Agency needs larger staff, better communications capabilities, secretary says.
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Role would be largely policy-oriented and advisory, observers say.
Preliminary findings being implemented in preparation for Wilma.
Department has yet to nominate candidate for the job.
Move illustrates growing tendency to tack earmarks onto operations budgets.
Agency has no clear priorities for protecting rails and has not completed a risk assessment, senators and a GAO representative say at Commerce Committee hearing.
Agency accused of failing to implement program overhaul enacted nearly 16 months ago.
Funding for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan might be depleted by mid-November.
New organization would act “as the single point of authority” for research and development of medical countermeasures against bioterrorism and natural disease outbreaks.
Federal effort was plagued by communications gaps, Michael Chertoff tells lawmakers.