for coordinating all U.S. agencies and policies involving the international and domestic response to Ebola.
As members of the Senate and House Appropriations Committees, we want to make sure resources are allocated most efficiently across the agencies responsible for the Ebola response in West Africa and disease control activities at home. Therefore, we respectfully request responses to the following questions regarding interagency coordination involved in the international and domestic response efforts.
- Please describe, in detail, the organizational structure and chain of command for the entities participating in the interagency response, both on the ground in West Africa and domestically. Has a joint interagency task force (JIATF) been established? If so, please describe the organizations that are participating in the JIATF and explain the command and control decision process for daily operations. Who currently, if anyone, is responsible for the coordination and deconfliction of U.S. programs and policies responding to Ebola?
- Has the Administration created a national strategy for countering Ebola similar to the existing National Strategy on Pandemic Influenza? If not, is the Administration referencing the National Strategy on Pandemic Influenza as a guide for planning the response to Ebola in West Africa and domestically?
- With respect to the Department of Defense’s (DoD’s) role in the interagency response to Ebola, are existing Concept Plans (CONPLANs) or Concept of Operations planning for infectious diseases being utilized in the organization of military capabilities in West Africa? For example, has the Administration referenced CONPLAN 3551-09 on pandemic influenza to determine requirements, responsibility, and recovery of civilians and military personnel involved in the interagency response to Ebola?
- What specific duties, missions, and responsibilities will be assigned to our nation’s servicemembers partaking in DoD’s role in daily operations in West Africa?
- What actions is the Administration taking to make sure American travelers are safe from Ebola abroad and domestically? Have enhanced screening techniques been implemented at U.S. airports?
Finally, given the broad policy challenges posed by this Ebola outbreak, we encourage you to consider bringing well respected former administration officials with a background in public health and international diplomacy to assist with this serious challenge, such as former Secretary of State Colin Powell, former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and former Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt. By drawing on their expertise and international relationships, these respected statesmen could bolster your Administration’s efforts and help lead a united, global response to this serious threat to public health and security.
We would appreciate your responses to our requests by October 17, 2014. It is critical we work together to stop the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and prevent it from spreading to other parts of the world.
Frank R. Wolf
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