Strategic National Stockpile

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The Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) is the United States' national repository of antibiotics, vaccines, chemical antidotes, antitoxins, and other critical medical supplies. When state, local, tribal, and territorial responders request federal assistance to support their response efforts, the stockpile ensures that the right medicines and supplies get to those who need them most during an emergency. Organized for scalable response to a variety of public health threats, this repository contains enough supplies to respond to multiple large-scale emergencies simultaneously. The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) of the Department of Health and Human Services, has managed the Strategic National Stockpile since October 1, 2018. Prior to that, the Stockpile was managed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).


The SNS successfully deployed 12-hour "push packages" to New York City and Washington, D.C., in response to 9/11, and Managed Inventory (MI) to numerous locations in response to the anthrax terrorist attacks of 2001. These push packages are warehoused in a dozen classified, nondescript facilities under 24-hour contractor armed guard protection. Geographically situated to allow rapid delivery anywhere in the Continental U.S., material deploys by unmarked trucks and/or airplanes within 12 hours of the receipt of a request by the CDC. The U.S. Marshals Service provides armed security from these federal sites to local destinations. The SNS has adequate vaccines and countermeasures in its stockpile, including 300 million smallpox treatment courses and enough anthrax vaccine to handle a three-city incident.[1]

The actual supply of drugs and supplies that make up the SNS are located in a secret location outside of Washington, D.C., in a building the size of two Super Walmarts that appears to look like an ordinary commercial warehouse. Inside the warehouse, supplies are stacked on shelves that measure five stories high.[2]

Following landfall of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita on the Gulf coast of Mississippi and Louisiana in September 2005, the CDC deployed SNS assets, technical assistance and response units, plus the newly developed and rapidly deployable "federal medical contingency stations" to state-approved locations near or in the disaster areas. The contingency stations, later renamed Federal Medical Stations (FMS), are caches of equipment and supplies provided by the SNS, set up in local "buildings of opportunity" and staffed by local or federal medical personnel to provide triage, low acuity care, and temporary holding of displaced patients for whom local acute care systems are damaged or destroyed.

Since the original deployment following Hurricane Katrina, FMSs have been deployed to support other major disaster responses including Superstorm Sandy. The FMS program is a collaboration between CDC and the Office of Emergency Management under the HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response. In 2014, responding to stakeholder feedback, a 50-bed FMS cache was developed and made available in addition to the original 250-bed FMS.[3]

The SNS released one-quarter of its antiviral drug inventory (Tamiflu and Relenza), personal protective equipment (PPE), and respiratory protection devices, to help every US state respond to the H1N1 Influenza 2009 swine influenza outbreak in the United States.[4]

Related legislation[edit]

Section 403 of the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act of 2013 (H.R. 307; 113th Congress) reauthorized the Strategic National Stockpile for FY2014-FY2018. It required the Secretary of Health and Human Services to:

(1) submit to the appropriate congressional committees, to the extent that the disclosure of such information does not compromise national security, the annual review of the contents of the Stockpile; and
(2) review and revise the contents of the Stockpile to ensure that the potential depletion of countermeasures currently in the Stockpile is identified and appropriately addressed, including through necessary replenishment.[5]


  1. ^ Greenfieldboyce, Nell (June 27, 2016). "Inside A Secret Government Warehouse Prepped For Health Catastrophes". Retrieved June 29, 2017.
  2. ^ Sun, Lena (April 24, 2018). "Inside the secret U.S. stockpile meant to save us all in a bioterror attack". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 5, 2019.
  3. ^ HHS, ASPR FMS Concept of Operation, 2014
  4. ^ "2009 H1N1 Flu". Retrieved April 27, 2009.
  5. ^ "H.R. 307". United States Congress. Retrieved April 10, 2013.

External links[edit]