Health threats such as COVID-19, Ebola, HIV/AIDS, and many others continue to demonstrate that health security is national security. A virus can spread quickly across borders and around the globe, endangering lives, disrupting how countries and communities function every day, and impacting our safety, security, and stability – here at home and in every part of the world. Recognizing the scope and potential scale of these challenges, after careful review, I notified Congress today of my intention to establish the Bureau of Global Health Security and Diplomacy to ensure the Department is well-organized to strengthen global health security and to address the growing national security challenges presented by global health crises. I intend to ask our current U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, renowned public health leader Ambassador Dr. John Nkengasong, to be the first head of the new bureau.

Specifically, the establishment of the new Bureau would bring together the Office of International Health and Biodefense in the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs (OES/IHB) and the functions of the Coordinator for Global COVID-19 Response and Health Security (S/CRHS) with the Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator (S/GAC), which leads and coordinates the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and is home to the Office of Global Health Diplomacy. These teams, along with critical partners throughout the government, are already leading our international global health security efforts, and their indispensable functions will continue. This new structure would allow our health security experts and diplomats to work more effectively together to prevent, detect, and respond to existing and future health threats.

I look forward to working with Congress on our plans for establishing the Department’s Bureau of Global Health Security and Diplomacy.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future