WMD Commission Says U.S. Fails to be prepared for a Biological Attack

 

 
 
 

| Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Discuss Your Level of Preparedness

EILEEN SULLIVAN

Associated Press Writer



WASHINGTON - The United States isn't prepared for a biological terrorist attack, a congressionally mandated panel said in a report released Tuesday.



The Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation gave the Obama administration a failing grade for its efforts to prepare for and respond to a biological attack, such as the release of deadly viruses or bacteria.



"Nearly a decade after Sept. 11, 2001 ... and one month after the Christmas Day bombing attempt, the United States is failing to address several urgent threats, especially bioterrorism," said former Sen. Bob Graham, chairman of the commission. "Each of the last three administrations has been slow to recognize and respond to the biothreat. But we no longer have the luxury of a slow learning curve, when we know al-Qaida is interested in bioweapons."



Retired Air Force Col. Randy Larsen, the commission's executive director, said the poor preparation for the swine flu epidemic in 2009 is proof that the country is not positioned to respond to something more serious. Larsen pointed to the early shortage of H1N1 vaccine despite a six-month warning from health officials that the disease would be potentially deadly.



No one in the Obama administration has taken the lead for protecting the country against bioterrorism, Larsen said.



"Especially troubling is the lack of priority given to the development of medical countermeasures - the vaccines and medicines that would be required to mitigate the consequences of an attack," the report said.



The report recommended five steps the government should take to deal with the threat of bioterrorism:



Conduct a comprehensive review of the domestic program to secure dangerous pathogens.



Develop a national strategy for advancing the ability to conduct forensic analyses of bioterror attacks.



Tighten government oversight of laboratories that deal with dangerous pathogens.



Promote a culture of security awareness among scientists.



Enhance the nation's rapid response plan to prevent biological attacks from inflicting mass casualties.



The commission was formed by Congress to evaluate the government's readiness for a terror attack involving weapons of mass destruction. Its report follows a study released Monday that warned that al-Qaida is still pursuing technology to conduct a biological, chemical or even nuclear attack against the United States.



That study, released by Harvard University's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, said al-Qaida's "top WMD priority has been to acquire nuclear and strategic biological weapons."



__



On the Net: Bioterrorism Report Card




Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: Leadership and Professionalism, Operations and Protcols, Special Operations, WMD and Terrorism

 
What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS





 

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

Innovation & Progress

Follow in the footsteps of these inspirational leaders of EMS.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

University of Pittsburgh STAAMP Trial

Trauma experts launch tranexamic acid trial.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

New York Ambulance Service Begins Using Power Cot

Service is first in county with new technology.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Traffic Cam Captures Wisconsin Ambulance Crash

Driver of ambulance cited for failing to operate safely.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

New Mexico Hospital Mourns Helicopter Crash Victims

TriState CareFlight pilot and crew killed in crash.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Moscow Subway MCI

At least 20 dead and 150 injured in subway derailment.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Hands On July 2014

Check out the latest products and innovations in JEMS.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Wounded Veteran Resiliency

Marine is one of many in quality of life study.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

The AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher Conversion Kit - EMS Today 2013

AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher all-hazards preparedness & response tool
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Field Bridge Xpress ePCR on iPad, Android, Kindle Fire

Sneak peek of customizable run forms & more.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Braun Ambulances' EZ Door Forward

Helps to create a safer ambulance module.
Watch It >


More Product Videos >