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A review of the Federal government’s response to the Ebola outbreak

The Ebola outbreak from may have faded from memory for most Americans, but the need to address shortcomings observed during the Obama Administration’s response to the crisis lingers. Together with the Heritage Foundation’s James Carafano and Charlotte Florance, and a substantial task force of experts, we published a report reviewing the Administration’s response to the crisis: The Ebola Outbreak of 2013–2014: An Assessment of U.S. Actions.

Our review included U.S. response, both the domestically and in West Africa. Our overall recommendations include:

  • Prioritize emergency preparedness and planning.
  • Empower officials to coordinate domestic response efforts and communicate with the American public.
  • Improve medical training and increase access to effective and sustainable health care for West African countries.
  • Strengthen lines of authority and narrow the priorities of the World Health Organization to focus on a limited number of core responsibilities.

I encourage you to read the report, not only to better understand the Ebola response, but also to contemplate whether the nation is prepared for a future public health emergency.

We discussed the report’s findings at a recent Heritage Foundation event, which can be viewed here.

Dysfunctional oversight undermines security

Today I wrote in The Hill about a persistent threat the Department of Homeland Security faces. This isn’t a threat from ISIS or al-Qaeda, but rather one that emanates from Capitol Hill. DHS reports to over 100 committees and subcommittees in Congress and I assert that this has a detrimental effect on the Department, and the nation’s security.

Consider the subject of the Congressional hearing on Monday:

With the Secret Service’s missteps dominating headlines, one would hope that Congress is undertaking a rational approach to addressing the agency’s shortcomings through robust oversight and, if necessary, policy prescriptions. But because the Homeland Security Committee does not have jurisdiction over the Secret Service, the panel is forced to compete with others that assert their authority over the agency with impunity. For example, it was the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, rather than the Homeland Security Committee, that held the spirited hearing on the Secret Service earlier this week. And subsequently the dueling committee chairmen separately proposed independent reviews of the agency.

This dispersed oversight, with committee chairs vying for control, benefits no one. Now is the time for Congress to address this threat to our security. See my entire article here.

Daniel Kaniewski is a Senior Fellow at the Homeland Security Policy Institute.