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    Operation Warp Speed security team guards virus-fighting effort

    USMS supports initial COVID-19 shipments -2

    Photo By Lisa Simunaci | The U.S. Marshals Service provides a variety of security controls for the Strategic...... read more read more

    From Operation Warp Speed’s inception to the last tactical mile of vaccine delivery, a focused team of security specialists safeguards the COVID-19 vaccine every step of the way.

    “We have been fully integrated since day one,” said Army Brig. Gen. Michael “Mac” McCurry, Operation Warp Speed’s deputy for Security and Assurance. “Our security and assurance mission is to prevent disruption and maximize the number of doses - because this is about saving lives.”

    Operation Warp Speed is a partnership between the Department of Defense and Department of Health and Human Services in collaboration with private industry focused on delivering safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines to the American people.

    The Security and Assurance team’s strategy runs in lock step with Operation Warp Speed’s whole-of-America approach, leveraging the best of federal agencies, industry partners and local law enforcement.

    “We’ve seen unprecedented levels of collaboration between the government and industry on behalf of the American people,” McCurry said. “Together we research and map out supply chains, mitigate risk, screen participants in advance of each movement, and combine a liberal dose of tracking and monitoring technology in support of transportation and storage.”

    Before a single dose of vaccine was ever released, the security and assurance team was embedded within the manufacturing process to ensure the safety of raw material deliveries and protect the components and infrastructure involved in vaccine development.

    Beyond the physical realm, the team enhances the protection of intellectual property, data systems and networks.

    On the cyber front, Operation Warp Speed is teaming with interagency partners including the Department of Homeland Security, Cyber and Infrastructure Security Agency, the FBI and others to provide a holistic view and inform industry of what may be coming at them.

    “Our overarching approach with industry is to inform, harden, monitor and prepare to respond when necessary,” McCurry said. “We’re watching threats, providing advisories and working closely with their experts in this effort.”

    In many cases, Operation Warp Speed uses the existing partnership between HHS and other agencies. The U.S. Marshals Service, for instance, is responsible for securing the Strategic National Stockpile, which is part of the HHS’ Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response.

    Operation Warp Speed incorporated the Marshals – who were accustomed to securing the storage and transport of important medical equipment and supplies – into the effort of securing vaccines. Deputy Marshals were on duty as initial vaccine shipments began moving out in December after the Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use authorization for Pfizer and Moderna.

    McCurry said potential disruption can come from multiple sources, including foreign adversaries, criminal elements, individuals who want to wreak havoc or groups whose interests run counter to Operation Warp Speed’s mission.

    On the local level, McCurry joined the U.S. Marshals Service in addressing more than 1,500 state, county and municipal law enforcement agencies on a call organized by the FBI’s Office of Partner Engagement.

    “We were able to link them with their state health jurisdictions and talk about proactive measures and steps they could take,” McCurry said. “Our healthcare providers and people who deal with limited commodities employ certain methods and we encouraged them to apply them here.”

    In keeping with Operation Warp Speed’s whole-of-America approach, McCurry said his thanks go out to all those who are aiding the effort of vaccine development and delivery.

    “We encourage everyone out there in the whole-of-America approach to help us protect this effort and get these vaccines to the American people,” McCurry said. “I’d like to thank the scientists, doctors, frontline healthcare workers, transporters, truckers and security professionals who are helping us fight the virus in this historic effort.”

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 12.23.2020
    Date Posted: 12.23.2020 10:38
    Story ID: 385684
    Location: US

    Web Views: 134
    Downloads: 1

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