The move, first reported by The Washington Post, comes more than two years after the CDC’s initial stumbles in testing for Covid-19 and as difficulties in tracking cases and treatment data remain.

“Even early in the pandemic, there were CDC coordination issues across the [Health and Human Services] department,” said former bureau director Robert Kadlec, explaining why the reorganization is desirable. “They felt like they were in charge.”

Kadlec held the post during the Trump administration, when early clashes — and dire pandemic warnings from then-CDC officials such as Nancy Messonnier — put the agency on a collision course with the White House.

A person familiar with the internal discussions told POLITICO that O’Connell approached HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra about the reorganization several months ago. The person insisted that it was not about shortcomings at the CDC, but about better staffing of the ASPR.

But others criticized the reorganization as a misguided effort that would undermine the CDC and its efforts to bolster its response network.

“It’s unfortunate. This presupposes that the ASPR worked well during the pandemic, and it hasn’t,” Trump-era FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb wrote on Twitter. good approach – but the most difficult – is the reform of the CDC; which must be [the] the tip of the spear in the response to the pandemic.

The change will strengthen O’Connell’s ability to staff key offices and expand the National Disaster Medical System, a network of HHS and the Department of Veterans Affairs to deploy trained professionals during emergencies like the coronavirus pandemic. , Kadlec said. He argued that when the office was originally created in 2006 — in response to Hurricane Katrina — federal officials considered making it an independent operating division.

The Trump administration brought together Operation Warp Speed, a partnership of HHS and the Pentagon to expedite the development of the Covid-19 vaccine, treatment and testing, in part because of limitations in the capacity of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness. and the response to rapidly recruit and catalyze funding decisions through biomedical. Advanced Research and Development Authority, or BARDA, Kadlec said.