Rear Admiral R. Timothy Ziemer has left the National Security Council (NSC) and the global health security team he oversaw has been disbanded. Ziemer, described as “one of the most quietly effective leaders in public health,” was the Trump administration’s senior director for global health security and biodefense at the NSC, and he will not be replaced.
The move to dissolve the global health security team comes from national security advisor John Bolton on the same day that a new Ebola epidemic was declared in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. While a spokesman stated that the NSC “remains committed to global health, global health security and biodefense,” there are concerns that Ziemer’s departure and loss of the global health security team leaves the U.S. at increased risk of pandemic or bioterrorism attack.
J. Stephen Morrison, senior vice president at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, spoke on the subject, saying that “Health security is very fragmented, with many different agencies,” and that “means coordination and direction from the White House is terribly important.”
The Simons Center’s Distinguished Speaker Series recently included a lecture on the subject of pandemics. Dr. Lee A. Norman, the State Surgeon of Kansas, presented “Modern Epidemics: Why they occur and why we should worry!” on Monday, April 23.
For more information about this issue, please follow the link below.
Top White House official in charge of pandemic response exits abruptly, The Washington Post
Ebola Returns Just as the White House Loses Its Top Biodefense Expert, The Atlantic