The committee urges DoD to work more aggressively with decision makers in the U.S. Congress and in the executive branch to recognize that infectious disease agents—whether they occur naturally or are weaponized as agents of biological warfare or terror—threaten military operations and, therefore and implicitly, the welfare of the nation. Decision makers must recognize (1) the past, imminent, and possible future successes of vaccines in minimizing those threats; (2) the strong track records and reputations of military research programs in developing vaccines used by the U.S. military as well as in civilian settings; (3)the contributions that DoD’s medical research efforts make to foreign policy and national security; (4) the threats to continued vaccine development and the ultimate use of vaccines posed by organizational and fiscal limits; and, consequently, (5) the need for adequate, stable funding and strong management authority. Such changes would allow DoD to optimally advance and exploit the technology available for vaccine development, and to provide the best possible protection of the nation’s armed forces against infectious diseases.

In summary, DoD’s vaccine acquisition system, despite its distinguished history, diffuses responsibility and is inadequately funded; therefore, it cannot produce the effort required to respond to the magnitude of its task.

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