"Commission Launch." CSIS Commission on Strengthening America's Health Security, Center for Strategic and International Studies, April 19, 2018. Accessed December 21, 2023.

Photo Credit: Liz Lynch

The CSIS Commission on Strengthening America’s Health Security officially launched on April 17, 2018. Commissioners gathered to discuss the major objectives of the Commission for its two-year life span.

Commission Co-Chairs Julie Gerberding and Kelly Ayotte offered opening remarks, followed by a discussion led by the Congressional members of the Commission on the macro-objectives for the Commission and its role in shaping the discourse on health security among U.S. policymakers. The Commissioners then engaged in three simulation scenarios, involving MERS, biotechnology, and North Korea, to illuminate the health security considerations and decision-making points for a U.S. response in such situations. Following the scenarios, Julie and Kelly led discussion of the five theme focal areas of the Commission – preventing and responding to high-risk disease outbreaks; winning the fight against antimicrobial drug resistance; managing the promise and threat of evolving biotechnology; accelerating medical countermeasures; and protecting health security in a disordered world.

The Commissioners identified health security as an area with bipartisan support in Congress and recognized the opportunity for the Commission to raise awareness and understanding on health security among Congressional policymakers. The Commissioners highlighted the reality of the disordered world as a novel prism for illuminating many health security challenges. Discussion also acknowledged the need for a broader approach connecting the national security, health, and Congressional communities as is necessary to prepare for crisis situations and strengthen response to health emergencies. The future work of the Commission builds on these and other outcomes from the launch discussion.