US President Donald J. Trump has directed the implementation of a new National Biodefense Strategy that will help the country to more effectively prepare for and counter man-made and natural biological threats.
The implementation of the actions determined under the document will help promote a more efficient, coordinated and accountable biodefense enterprise, while strengthening the nation’s biodefence capabilities to better protect the people and homeland.
Trump said: “We must protect the American people, the homeland and our great American way of life.”
In addition, Trump has signed a biodefense National Security Presidential Memorandum (NSPM) that will help develop a new mechanism for coordinating the full range of biodefense activities and budget resources across the government in order to ensure the better implementation of the strategy.
To this end, a Cabinet-level biodefence steering committee has been set up and will be chaired by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Biodefense Steering Committee chair HHS Secretary Alex Azar said: “This is the approach best suited for carrying out the strategy operationally.”
The organisations participating in the newly formed committee include the US Department of Defense (DoD), the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Homeland Security, in addition to the Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies.
The new National Biodefense Strategy has been designed to support research into combating pandemics and coordinating response to attacks or outbreaks, and will work in collaboration with allies, the United Nations’ World Health Organization and the Red Cross.