by James C. Sherlock
The issues I spotlighted yesterday in Governor Northam’s news conference are not a Democrat or a Republican thing. They just need to be fixed. If you or I were elected Governor, we would consider our new responsibilities. We would find that we have basically four:
- Appoint competent and hard-working cabinet and sub-cabinet people and give then the authority to do their jobs. A corollary is that we would not suffer fools once we saw them in action.
- Produce a budget.
- Declare state emergencies, which activate the extraordinary crisis authorities granted to us under state law.
- Use those authorities to lead and manage the state.
We would do first things first, and ensure a competent administration. We would see that we don’t have to produce a budget for a year.
Then we would turn to the last two. Governors come to the job with a near infinite variety of skills and experience. Most don’t have any experience in state-level crisis management. We would see that we could not delegate such responsibilities and make sure that we were ready. We would have our state department of emergency management train us in the basic tools of crisis management, the National Response Plan and the National Incident Management and the state annexes to both. We would ask those same offices to schedule training and exercises in the federally pre-scripted and funded scenarios for such crises:
- Biological Incident, including existing, integrated federal and state pandemic flu strategies and plans;
- Catastrophic Incident;
- Cyber Incident;
- Food and Agriculture Incident;
- Nuclear/Radiological Incident;
- Oil and Hazardous Materials Incident; and
- Terrorism Incident Law Enforcement and Investigation
Some do, some don’t.
So let us say that we, as Governor and our appointees, did little of that or did not do it well. Then we would need someone to break the news to us that what we were doing in an actual pandemic was not cutting it. This post delivered the news.
Once we absorbed the news, we would have to immediately bring in people with the appropriate experiences and subject-matter expertise to coach both us and our subordinates through the crisis. Such people exist in the vast federal support complex in Northern Virginia.
We would find, if we asked, that MITRE, a federally funded research and development center (FFRDC) headquartered in McLean, operates both the Homeland Security Systems Engineering and Development Institute and CMS Alliance to Modernize Healthcare for the federal government. We would find that FFRDCs follow a set of rules from the Federal Acquisition Regulation that enables the government to assign FFRDCs work that the government or commercial contractors can’t do as effectively. By law, FFRDCs can only work for government customers.
Once we found that out, we would immediately contact Dr. Jason Providakes, President and CEO of MITRE, to ask him to provide us the appropriate interdisciplinary expertise on the National Response Plan and National Incident Management System, healthcare operations, healthcare data analytics, simulation and visualization, economic and cost analysis, and other subject matter experts to help us manage our crisis.
MITRE has all of the people and the tools they need to help us.
Dr. Jay Schnitzer is both Chief Technology officer and Chief Medical Officer of MITRE. He leads corporate and national initiatives in health and life sciences. Formerly, Schnitzer, a pediatric surgeon, was chief medical officer and senior vice president at Boston Scientific Corporation (BSC). Dr. Schnitzer currently leads the COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition. The coalition includes major private sector players from across the health care ecosystem, from health providers to research facilities and technology companies, with the MITRE serving as the central hub, coordinating combined efforts to help track and stop the disease.
MITRE is currently supporting New York City COVID-19 emergency supply sourcing and manufacturing.
We, as Governor, find ourselves very fortunate that MITRE is headquartered in McLean.There are currently no comments highlighted.