Report | Aug. 17, 2015

Lead Inspector General for Operation United Assistance | Quarterly Report on U.S. Government's Activities | International Ebola Response and Preparedness | June 30, 2015

 This report to Congress describes U.S. Government activities related to international Ebola response and preparedness efforts, and the oversight of the federal departments and agencies primarily responsible for this effort. This report describes activities and resources associated with Operation United Assistance, the U.S. mission to combat the Ebola virus disease in West Africa; and helps to inform Congress and the public about efforts to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the Ebola virus. This report meets quarterly and biannual reporting requirements to Congress required under §8L of the IG Act of 1978, as amended (5 U.S.C. App.), and covers the period from April 1, 2015, to June 30, 2015.

Several U.S. Government departments and agencies have been involved in the whole-of-government response for reducing Ebola transmission in West Africa, as well as efforts to address second-order effects and better prepare international health systems for future outbreaks. U.S. Government agencies have reported more than $1.7 billion in obligations toward Ebola response, recovery, and preparedness efforts with an international nexus. The Department of Defense (DoD) supported civilian-led response efforts with military response efforts. At its peak DoD, had deployed nearly 3,000 troops in Liberia.

As of June 30, 2015, the Ebola virus disease epidemic in West Africa had sickened 27,550 people, resulting in the deaths of over 11,235 people worldwide, according to public health officials. The countries of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone have accounted for the overwhelming share of these cases and fatalities. During this quarter, national health authorities reported a total of 1,999 new confirmed, probable, and suspected EVD cases, and 648 EVD deaths in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. However, the number of new cases and resulting fatalities declined over the period. While there were 30 new confirmed cases per week across the three countries at the start of April 2015, this number had dropped to 20 by the end of June 2015. The number of confirmed EVD deaths per week followed a similar downward trajectory from 51 to 13 over the period.

The President directed the termination of Operation United Assistance effective June 30, 2015. In preparation, DoD transferred related property and consumable products to the Government of Liberia, redeployed mobile laboratories and other property and equipment, and transferred DoD equipment out of the country. However, DoD continues to support Ebola surveillance and response efforts.

The November 2014 activation of U.S. military reservists in association with Operation United Assistance triggered provisions of the Inspector General (IG) Act of 1978 (5 U.S.C. App.), as amended, related to oversight of contingency operations. Under Section 8L of the IG Act, the Offices of Inspector General (OIGs) for the DoD, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and Department of State (DOS) are required to coordinate oversight efforts and report on the progress of overseas contingency operations and corresponding oversight efforts. In light of the whole-of-government response to the outbreak and the significant role that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has had in international Ebola response efforts, HHS OIG has also actively engaged in these coordination efforts.

Under Section 8L, DoD’s IG was designated as the Lead IG on February 24, 2015, after the designation of the contingency operation. The DoD IG, in turn, appointed USAID’s Acting Deputy IG as the Associate IG to lead related oversight planning, coordination, and reporting activities.