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Peters’ Pandemic Failures: Under His Watch, Audit Found Homeland Security Unprepared For A Pandemic

U.S. Senator Gary Peters loves to talk about being the Ranking Member on the Senate Homeland Security Committee. However, under his watch, a departmental audit said that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was not ready for a pandemic.

Peters had been on the important oversight committee for nearly two years when the DHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued the scathing report in October 2016 during President Obama’s tenure, which found that “Pandemic Planning Needs Better Oversight, Training, and Execution.”

The review was done to ensure key U.S. agencies located in DHS could function in the face of a global pandemic, like the coronavirus we face today.

Among many disturbing findings, the OIG said:

  • “ICE, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and the Secret Service either could not identify their pandemic PPE stockpile or were unaware of whether local offices had pandemic PPE available on site.”
  • “…the Coast Guard, ICE, and the Secret Service — did not determine their pandemic PPE requirements.”
  • Senior DHA officials never gave final approval to Pandemic Workforce Protection Plans (PWPP) for key agencies, including:
    • FEMA
    • TSA
    • U.S. Secret Service
    • Customs and Border Protection
    • U.S. Coast Guard
    • Immigration and Customs Enforcement 
  • “For about a year, it was unclear which office, if any, was responsible for conducting PWPP oversight.”
  • “The Department did not develop clear requirements for pandemic readiness training.”
  • “The Department did not establish sufficient oversight or provide clear instruction on the number of days for which components should maintain a supply of PPE for pandemic response.”
  • “The Department cannot be assured that its preparedness plans can be executed effectively during a pandemic event.”

“Michigan did not send Gary Peters to Congress to create benefits for himself like special health care insurance no typical family can access. We sent him there to make sure America’s government was equipped and ready to protect Michigan families in the face of a disaster, exactly like the current global pandemic,” said Michigan Republican Party Chairman Laura Cox. “If Gary spent less time figuring out how to personally profit from public office, he would have ensured our government was ready to protect us now.”


DHS Pandemic Planning Needs Better Oversight, Training, and Execution
Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General Report

October 12, 2016