August 14, 2019

Van Hollen, Cardin, Trone Press Army for Answers on Shutdown at Frederick Research Lab, Lack of Notification

U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin and Representative David Trone (all D-Md.) are demanding answers from the U.S. Army about the recent cease and desist order issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) at Fort Detrick, Md. The lawmakers have requested detailed information about USAMRIID’s specific deficiencies and how long the Army has been aware of them. The Army never notified members of Congress of the CDC’s adverse order on July 15th, and are seeking an explanation why they did not provide formal notification to them, and why notification to local government officials was delayed.

The text of the letter is below and here.

Dear Acting Secretary McCarthy:

We write to express our great concern regarding the cease and desist order the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued to the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) on July 15, 2019.  Furthermore, we are concerned that the Army did not formally inform the Members of Congress who represent this vital institution, when it first occurred.

We are requesting the following detailed information about the USAMRIID situation:

  1. What specific deficiencies led to the CDC shutting down USAMRRIID’s operations, and how long has USARMIID been aware of those deficiencies?
  2. Why didn’t the Army formally notify Maryland’s federal delegation when CDC issued the cease and desist order on July 15? Why did the Army delay the notification of other local government officials?
  3. What is the impact to the occupational health safety and employment status of federal civilian and contract employees?
  4. How does this situation impact USAMRIID’s ability to meet its operational requirements, budget plan and funding, and support for national security efforts?
  5. What specific steps is the Army taking to correct the deficiencies identified by the CDC and mitigate any risks to personnel, infrastructure, and the surrounding community?
  6. What is the Army’s plan and timeline to bring USAMRIDD into full compliance with federal requirements and return to full operational capability?

We understand and appreciate that Brigadier General Mike Talley, Commanding General for Medical Research and Development Command, Fort Detrick, is available for a future meeting with the Maryland Delegation.  We would appreciate the Army providing an official written response to the questions outlined above prior to that meeting.

Thank you for your prompt attention and response to this matter.