Strengthening ASPR’s Strategic National Stockpile


Funding and Support Needed to Ensure the SNS is Ready to Respond to All Hazards


As the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, one of my top priorities is ensuring the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) has what it needs to help our country respond to public health emergencies and disasters. The SNS must be well-stocked and ready for all hazards. In order to achieve this we must work to have a consistent countermeasure pipeline, a strong public health supply chain, a dedicated team of operations and logistics experts, adequate funding, and transparent oversight.

At ASPR, we appreciate the role GAO plays to elevate concerns and highlight places where additional attention may be needed. Their insight often helps us improve and refine our programs. ASPR has concurred with the findings of their recent SNS report and we are actively working to address their recommendations. 

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the SNS has distributed more than 27,000 tons of medicines, equipment, and supplies to support the country’s public health and health care needs. In March and April 2020, the SNS deployed 90% of its overall inventory of personal protective equipment (PPE) – nearly 72 million items – as well as 100% of its Federal Medical Stations, which served as alternate care sites across the country. Since then, the SNS has dramatically increased its stockpiled quantities of PPE and ventilators and added pharmaceuticals needed to support hospitalized patients. As recently as this year, the SNS provided nearly 300 million N95 masks to retail pharmacies and community health centers for free —the largest deployment of personal protective equipment in U.S. history. This initiative allowed us to make high-quality masks available to any person who wanted one at no cost.

Beyond the COVID-19 response, the country continues to rely on the SNS during responses to emerging infectious diseases, like the monkeypox outbreak. As of October 20, the SNS had distributed nearly 900,000 vials of the JYNNEOS vaccine to protect people from monkeypox and nearly 40,000 courses of TPOXX antiviral to treat those who have gotten sick.  I am proud of the work the SNS has done to respond to these outbreaks.

The GAO report raises a handful of organizational challenges. Many of those we have already addressed, and the others have active solutions in progress. For example, in February 2022, I relaunched the Public Health Emergency Medical Countermeasure Enterprise (PHEMCE) and it has met multiple times since then.  The PHEMCE is an interagency group of experts who advise us on which countermeasures to procure and hold in the SNS against the most likely public health threats facing the country. We recently delivered the PHEMCE Strategy and Implementation Plan to Congress which is required by the Hill and describes our immediate and near-term actions related to Medical Countermeasure (MCM) procurement strategies.

In addition, ASPR is finalizing the PHEMCE Multi-Year Budget (MYB) – a report that will lay out what we intend to put in the SNS in the coming years and how much that will cost.  The SNS has been chronically underfunded and unable to purchase all of the countermeasures in the quantities recommended by the PHEMCE. This document will inform the financial needs for the Stockpile and provide a roadmap for our future budget requests. We anticipate this report to be finalized by the end of calendar year 2022. ASPR is also solidifying the process for the next SNS Annual Review, which is statutorily required, and ensures the best portfolio of stockpiled products are included to address any potential emergencies. We will deliver a report to Congress by March 2023.


Medical Countermeasures; National Health Security; Public Health Preparedness




Dawn O’Connell, Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response

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Strategic National Stockpile
Version: 2.0
Created at 10/25/2022 5:07 PM by ELIZABETH JARRETT
Last modified at 12/5/2022 10:15 AM by KIMBERLY BUCKMON