Coordination and Preparedness

GAO-02-129T: Published: Oct 5, 2001. Publicly Released: Oct 5, 2001.

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This testimony discusses on the efforts of federal agencies to prepare for the consequences of a bioterrorist attack. GAO found that federal agencies are participating in research and preparedness activities, from improving the detection of biological agents to developing a national stockpile of pharmaceuticals to treat victims of disasters. Federal agencies also have several efforts underway to coordinate these activities on a formal and informal basis, such as interagency work groups. Despite these efforts however, coordination between agencies remains fragmented. GAO also found emerging concerns about the preparedness of state and local jurisdictions, including insufficient state and local planning for response to terrorist events, inadequate public health infrastructure, a lack of hospital participation in training on terrorism and emergency response planning, insufficient capabilities for treating mass casualties, and the timely availability of medical teams and resources in an emergency. This testimony summarizes a September 2001 report (GAO-01-915).

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