DOD and Pandemic Influenza
A flu pandemic is a worldwide epidemic [this means a disease can be spread and is located in as few as two locations globally] of an influenza virus. The United States response to a pandemic has international and domestic components. Domestic response includes efforts which would include contributions from every governmental level (local, state, tribal, and federal), non-governmental organizations, and the private sector.
On June 4, 2009 the CRS released a report on the Department of Defenses (DOD) role during a pandemic.
During a pandemic the Department of State would lead the federal government’s international “rescue” efforts while the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Health and Human Services would lead the federal government’s domestic “response” [take notice of the difference in language between the global effort and domestic effort, internationally it is ‘rescue’, domestically it is ‘response’]. The CRS report clearly states that that the Department of Defense (hereafter DOD) would be called first to support international efforts and then domestic influenza efforts.
With all due respects to civil authorities during influenza pandemic DOD support would include:
* Providing disease surveillance
* Laboratory diagnostics
, medical equipment, supplies, diagnostic devices, pharmaceuticals
and blood products
the ill and injured;
* Providing base and installation support to federal, state, local, and tribal agencies; controlling movement
into and out of areas, or across borders
, with affected populations;
* Supporting law enforcement
* Supporting quarantine enforcement
* Restoring damaged public utilities
; [How are public utilities damaged during the flu?]
* Providing mortuary services
The principal ways in which defense support could be provided to civil authorities are by way of an “immediate response,” response to a formal “request for assistance” (RFA), or may expedite or suspend the RFA process and initiate a “proactive federal response”.
The National Guard
National Guard personnel would almost certainly be involved in domestic response efforts as members of their state militia under the control of their governor. Current DOD plans do not anticipate federal mobilization of the National Guard or Reserves to respond to the flu pandemic. But should the perception of overwhelmed resources occur during the influenza the state governors will very likely call National Guard personnel to duty. Federal plans can be modified if circumstances warrant it. This report contains an Annex: “Activating the National Guard for Pandemic Flu Response.” Due to their dual federal and state role, National Guardsmen can be called to duty in several different ways discussed within the text of this report.
When in this federal status, National Guard personnel serve under the control of the President, and are subject to the Posse Comitatus Act in the same way that active duty military personnel are. The National Guard personnel can also be called into federal service under 10 USC 331-335 and 12406.56 and could perform law enforcement duties. They might also be called into federal service for purposes of:
* Suppression of insurrection against a state government, at the request of that government (10 U.S.C. § 331-335),
* Enforcement of federal laws and suppression of rebellion against the authority of the United States (10 U.S.C. §332),
* Prevention of interference with state and federal laws, if that interference deprives a class of people of rights, privileges, immunities, or protections named in the Constitution (10 U.S.C. § 333).
* Repel invasion, suppress rebellion, or execute the laws of the United States
The most critical factor to consider when federalizing National Guard forces is the impact of the Posse Comitatus Act.
When the Guard remains at a state status (either state active duty or Title 32 status), National Guard personnel are not covered by the Act and therefore are a valuable tool for state governors in maintaining public order.
Federal mobilization could impede state and local response efforts.
Influenza: Plans and Policies
The federal response to flu pandemic will be broadly shaped by statute and executive branch plans and policies.
Statutes such as the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (the Stafford Act) (FEMA), the Public Health Service Act, and other public health emergency authorities permit federal government involvement in various forms of assistance during a health emergency to eligible applicants:
* Local governments
* Non-profit organizations
Summaries of Public Health Disaster Assistance
Summaries on available federal assistance for Public Health can be found in several locations including:
* RL33579, The Public Health and Medical Response to Disasters: Federal Authority and Funding, by Sarah A. Lister, especially pages 27-34 for authority and funding.
* Federal Stafford Act Disaster Assistance: Presidential Declarations, Eligible Activities, and Funding, by Keith Bea, especially pp. 11-14.
* For more information on the NRF, see CRS Report RL34758, The National Response Framework: Overview and Possible Issues for Congress, by Bruce R. Lindsay.
* National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza Implementation Plan (hereafter Implementation Plan), details the specific actions and policy decisions which will be needed to execute this strategy and bring all the resources of the federal government to bear in a coordinated manner.
The DOD will assisting partner nations; particularly through military-to-military assistance; protecting and treating US forces and dependents; providing support to civil authorities in the United States. Each of these general objectives is discussed in more detail below.
