E&C Republicans Question ASPR over Mismanagement of the Strategic National Stockpile

Washington, D.C. — In a new letter to the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response (ASPR), House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Subcommittee on Health Chair Brett Guthrie (R-KY), and Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chair Morgan Griffith (R-VA) raise questions about the ASPR’s mismanagement of the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS). 


The Committee is alarmed by a pattern of fiscal mismanagement and a series of failed acquisitions that have left the SNS dangerously under resourced and likely underprepared to respond to future public health emergencies. Over the last year, ASPR let over $850 million in emergency supplemental funding for the SNS go unused. These funds were eventually rescinded by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) due to a lack of appropriate planning and urgency by ASPR. This recission occurred despite ASPR regularly expressing concerns to Congress about adequately funding the resupply of the SNS after the COVID-19 pandemic. This Committee responded to ASPR’s concerns by increasing the authorization of SNS funding in its reauthorization of the Pandemic All-Hazards Preparedness Act. Similarly, the Fiscal Year 2024 Labor, Health, and Human Services Appropriation Bill also increased funding for the SNS. As such, the failure to commit funds in a timely and competent manner is particularly frustrating. Moreover, the continued procurement dysfunction at ASPR puts remaining SNS funds, as well as funds for advance research and development, at risk of future recission by OMB.” 


  • Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Dawn O’Connell has made it a primary goal to “restore and maintain the public health emergency capacity that has been severely strained by the pandemic including replenishing the Strategic National Stockpile.” 
  • The SNS plays a critical role in ensuring America is prepared against chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear threats, as well as pandemics and emerging infectious disease outbreaks. 
  • Despite this apparent prioritization, in 2022, the non-partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) placed the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) management of public health emergencies, of which ASPR is a leading sub-agency, on its high-risk list of government programs that “are vulnerable to waste, fraud, abuse, or mismanagement, or in need of transformation.” 
  • In making this determination, the GAO raised concerns about ASPR’s ability to manage the SNS and medical countermeasure contracts. 
  • On May 2, 2024, the GAO published a report outlining ongoing challenges for managing the SNS, noting that public health emergency coordination remains on its “High Risk List.” 

The Chairs asked Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Dawn O’Connell for answers to a series of questions related to ASPR’s past and future contracting processes, policies, and decisions to ensure our nation is prepared and ready to respond to health security threats. The Committee requested answers by May 21, 2024. 

CLICK HERE to read the full letter.