Auditors say the Defense Department is not following its own procedures for guarding against “potentially catastrophic” biological strikes.
Pentagon rules require the agency each year to revisit its list of top biological-weapon threats, with an eye to possibly reshuffling the order of agents deemed most dangerous to its military personnel and civilians, the congressional Government Accountability Office said in a report issued on Thursday.
“Yet, [the Defense Department] does not follow its established process for updating its biological threat priorities,” auditors wrote in their assessment.
Failing to regularly weigh the relative risks posed by various weapon candidates, they said, makes it unclear whether the United States is pursuing medical treatments for “the most serious and likely biological threats.”
The Defense Department backed the report’s findings, according to a letter from Andrew Weber, the Pentagon’s assistant secretary for nuclear, chemical, and biological defense programs.
The Pentagon would review its biodefense directives “to ensure they align with current … planning processes,” Weber wrote last week.
GAO auditors described “progress” in related areas, including Defense Department coordination with other federal offices to prepare against biological threats.
The Health and Human Services and Defense departments “have developed interagency agreements and other tools that facilitate communication on the various stages of medical countermeasure development,” auditors wrote.
In addition, the Pentagon has worked with the Homeland Security Department on measures “for identifying biological agents that pose domestic threats and risks,” the report states.
The Defense Department maintains sole responsibility for preparing medical countermeasures for U.S. military personnel.
What We're Following See More »
Despite trailing Hillary Clinton by a significant margin, Bernie Sanders wasn't going the way of Ted Cruz tonight. The Vermont senator upset Clinton in Indiana, with MSNBC calling the race at 9pm. Sanders appears poised to win by a five- or six-point spread.
And just like that, it's over. Ted Cruz will suspend his presidential campaign after losing badly to Donald Trump in Indiana tonight. "While Cruz had always hedged when asked whether he would quit if he lost Indiana; his campaign had laid a huge bet on the state." John Kasich's campaign has pledged to carry on. “From the beginning, I’ve said that I would continue on as long as there was a viable path to victory,” said Cruz. “Tonight, I’m sorry to say it appears that path has been foreclosed."
The Republican establishment's last remaining hope—a contested convention this summer—may have just ended in Indiana, as Donald Trump won a decisive victory over Ted Cruz. Nothing Cruz seemed to have in his corner seemed to help—not a presumptive VP pick in Carly Fiorina, not a midwestern state where he's done well in the past, and not the state's legions of conservatives. Though Trump "won't secure the 1,237 delegates he needs to formally claim the nomination until June, his Indiana triumph makes it almost impossible to stop him. Following his decisive wins in New York and other East Coast states, the Indiana victory could put Trump within 200 delegates of the magic number he needs to clinch the nomination." Cruz, meanwhile, "now faces the agonizing choice of whether to remain in the race, with his attempt to force the party into a contested convention in tatters, or to bow out and cede the party nomination to his political nemesis." The Associated Press, which called the race at 7pm, predicts Trump will win at least 45 delegates.