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2 Initially, the inspection and mitigation procedures implemented for anthrax were applied to mail that had been quarantined while the procedures were being established. The USPS implemented special procedures for mail coming to federal departments in Washington, DC. The Department of Defense installed additional security procedures in the Pentagon to protect against such attacks. Other Federal agencies took similar actions. After weeks of continuous operations that eliminated the backlog of quarantined mail, the procedures were modified to accommodate the daily input of mail. Those extraordinary procedures add 7â9 days delay to normal mail delivery times for USPS mail coming into the Pentagon Building. In a move to reduce the amount of mail that must be handled by those special procedures in the aftermath of the anthrax attacks in 2001, DOD asked their employees to redirect all personal mail received at work to their home addresses. While that has significantly reduced the mail coming to workers in the Pentagon facility it has not eliminated Class A mailings that may include announcement and advertising mailings related to the professional activities of the recipients. After almost two years of those special operations, the Defense Post Office (DPO) asked for a National Research Council review of its mail-handling system. The review was prompted by the approach of renewals of contracts for some of the services involved in the operations and by the need for an overall threat and risk assessment of the procedures. THE COMMITTEE The committee constituted by the Research Council for this study involved experts in high-energy physics, chemistry, biology, public health, medicine, and risk assessment. The committee members and their affiliations are listed at the end of this letter, along with more detailed biographic information in Appendix A to this letter. All committee members received security clearances so that they would have access to all information necessary for an informed assessment. The statement of task agreement between the DPO and the National Academies is in Appendix B. Because of impending deadlines for contract renewals and the continued urgency surrounding the threat of bioterrorism, this study was conducted on a short timeline with a letter report requested within 2 months of the committee's first meeting. WORK PLAN The committee had two 2 1/2 day meetings. The meetings were structured in accordance with guidelines that the Academies has established for open information-gathering meetings and for meetings that review sensitive or classified information not open to the public. Section 15 of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (PL 92â463, 5 USC App1) generally requires the Academies to conduct information-gathering meetings in public, but exceptions can be made if presentations by agency officials to the Academies would disclose matter described in 5 USC 552(b). During the information-gathering process, the committee heard from representatives of the Pentagon administrative services and their contractors, of the USPS and their contractors, of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, of Carnegie Mellon University, of Edgewood Chemical Biological Center, of the US