A bipartisan, independent commission on stopping the spread of weapons of mass destruction says that the Obama administration has failed in its first year in office to do enough to prevent a germ weapons attack on America
or to respond quickly and effectively should such an attack occur.
In a 19-page report card being published Tuesday, the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction, Proliferation and Terrorism, chaired by former Senators Bob Graham, a Democrat from Florida, and Jim Talent, a Missouri Republican, gives the new administration the grade of "F"
for failing to take key steps the commission outlined just over a year ago in its initial report.
Specifically, the commission concludes that the Obama administration, like the three administrations before it, has failed to pay consistent and urgent attention to increasing the nation's ability to respond quickly and effectively to a germ attack
that would inflict massive casualties on the nation.
The commission repeated its warning that unless nations acted decisively and urgently, it was more likely than not that a WMD will be used in a terrorist attack somewhere in the world by the end of 2013, and that the terrorists' weapon of choice would be biological, rather than nuclear.
The administration's delayed response to the H1N1 virus
, the report concludes, demonstrated that the United States was "woefully behind
in its ability to rapidly produce rapidly vaccines and therapeutics, essential steps for adequately responding to a biological threat, whether natural or man-made."
Even with time to prepare, the report noted, the epidemic peaked "before most Americans had access to vaccine."
And a bio-attack, it warned, would have no such warning.
The administration's lack of urgency
was also reflected in its lack of priority on producing and distributing enough vaccines and other medical countermeasures for Americans, its reluctance to insist that hospitals have enough surge capacity to treat people who would be infected in a bioterror attack, and the lack of a national plan to coordinate federal, state and local efforts following a bioterror strike, the document asserts.
The Graham/Talent WMD Commission, as it is known, is a legacy of the 9/11 Commission
, which recommended its creation to examine WMD proliferation threats in its own report. In December, 2008, the WMD commission concluded in its final report that American national security faced ever growing threats from unconventional weapons, and from biological weapons in particular.