InterAgency Essay 13-02W, September 2013
by Robert J. Roller
In December 2009, President Obama signed an Executive Order (EO) addressing U.S. capability to provide timely medical countermeasures following a biological attack. The EO was divided into several sections that describe specific planning deliverables to be completed, the federal agencies responsible for developing them, and the date these plans were to be finished.
This essay describes the process undertaken by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and other agencies when developing and coordinating their portion of a plan to speed the delivery of antibiotics after a biological attack with anthrax.
The author introduces the DHS components that contributed to the development of the Postal Model and Plan – the Offices for Operations Coordination and Planning, Health Affairs, and General Counsel together with the Anthrax Preparedness Steering Committee – and identifies some of the larger obstacles the Plan had to overcome. Among these obstacles were the preexisting Postal Pilot, the limited jurisdiction of federal officers, and concerns about resource constraints.
The author asserts that the lessons learned from this effort may be useful to planners in other agencies, as they may experience similar difficulties developing and approving complex plans. He identifies helpful practices that can be applied to a variety of planning and coordination efforts.
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