October 1, 2014
Report: Government unprepared for pandemic
The Centers for Disease Control wants everyone to know that the Ebola virus will not spread "widely" in the US and that they have a good handle on the situation.
"The bottom line here is that I have no doubt that we will control this importation, or this case of Ebola, so that it does not spread widely in this country," Frieden said. "It is certainly possible that someone who had contact with this individual could develop Ebola in the coming weeks. But there is no doubt in my mind that we will stop it here."
How can he possibly say that when the patient was symptomatic for 4 days and we have yet to get an accounting of who he came into contact during that time. He could have infected someone who then jetted off to California or New York or anyplace else in America - or several places.
This myopia highlights the fact that the Inspector Genearl of Homeland Security thinks his department is woefully unprepared to meet a pandemic.
The concerns, however, extend far beyond financial resources. The Department of Homeland Security inspector general issued a scathing report in September warning the department was woefully prepared for a pandemic, with expired medicines and inadequate resources to effectively equip its top responders in the field.“DHS may not be able to provide sufficient pandemic preparedness supplies to its employees to continue operations during a pandemic,” the agency’s watchdog declared in a report made public Sept. 1.“Without sufficiently determining its needs, the department has no assurance it will have an adequate amount of antiviral [drugs] to maintain critical operations during a pandemic,” the report said, warning of the effects for offices such as the Secret Service, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Transportation Security Administration.Despite having the task of protecting the U.S. from dangerous threats, the Homeland Security Department “did not keep accurate records of what it purchased and it received,” the department’s inspector general found.Homeland Security officials disagreed with much of the report, saying it was a misrepresentation of the agency’s preparedness for an outbreak.Other preparedness concerns flagged in recent months include the ability of overburdened Border Patrol agents to screen immigrants for disease and inadequate tools to detect or combat a bioterrorist attack.For instance, numerous government investigations have questioned the adequacy of the federal government’s premier biosurveillance system, code named BioWatch. The respected National Academies of Science questioned whether the current-generation system can detect hazards, and the next generation of the project is in danger of being canceled after the Government Accountability Office questioned its dealing with contractors.“Over the past several years, our work has identified significant shortcomings in the department’s ability to manage an expanding portfolio of major acquisitions,” said the GAO report, dated June 10. “We recommended that before continuing the Gen-3 acquisition, DHS should carry out key acquisition steps, including reevaluating the mission need and systematically analyzing alternatives based on cost-benefit and risk information.”
DHS may be the worst run agency in government. It has never been anything but dysfunctional. This is not surprising given its haphazard origins and constantly shifting mission.
Layer upon layer of bureaucracy has been added over the years until now, all we're left with is bloat. Management has been incompetent, taxpayer dollars wasted, and the latest black eye - the Secret Service fiasco - might be blamed on the lax culture at DHS.
The agency is a model of inefficiency and we are likely to pay for that with American lives.