Members of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce held a teleconference forum former director of the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) to improve its readiness for events like COVID-19 pandemic.
The Strategic National Stockpile is a federal resource designed to supplement state and local supplies during public health emergencies. The supplies include medicines, personal protective equipment, and devices to help with care. The stockpile can be used as a short-term stopgap when the immediate supply of adequate amounts of these materials is not immediately available.
The committee members gained insight from Greg Burel, who was the director of the Strategic National Stockpile from March 2007 until January 2020.
“Energy and Commerce Committee members had the opportunity today to discuss the critical role the Strategic National Stockpile plays in a public health emergency with its longtime former Director Greg Burel. We discussed the history of the SNS and the role it plays during a public health emergency. This forum was important as the Committee continues to work on the national coronavirus response and to improve the readiness of the Stockpile for future needs,” Committee Chair Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and Ranking Member Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) said in a joint statement. “We thank former Director Burel for joining us today to share his invaluable insight with the Committee and look forward to continuing to work together.”
In an interview in March with Homeland Preparedness News, Burel, now president and principal consultant at Hamilton Grace, a consulting firm focused on preparedness and response, said Congress must provide additional funds for SNS, in addition to the supplemental funding.
“SNS is a vital component of our health preparedness and response as a nation and must continue to receive funds required to do its critical job for the nation,” Burel told HPN. “It must continue to further integrate with ASPR’s overall response capability today to ensure Americans are even more prepared for whatever public health emergency tomorrow may bring.”