Auditors Fault Pentagon Sorting of Biggest Bioweapon Threats

A participant in a Marine Corps-led biodefense drill moves through an Amtrak train in New York City in 2012. Congressional investigators said the Defense Department is not following its own policy to regularly reconsider its list of top biological-weapon threats.
National Journal
Diane Barnes
Add to Briefcase
Diane Barnes
May 16, 2014, 10:54 a.m.

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 »
CITES "ERRATIC" BEHAVIOR
Trump Revokes Brennan's Security Clearance
1 hours ago
THE LATEST

"President Trump on Wednesday revoked the security clearance of John O. Brennan, the former C.I.A. director under President Barack Obama, citing what he called Mr. Brennan’s “erratic” behavior. The White House had threatened last month to strip Mr. Brennan and two other Obama administration officials — Susan E. Rice, the former national security adviser; and James R. Clapper Jr., the former director of national intelligence — of their security clearances." Mr. Brennan has been highly critical of Trump on Twitter and in television appearances.

Source:
KEIRSTEAD LOST BY 125 VOTES
Successful Cyberattack Hit California Congressional Race
1 hours ago
THE DETAILS

The FBI have investigated "a series of cyberattacks over the past year that targeted a Democratic opponent of Rep. Dana Rohrabacher," widely seen as the "most pro-Russia and pro-Putin member of Congress." The hacks against his Democratic opponent, Hans Keirstead, "began in August 2017 with a spear-phishing attempt... sent to Keirstead’s work email address," which was ultimately successful. Later attacks focused on his twitter account, and "Keirstead's campaign’s website and hosting service." Keirstead fell "125 votes short of advancing to the general election in one of the narrowest margins of any congressional primary this year," and has since endorsed Rohrabacher's opponent Harley Rouda.

Source:
NO "FAKE NEWS" HERE
350 Editorial Boards Will Opine in Defense of Free Press Tomorrow
3 hours ago
THE DETAILS
"A CASE ABOUT LIES"
Manafort Case Moves to Closing Arguments
4 hours ago
THE LATEST
THEY CALLED NO WITNESSES
Manafort Defense Rests
1 days ago
THE LATEST
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login