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COMMISSION TO ADDRESS RESPONSE, RECOVERY, AND MITIGATION AS BIOLOGICAL EVENTS CONTINUE TO PLAGUE THE NATION
Two current members of Congress and former ASPR among those set to address Commission
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Dec. 1, 2022) – Nearly three years after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and seven years after the release of the Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense’s National Blueprint for Biodefense, the Nation remains vulnerable to future biological events. At its next public meeting on Thursday, Dec. 8, the Commission intends to further explore challenges for biodefense response, recovery, and mitigation capabilities at all levels of government and the private sector. Titled Afterthoughts: Response, Recovery and Mitigation of Biological Events, the meeting will feature two members of Congress and several panels of distinguished experts.
“During the onset of COVID-19, our Nation lacked the necessary capabilities to successfully and effectively respond to the crisis,” said Commission Co-Chair, former Senator Joe Lieberman. “The pandemic was a true stress test that we failed for months. At this meeting, we intend to determine what recovery from such an ordeal really means, and how can we blunt the impact of future biological crises. The answers to these and other questions can help save lives and dramatically lessen the economic impact from these catastrophic events.”
“If I learned anything from my time in the White House during the 2001 anthrax attacks, it was the importance of the federal government working hand-in-hand with state, local, tribal, and territorial partners in responding to the biological threat,” said Commission Co-Chair and first U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, Governor Tom Ridge. “Twenty-one years later, there is still much more that we need to do to support those on the frontlines who have to respond to – and help communities and the Nation recover from – these biological events.”
Speakers confirmed to attend include: Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI); Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI); Robert Kadlec, former Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, and Mark McClellan, former Administrator, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and former Commissioner, Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; and Dr. Chris Rodriguez, Director, District of Columbia Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency.
For a detailed agenda and to register for either in-person attendance or to watch the live-stream, please visit this meeting’s event page.
The meeting will begin at 11am ET at the offices of the American Geophysical Union, 2000 Florida Ave. NW, Washington, DC. The Commission will also live-stream the meeting. Please note that AGU requires that in-person attendees be fully vaccinated or show a negative COVID test within 24 hours of the event.
Editor’s Note: Journalists interested in interviews should contact Steve Aaron by emailing steve@SRACommunications.com.
About the Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense
The Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense was established in 2014 to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the state of U.S. biodefense efforts, and to issue recommendations to foster change. The Commission’s 2015 report, A National Blueprint for Biodefense: Leadership and Major Reform Needed to Optimize Efforts, identified capability gaps and recommended changes to U.S. policy and law to strengthen national biodefense while optimizing resource investments. In its 2021 report, Biodefense in Crisis: Immediate Action Needed to Address National Vulnerabilities, the Commission described the extent to which the federal government has implemented the Commission’s Blueprint for Biodefense. Other Commission publications have addressed critical needs for an Apollo Program for Biodefense, national biodetection, agrodefense, biodefense budgeting, diagnostics, biodefense of critical infrastructure, contributions by land-grant universities to biodefense and State, Local, Tribal and Territorial response capabilities. In September 2018 and in October 2022, the White House released the National Biodefense Strategy, a top recommendation from the Blueprint, and in September 2021 released the American Pandemic Preparedness Plan, taking up recommendations from the Commission’s Apollo Program and Athena Agenda reports. The Commission continues to address biodefense challenges and to urge reform. Former Senator Joe Lieberman and Governor Tom Ridge co-chair the Commission. Hudson Institute is the Commission’s fiscal sponsor.