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naval postgraduate school articles/thesis


The Journal of the NPS Center for Homeland Defense and Security

ABSTRACT:  The Anthrax Vaccine: A Dilemma for Homeland Security, May 2009
Past problems with the Department of Defense anthrax vaccine currently impact Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Health and Human Services policy. Following the 2001 anthrax letter attacks, those departments included the old anthrax vaccine in the Strategic National Stockpile. This article explores the Department of Defense’s experience with the vaccine, enumerating past safety, efficacy, regulatory, and legal problems. Public health policy alternative courses of action are suggested, including use of antibiotics and development of a new vaccine.

Center for Homeland Defense and Security 2010 Staff Article:  

Silo thinking in vaccine stockpiling persists

"Lt. Col. Thomas Rempfer’s course paper in Technology for Homeland Security may not have translated into an applicable policy or practice in the field. It did, however, expose the “silo” thinking that plagues many agencies that are tasked with homeland security responsibilities in the United States.  ... Significantly, the FBI also recently finalized its findings, corroborating Rempfer’s research."

Click here for PDF of detailed Naval Postgraduate School Thesis documenting anthrax vaccine problems & policy recommendations.

Almost a decade later, the Thesis' Conclusions / Recommendations mirror the main tenets of the United States' 2018 National Biodefense Strategy announced by the President.

  • Announcement link
  • The new Biodefense Strategy resembles the 2009 NPS/CHDS thesis conclusion recommendations, e.g.:
    • The thesis suggested PSD's/PPD's (Presidential Policy/Study Directives) and the President implemented the same actions via the new administration's unique policy terms, i.e., NSPD's/NSPM's (National Security Presidential Directives/Memoranda).
    • The thesis suggested a Biodefense Czar under DHS, and the President's vision implemented the same action of independent oversight under DHHS.
    • The thesis suggested a Biodefense Commission, and the President's vision institutes a cabinet-level Biodefense Steering Committee.
    • The thesis cited anthrax vaccine and the letter attacks as the cause for the recommended bio-defense strategy, and the President's directive cites the anthrax letter attacks in his call for "accountability." 
    • In other words, the President is ensuring civilian control of the bio-defense enterprise, which was the thrust of the thesis' recommendations.

Anthrax Vaccine as a Component of the Strategic National Stockpile: 
A Dilemma for Homeland Security

Anthrax Vaccine as a Component of the Strategic National Stockpile: A Dilemma for Homeland Security

outstanding thesis award interview

Student Theses Series, Winter 2010:

The Anthrax Vaccine: 

A Dilemma for Homeland Security


Interview — video with Thomas Rempfer.

"The winner of the “Outstanding Thesis Award” for cohort 0803/0804 goes to Lt. Col. Thomas Rempfer for his in-depth study of the events leading to current policies that control the production and distribution of the Anthrax vaccine."