More than a dozen different DOD entities cooperate with each other, foreign militaries, and some nonmilitary organizations in a symbiotic-complex arrangement that allows global surveillance for emerging infections. International cooperation has been emphasized politically and by the media due to the [alleged] rapid transmission of disease made possible by high levels of global travel.
The DoD has well-developed relationships with key leaders in many nations — particularly with respect to foreign military officers and defense officials — and it also has expertise and capabilities that could be ‘useful’ to the efforts of foreign governments during a pandemic. These tools such as the Implementation Plan directed DoD to conduct a number of actions, in coordination with the Department of State and other appropriate agencies, to assist partner nation militaries in preparing for a pandemic.
Examples of this type of assistance include:
* Assessing the preparedness and response plans of foreign militaries,
* Validating these response plans with military-to-military exercises,
* Conducting training programs to improve military infection control and case management,
* Assessing the capacity of foreign military labs and response teams.
In responding to an influenza pandemic, the Department of Defense would place a very high priority on protecting its own personnel which includes:
* Uniformed military service members,
* DoD civilian employees,
* Contractors performing critical roles
* 1.4 million active duty personnel,
* One million members of the Ready Reserve,
* 700,000 civilians
* Contractors who perform an estimated 1.5 million work year equivalents (volunteers).
* Roughly 2.3 million active duty family members
* 5.3 million retirees and retiree families
The rationale for this is based on the national security implications of a virus disabling a sizable proportion of the DoD workforce.
For example, an influenza pandemic could conceivably:
* Render naval ships unable to perform missions,
* Shut down training and support activities on major bases,
* Seriously degrade security at critical sites,
* Break the supply chain that sustains forward deployed forces.
The primary responsibility of DOD is to preserve national security by protecting American forces, maintaining operational readiness, and sustaining critical military missions. [One might ask, Why prioritize the international effort before that of America?]
DOD preparedness includes acquisition and prepositioning of vaccines, medicines, and other supplies.
The types of defense support which would likely be in greatest demand during a flu pandemic are contained in the Implementation Plan and the NRF’s Emergency Support Function (ESF) # 8, Public Health and Medical Response Annex. A review of these documents indicates an anticipated demand for support from the DOD.
A tiered response, another name for triage the French word for sorting who gets it and who doesn’t, and demands that the response to any emergency be “managed at the lowest possible jurisdictional level and supported by additional capabilities when needed.” Currently the response efforts typically begin at the local level and, if the need arises, support is requested from neighboring jurisdictions, the state, and to the federal government. For the past several years there has been a local level focus and policy drive to adopt federal and even international standards for a variety of issues. This compromises the American citizen who remains unaware for the most part of the federalization and internationalization of their communities.
During a pandemic flu the lead federal agency — either HHS for public health and medical response requests or DHS for all other requests — would receive these requests and attempt to fill them by drawing on the full range of assets and capabilities available throughout all the federal agencies then forwarding the request on to the Joint Director of Military Support within the Joint Staff who in turns forwards the request and orders on to NORTHCOM.
It is important to note that the NRF provides for a ‘proactive federal response’ to a “catastrophic incident.” If a flu pandemic were severe enough — that is, if it caused extraordinary levels of death or illness which had severe societal impacts — it could qualify as a catastrophic incident. But it might also include: infrastructure, national morale, or the environment. During these times any numbers of primary agencies are led by the Unified coordination Group (UCG) can seize command of the event to:
* Save lives
* Control critical infrastructure & key resources (CIKR)
* Contain the event
* National security
During an ‘anticipatory response’ the DOD would support categories in actions very similar to a war response:
* Defense coordinating officer/defense coordinating element,
* Medical treatment,
* Patient evacuation,
* Decontamination, and
The Constitution contains provisions that recognize the existence of the organized militia and unorganized militia and that give the federal government a certain amount of control over it.
The provision of the law divides the militia into the organized militia and the unorganized militia, declaring the National Guard and the Naval Militia to be the organized militia.
From this document it is apparent that the DOD will play a key role during a pandemic. The pandemic will create a catalyst for an ever growing and self-feeding bureaucracy who caters to international entities with a minimal secondary task American protection. In a domestic influenza event the DOD will be on the front lines for processing, tracking, quarantine, vaccination and a multitude of other constitutionally controversial practices. Furthermore the DOD has researched and set into policy the commandeering of state National Guard in a dramatic federalization move. The only stone that remains for a tyrannical regime is the influenza event itself.