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Robert Kadlec, MD
Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response
Department of Health & Human Services
Dr. Robert Kadlec is the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS). The ASPR serves as the Secretary’s principal advisor on matters related to public health emergencies, including bioterrorism. The office leads the nation in preventing, responding to and recovering from the adverse health effects of manmade and naturally occurring disasters and public health emergencies. As such, the office coordinates interagency activities between HHS, other federal agencies, and state and local officials responsible for emergency preparedness and the protection of the civilian population from public health emergencies.
Dr. Kadlec spent more than 20 years as a career officer and physician in the United States Air Force before retiring as a Colonel. Over the course of his career, he has held senior positions in the White House, the U.S. Senate, and the Department of Defense. Most recently, he served as the Deputy Staff Director to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
Dr. Kadlec previously served as staff director for Senator Richard Burr’s subcommittee on bioterrorism and public health in the 109th Congress. In that capacity, he was instrumental in drafting the Pandemic and All-Hazard Preparedness Bill which was signed into law to improve the nation’s public health and medical preparedness and response capabilities for emergencies, whether deliberate, accidental, or natural. Dr. Kadlec also served at the White House from 2002 to 2005 as director for biodefense on the Homeland Security Council, where he was responsible for conducting the biodefense end-to-end assessment, which culminated in drafting the National Biodefense Policy for the 21st Century. He served as Special Assistant to President George W. Bush for Biodefense Policy from 2007 to 2009.
Earlier in his career, he served as the Special Advisor for Counterproliferation Policy at the Office of the Secretary of Defense, where he assisted DOD efforts to counter chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) threats in the wake of 9/11 and contributed to the FBI investigation of the anthrax letter attacks. He began his career as a flight surgeon for the 16th Special Operations Wing and subsequently served as a surgeon for the 24th Special Tactics Squadron and as Special Assistant to J-2 for Chemical and Biological Warfare at the Joint Special Operations Command. He was named U.S. Air Force Flight Surgeon of the Year in 1986.
Dr. Kadlec holds a bachelor’s degree from the United States Air Force Academy, a doctorate of medicine and a master’s degree in tropical medicine and hygiene from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, as well as a master’s degree in national security studies from Georgetown University.