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Learning from COVID-19, Pentagon’s Biodefense Council to break down stovepipes

August 23, 2023

Ashley Roque

Breaking Defense

By Ashley Roque, Breaking Defense / August 23, 2023

WASHINGTON — With an eye towards the proliferation of biodefense threats and being ready when a future emergency crops up, the Pentagon’s new Biodefense Council will be tasked with breaking down internal stovepipes, and streamlining responses and acquisition plans, according to senior Pentagon officials. 

The Department of Defense (DoD) released its first BioDefense Posture Review earlier this month designed to capture lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic response and align itself to operate more effectively during future bioincidents. One of the main takeaways is the desire to streamline efforts across the department — through mechanisms like the council.

“The department had a fundamental governance problem,” Deborah Rosenblum, the assistant secretary of defense for Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Defense Programs told an audience today during a Center for Strategic and International Studies event. “There’s a lot of very good work being done across… stovepiped centers of excellence. But as you move up into the senior leadership, there [is] not an awareness, nor an ability to make decisions across the enterprise of the department and that is a fundamental problem.”

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