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Integrated Biosurveillance

The Integrated Biosurveillance division serves as a central biosurveillance coordination unit to meet the needs of the Department of Defense (DoD) medical and public health components and leadership. The initial mission for this biosurveillance coordination unit was to identify and evaluate biosurveillance needs, synchronize biosurveillance efforts, and support decision makers by providing situational awareness of health events with potential impact on the DoD. The division is able to leverage other AFHSB resources such as the Global Emerging Infections Surveillance and Response network and the analytical capabilities of the Epidemiology and Analysis division.

Although the division embraces the “all-hazards” aspect of biosurveillance, most efforts are directed to monitoring the infectious diseases of humans. To accomplish this mission at full operating capability and address the global biosurveillance situational awareness needs within the DoD, the division has identified seven functional areas derived from key documents, including the 2013 U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense memo for implementation of the 2012 National Strategy for Biosurveillance, the Defense Health Agency Public Health Division Concept of Operations, the Health Affairs – Nuclear/Chemical/Biological Defense Program Memorandum of Understanding Operations Plan, and the AFHSB Strategic Plan:

Functional Area Description 
Indicator-based Surveillance 
Event-based Surveillance
  • Provide analysts dedicated to each Geographic Combatant Command (GCC) who will monitor the GCC’s Area of Operation, based on expanded criteria (including not only public health events of force health protection concern, but also events relevant to government coordinating council missions (e.g., theater security, regional stability, capacity building).
  • Produce a weekly report for wide distribution that covers public health events relevant to the DoD, including health events among its personnel and high-profile public health events.
  • Produce more detailed government coordinating council–specific reports, depending on time and criteria requirements.
  • Use different formats (in addition to email) for communication, such as a CAC-controlled division website and the biosurveillance portal.
Technology Evaluation
  • Enhance evaluation and subject matter experts support of Nuclear/Chemical/Biological Program-funded information systems (e.g., G-BSP).
  • Continuously evaluate and update AFHSB ESSENCE.
Quality Improvement
  • Assess the needs of key customers on a regular basis.
  • Establish a mechanism for feedback on division products.
Coordination of Biosurveillance Efforts
  • Provide more devoted attention to coordination efforts across the U.S. government.
Epidemiologic Investigation
  • Enhance coordination of epidemiologic investigations with the services and the U.S. government.

Currently, the division consists of the director, the deputy director, the director’s staff (includes a chief scientist, liaisons to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Defense Programs office and National Center for Medical Intelligence, an American Association for the Advancement of Science fellow, a program manager, and a geographic information system mapping specialist), and two offices: the Office of Alert and Response Operations and the Office of Innovation and Evaluation, which also contains an epidemiologic investigations team.

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Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Integrated Biosurveillance | Global Emerging Infections Surveillance | Combat Support
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