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Strategic National Stockpile

The mission of CDC's Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) Program is to ensure the availability and rapid deployment of life-saving pharmaceuticals, antidotes, other medical supplies, and equipment necessary to counter the effects of nerve agents, biological pathogens, and chemical agents. The SNS Program stands ready for immediate deployment to any US location in the event of a terrorist attack using a biological toxin or chemical agent directed against a civilian population.

Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Program

A release of selected biological or chemical agents targeting the US civilian population will require rapid access to large quantities of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies. Such quantities may not be readily available unless special stockpiles are created. No one can anticipate exactly where a terrorist will strike and few state or local governments have the resources to create sufficient stockpiles on their own. Therefore, a national stockpile has been created as a resource for all.

As part of the Department of Health and Human Services 1999 Bioterrorism Initiative, the CDC was designated to lead an effort working with governmental and non-governmental partners to upgrade the nations' public health capacity to respond to biological and chemical terrorism and establish a Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Program. Developing a sufficient capacity at federal, state, and local levels is critical to the success of this initiative.

The Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) Program is an essential response component of the CDC's larger Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Initiative. For more information, see the CDC Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response website.

National Repository of Life-Saving Pharmaceuticals and Medical Supplies

The mission of CDC's Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) Program is to ensure the availability of life-saving pharmaceuticals, antidotes, and other medical supplies and equipment necessary to counter the effects of nerve agents, biological pathogens, and chemical agents. The SNS Program stands ready for immediate deployment to any US location in the event of a terrorist attack using a biological toxin or chemical agent directed against a civilian population. The SNS is comprised of pharmaceuticals, vaccines, medical supplies, and medical equipment that exist to augment depleted state and local resources for responding to terrorist attacks and other emergencies. These packages are stored in strategic locations around the US to ensure rapid delivery anywhere in the country.

Following the federal decision to deploy, the SNS will typically arrive by air or ground in two phases. The first phase shipment is called a 12-hour Push Package. "12" because it will arrive in 12-hours or less, "push" because a state need only ask for help—not for specific items, and "package" because the Program will ship a complete package of medical material, to include nearly everything a state will need to respond to a broad range of threats. Also available are inventory supplies known as Managed Inventory, or MI packages. MI packages can be tailored to provide pharmaceuticals, vaccines, medical supplies, and/or medical products specific to the suspected or confirmed agent or combination of agents.

A CDC team of five or six technical advisors will also deploy at the same time as the first shipment. Known as a Technical Advisory Response Unit (TARU), this team is comprised of pharmacists, emergency responders, and logistics experts that will advise local authorities on receiving, distributing, dispensing, replenishing, and recovering SNS material.

The SNS Program was tested in a real-life terrorist attack in response to the tragic events of September 11th when New York State and local officials requested large quantities of medical material and logistical assistance. With the support of local and state public health and emergency response officials, all facets of the New York operation performed exactly as intended. The SNS Program has also assisted many states and cities by providing pharmaceutical and logistical support to areas affected by the anthrax attacks in October and November

Supplementing State and Local Resources

In a biological or chemical terrorism event, state, local, and private stocks of medical material will deplete quickly. The SNS can support local first response efforts with a Push Package followed by quantities of material specific to the terrorist agent used (utilizing MI). The SNS is not a first response tool. State and local first responders and health officials can use the SNS to bolster their response to a biological or chemical terrorism attack—thereby increasing their capacity to more rapidly mitigate the results of this type of terrorism.

For further information about the Strategic National Stockpile, contact the SNS Program Manager at (202) 671-4222.