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GAO: DoD, DHS, HHS Need to Adopt Existing Tools to Coordinate Pandemic Response Efforts

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The Government Accountability Office has called on the departments of Defense, Health and Human Services and Homeland Security to employ existing tools to coordinate preparedness and response to a pandemic.

Those mechanisms include training exercises, liaison officers and interagency working groups, GAO said in a report published Friday.

GAO also found that DoD has created plans and guidance on how to support DHS, HHS and other civil agencies in the event of a disease outbreak and those guidance documents include the Department of Defense Global Campaign Plan for Pandemic Influenza and Infectious Diseases 3551-13 and Strategy for Homeland Defense and Support to Civil Authorities.

Although DHS and HHS have plans to direct pandemic response efforts, such strategies do not detail how they would operate in an environment where resources are restricted, according to the congressional budget watchdog.

GAO noted that HHS and DHS have begun to update their plans to identify potential measures to implement if the Pentagon’s support to civil agencies might be limited.

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