THE U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced Nov. 12 in a stakeholder update that it has reorganized its Veterinary Services program.
Under the new structure, Veterinary Services is now organized into four strategically focused units:
1. Surveillance, Preparedness & Response Services (SPRS) for animal health needs in the major animal commodity groups;
2. National Import Export Services (NIES) for import and export initiatives ranging from policy setting to inspection at ports of entry;
3. Science, Technology & Analysis Services (STAS), building on a scientific, technical and analytical foundation to support the program in meeting its mission, and
4. Program Support Services (PSS) for providing key support services for Veterinary Services personnel and stakeholders.
In a presentation posted on the APHIS website, the agency explained that the reorganization was driven by the "continual evolution of the animal agriculture industries," as well as the expansion and demands of international trade and the globalization of infectious diseases.
APHIS also cited "flat or decreasing budgets" that coincided with "increased oversight and accountability" as a reason behind the reorganization.
Under the new structure, Dr. John Clifford will remain deputy administrator. The associate deputy administrators for the four units will be T.J. Myers with SPRS, Mark Davidson with NIES and Beth Lautner with STAS, while the leadership position for PSS is currently vacant.
Specifically, SPRS will be comprised of the animal health centers, the National Preparedness & Incident Coordination Center, the SPRS Logistics Center, the One Health Coordination Center and six geographic districts. The unit will focus on the broad spectrum of animal health needs for each of the major animal commodity groups, APHIS said.
NIES, which will bring together Veterinary Services' import and export activities, is comprised of port services, district field services and international animal health standards services.
STAS is comprised of the Center for Veterinary Biologics, the National Veterinary Services Laboratories, the Center for Epidemiology & Animal Health and interagency coordination.
Additional information on the new structure, including organizational charts and new district maps, is available at www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_health/index.shtml.