What Comes Next?

Experts at The Brookings Institution have released Reopening America: How to Save Lives and Livelihoods, a road map with recommendations on reforming government operations and improving congressional oversight to manage the ongoing pandemic.

Key prescriptions include:

  • Take scenario planning seriously. Communication gaps, legal hurdles and command and control questions among federal, state and local workers have impeded effective crisis response. Only a commitment to regular scenario planning on a range of possible crises can uncover vulnerabilities and trigger reforms.
  • Prepare for surge capacity. The U.S. should build a corps of “reservists” in the health care field (CDC reservists), in the emergency management field (FEMA reservists), and in the supply chain field (Commerce Department reservists). These individuals would train and be ready to augment those on the front lines during a crisis.
  • Explore dual use technology and supply lines. The U.S. must not completely cede drug manufacturing to China and India. The American health care industrial base must strengthen its dual use approach to health care technology.
  • Modify the system of inspectors general (IGs). Restoring congressional control over the agents it selects to safeguard taxpayer money and monitor government performance would bolster congressional oversight capacity.
  • Establish an independent “blue ribbon” commission to investigate the administration’s preparation for and handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Continue to rely on the news media and outside groups to highlight problematic policies and outcomes.

Read more about how America is reopening in GPG’s latest Back to Work analysis.