I wanted to share a few upcoming changes to the VS Executive Team, which focus on succession planning and supports an organization that is best positioned to safeguard the health, quality, and marketability of our Nation's animals, animal products, and veterinary biologics, including zoonotic (one health) disease management. These changes have been approved by the Office of the Secretary and will be effective Sunday, June 11, 2017.

I have asked Dr. Brian McCluskey to serve as the Associate Deputy Administrator for Surveillance, Preparedness and Response Services (SPRS), filling the vacancy created by Dr. T.J. Myers who retired in December 2016. Dr. McCluskey is a proven leader with substantive field and headquarters experience serving as the National Incident Commander leading the nationwide response to the Swine Enteric Coronavirus Diseases and Deputy Area Commander for the Exotic Newcastle Disease outbreak. Dr. McCluskey also worked in key executive level positions as the Western Region Director, Executive Director for Science, Technology and Analysis Services (STAS) and VS' Chief Epidemiologist, working closely with staff nationwide to ensure application of appropriate epidemiologic methods in outbreak investigations. Most recently, Dr. McCluskey served as the VS Associate Deputy Administrator. Dr. McCluskey will take on his new role in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Dr. Burke Healey will be joining me in the Deputy Administrator's office to serve as the VS Associate Deputy Administrator. Dr. Healey has developed and implemented solutions to address challenges to animal health issues at the Federal and State levels. As Executive Director for SPRS, Dr. Healey served as the National Incident Commander for the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) outbreak from 2014 to 2015, successfully leading the Nation's largest animal disease incident in U.S. history, with more than 200 cases of HPAI found in commercial and backyard poultry, as well as wild birds, across the country. Dr. Healey has held many leadership positions in VS including Cattle Health Center Director and Western Region Associate Director and Eastern Regional Associate Director responsible for animal disease control and eradication programs and animal and animal product import and export activities for States and Territories in the northeast as well as those west of the Mississippi River. Prior to joining VS, Dr. Healey was Oklahoma's State Veterinarian.

Dr. Rosemary Sifford will be the new Executive Director for Surveillance, Preparedness and Response Services. Dr. Sifford will work alongside Dr. McCluskey and many of our key stakeholders to manage VS' largest business unit and further the United States' efforts to protect animal agriculture through emergency preparedness and response. Previously as Executive Director for National Import Export Services (NIES), Dr. Sifford managed a large field workforce ensuring animals and animal products entering and leaving the United States met the requirements for animal health status as well as managing the Regionalization Evaluation Services unit, responsible for evaluating the animal health status of regions around the world. Dr. Sifford was instrumental as NIES Animal Import Center Services National Director initiating the closure of the Otay Mesa, California quarantine center. Dr. Sifford also served as Acting Executive Director for SPRS. She will initially take the helm of this new role in Raleigh, NC.

Dr. Larry Granger, Senior Level for Anti-microbial Resistance (AMR), along with the One Health Coordination Center will be returning to Surveillance, Preparedness and Response Services. The fiscal year 2017 Omnibus Bill provided VS with $7 million for zoonotic disease management, which includes AMR. VS can manage one health activities more efficiently with Dr. McCluskey and Dr. Granger's leadership centrally within SPRS, along with the One Health Coordination Center, working directly with STAS' Center for Epidemiology and Animal Health.

Lastly, we will be working with the Department to advertise and fill the Executive Director for NIES Senior Executive Service position being vacated by Dr. Sifford as part of our continued VS succession and workforce planning efforts.

I would like to take this opportunity to express my deep appreciation to Dr. McCluskey, Dr. Healey, Dr. Sifford, and Dr. Granger for their executive level leadership in their previous roles or organizations and willingness to move to new opportunities to strengthen our programs to further enhance the health and vitality of U.S. agriculture. We are working with the Department, MRPBS, and Program Support Services to transition to these new changes.

Please join me in congratulating everyone in their new roles and organizations.