Statements and Speeches

WASHINGTON - Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information, Federal Services, and International Security, released the following statement on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs hearing, "Ten Years After 9/11 and the Anthrax Attacks: Protecting Against Biological Threats."

"As we witnessed during the anthrax attacks of 2001 and the pandemic flu that swept across the country in 2009, the impact of biological threats on our communities can be severe, and even deadly. That is why it is important that we continue to make preparedness for biological threats a priority and improve our response efforts.

"Since 2001, the federal government has taken many steps to better prepare our nation for biological threats and better coordinate our response capabilities. More tools, for instance, are now available to detect biological agents and share critical information across all levels of government. Still, we know that biological weapons and the spread of deadly diseases across the world pose a significant risk, so we must remain vigilant and committed to addressing this threat.

"While our biosecurity has improved in some areas, a recent report by the Bipartisan WMD Terrorism Research Center (The WMD Center) concludes that we do not yet have adequate response capabilities to meet fundamental expectations during a large-scale biological event. The report's findings are very troubling and I will be looking for answers at today's hearing about how we can better prepare our country for biological threats with bold, yet fiscally responsible methods.

"To address this significant threat in these uncertain economic times, I believe we must continue to work smarter with our limited federal dollars and find programs where we can get better results for less money or, at the very least, better results for the same amount of money. For example, as noted in The WMD Center's report, we should redouble our efforts to leverage the nation's collective capabilities to respond to bio threats and ensure that there is true regional collaboration taking place among all stakeholders, so that no city or state is overwhelmed by a biological incident. We must also look for smarter, more innovative ways to develop medical countermeasures in a timely and cost-effective manner.

"I would like to thank the Chairman and Ranking Member for calling this important hearing so that we can better assess the progress we have made in addressing biological threats over the last 10 years. I look forward to hearing from all our witnesses about how we can improve our efforts to address this very serious challenge."