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The Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007 (9/11 Commission Act) directed the GAO to examine the state of federal, state, local, and tribal biosurveillance efforts and the use of resources to implement and execute biosurveillance systems. This report, which focuses on the need for a national biosurveillance strategy and a designated leader, is the second in a series of three reports designed to respond to that mandate. The other reports are:
- Biosurveillance: Nonfederal Capabilities Should Be Considered in Creating a National Biosurveillance Strategy.
- Biosurveillance: Developing a Collaboration Strategy Is Essential to Fostering Interagency Data and Resource Sharing.
This report examined the following: (1) federal agency efforts to provide resources — personnel, training, equipment, and systems — that support a national biosurveillance capability; and (2) the extent to which mechanisms are in place to guide the development of a national biosurveillance capability.
The GAO found that biosurveillance activities were dispersed across federal agencies and no single entity had responsibility or authority for coordinating a strategic approach to building and maintaining a national biosurveillance capability.
The GAO recommended that the National Security Staff create a focal point to lead development of a national strategy. In August 2011, the National Security Staff informed the GAO that it had created a Sub-Interagency Policy Committee within its Domestic Resilience Group to coordinate the development of a National Strategy for Biosurveillance.