Office of the Secretary
Topics on this page: Summary of Activities that Continue | Summary of Contingency Staffing Plan
Summary of Activities that Continue
The Office of the Secretary reports the contingency staffing numbers for 16 Staff Divisions and the Program Support Center. In the event of a lapse in appropriation, excepted staff in the Immediate Office of the Secretary would continue to provide leadership and key support staff to ensure Department operations and national security related activities continue; the Intergovernmental and External Affairs Regional Directors will continue to support stakeholders in the regions; the Assistant Secretary for Financial Resources' budget and grants staff will continue to support the Department's fully funded programs and will assist with orderly phase down of operations.
Summary of Contingency Staffing Plan
In the event of a lapse in appropriation 4,329 (64%) of OS staff will be retained, including 3,492 (51%) who are exempt (their activities or position are already funded or otherwise exempted) and 837 (12%) who are excepted (their activities are deemed necessary by implication, or for the safety of human life or protection of property).
A total of 3,492 (51%) OS staff will be exempt. Exempt OS staff includes eight HHS Officers appointed by the President and 3,479 staff who support activities that have funding available during a lapse in appropriations.
The activities which will continue due to available funding include OIG's oversight activities, MHA case adjudication; OCR HIPAA related investigations, and OGA's support of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief initiative. DAB will continue to provide administrative hearings and appeals of Center for Tobacco Products decisions, Federal Food, Drugs, and Cosmetic, and OS will continue Patient Centered Outcomes Research and the Physician's Technical Advisory Committee activities. ASA will continue COVID-19 related activities to support information technology and other Department-wide coordination support. In addition, ASA and OIG staff will be retained to maintain computers and data, including those in support of COVID-19 activities.
A total of 837 (12%) OS staff are considered excepted and can legally continue their activities in the absence of appropriations. These staff fall into three categories; 1) those whose work is necessary for the safety of human life, 2) those whose work is necessary for the protection of property, and 3) those whose work is "necessarily implied" from the authorized continuation of other activities or the need to phase down and suspend operations.
In addition to OS exempt staff supporting Department operations and national security related activities, the Office of the General Counsel would provide legal support and the Program Support Center would continue to process payments and transfers to ensure fully funded programs continue operations and that funded entitlements are paid.
ASPR will have 253 (28%) staff who are considered excepted and can legally continue their activities in the absence of appropriations. These staff will continue to perform vital tasks related to ongoing and new response activities for hurricanes, flu, COVID-19, and other public health emergencies and disasters that may arise. In addition to ASA and OIG, ASPR staff will be retained to maintain computers and data, including those in support of COVID-19 activities.
ASPR will retain staff supporting COVID response and advance development, hurricane and flu responses, staff to maintain minimal readiness levels for all hazards, preparedness, and response operations. Such staff includes Emergency Management and Medical Operations and BARDA acquisition personnel, who would continue to support Operation Warp Speed's medical countermeasure program by negotiating, awarding, and managing contracts that are critical to the response effort. The technical oversight and management of BARDA staff is necessary to continue the required reporting to leadership and stakeholders, which is essential to ensure that preparedness and response activities advance as quickly as possible.
OASH will have 83 (22%) staff to support COVID-19 activities. Of the seven individuals required for an orderly phase-down and suspension of operations, three staff are critical to ensure the continued operations and management of OASH's COVID-19 supplemental funding and corresponding work. These three individuals are the leads for COVID Laboratory and Diagnostics, Program Specialist/COR, and Budget Analyst. Given the current emergency, OASH has a designated employee who is now working exclusively on COVID-19, managing and directing the Testing and Diagnostics Work Group (TDWG). In the event of a lapse, the work in support of the Testing Plan will continue, and given the ever-evolving landscape, the TDWG Lead's expertise and direction will be critical to ensuring that gains made are not lost. Much of the TDWG work involves the management of contracts and procurements. The COR and budget analyst are essential in ensuring that all contracting needs are met, contractor work is monitored, and any new needs can be addressed. Similarly, a budget analyst is required to ensure funds are available, managed, and all obligations are carried through. OASH has 74 Public Health Service Commissioned Corps Officers who will continue working under this exception.