Pandemics and Infectious Disease: The threat of contagious disease transcends political boundaries, and the ability to prevent, quickly detect and contain outbreaks with pandemic potential has never been so important. An epidemic that begins in a single community can quickly evolve into a multinational health crisis that causes millions to suffer, as well as spark major disruptions to travel and trade. Addressing these transnational risks requires advance preparation, extensive collaboration with the global community, and the development of a resilient population at home.
Recognizing that the health of the world’s population has never been more interdependent, we are improving our public health and medical capabilities on the front lines, including domestic and international disease surveillance, situational awareness, rapid and reliable development of medical countermeasures to respond to public health threats, preparedness education and training, and surge capacity of the domestic health care system to respond to an influx of patients due to a disaster or emergency. These capabilities include our ability to work with international partners to mitigate and contain disease when necessary.
We are enhancing international collaboration and strengthening multilateral institutions in order to improve global surveillance and early warning capabilities and quickly enact control and containment measures against the next pandemic threat. We continue to improve our understanding of emerging diseases and help develop environments that are less conducive to epidemic emergence. We depend on U.S. overseas laboratories, relationships with host nation governments, and the willingness of states to share health data with nongovernmental and international organizations. In this regard, we need to continue to work to overcome the lack of openness and a general reluctance to share health information. Finally, we seek to mitigate other problem areas, including limited global vaccine production capacity, and the threat of emergent and reemergent disease in poorly governed states.
Transnational Criminal Threats and Threats to Governance: Transnational criminal threats and illicit trafficking networks continue to expand dramatically in size, scope, and influence—posing significant national security challenges for the United States and our partner countries. These threats cross borders and continents and undermine the stability of nations, subverting government institutions through corruption and harming citizens worldwide. Transnational criminal organizations have accumulated unprecedented wealth and power through trafficking and other illicit activities, penetrating legitimate financial systems and destabilizing commercial markets. They extend their reach by forming alliances with government officials and some state security services. The crime-terror nexus is a serious concern as terrorists use criminal networks for logistical support and funding. Increasingly, these networks are involved in cyber crime, which cost consumers billions of dollars annually, while undermining global confidence in the international financial system.