CHAPTER 1 Anatomy of a Crisis The U.S. government should have been better prepared for the corona- virus crisis in 2020. There will be numerous in-depth examinations of how the U.S. government allowed events to get out of control, resulting in hundreds of thousands of American deaths due to the direct and indi- rect effects of a novel emerging infectious disease that quickly became a global pandemic. Few people will be able to defend the administration’s slow response to the initial disease outbreak in China, its appearance in the United States, the failure of state governors to recognize the impact on their citizenry and to take appropriate health measures, the slow pace of industrial mobilization to meet the demands of medical responders, or the profiteers who took advantage of the crisis. That discussion will be had, blame will be assigned, and then we will all move on to a “new normal.” People will focus on the immediate causes and effects of one particular disease outbreak during a unique period of time, and that is to our detri- ment. There is a larger crisis within the U.S. government that needs to be addressed, but it did not start in 2020. It started thirty years ago with the recognition that infectious disease outbreaks could have global repercus- sions that would impact national security interests and that U.S. policy makers needed to consider a broader agenda to avert significant health threats to the U.S. populace. The intent of this book is to examine the policy process by which the U.S. government addresses biological threats and to propose a better way to manage them within the context of the federal government’s responsibili- ties. Countering biological threats is not just a medical issue, although the public health community has dominated the discussion. At the same time, the national security community has failed to develop a coherent national strategy that adequately addresses biological threats in the twenty-first century, although not due to any lack of concern. Key to this challenge has been the failure to define biological threats outside of the traditional
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