U.S. Postal Service to be in charge of drug delivery in the event of a bioattack

Following an executive order released Wednesday, the U.S. Postal Service will be put in charge of delivering drugs and other medical aid to Americans in the event of a large-scale biological weapon attack.

President Obama's order states that the postal service will be in charge of dispensing "medical countermeasures" for biological weapons in the event of an attack because of its ability to deliver to U.S. citizens rapidly.

Federal agencies are required to develop a response plan within 180 days including possible law enforcement escorts for postal service workers under the order, which cites anthrax as a primary threat consideration. The order would see local law enforcement supplemented by local federal law enforcement officers.

The Secretaries of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services, acting in coordination with the Secretary of Defense, must develop a concept for operations and establish requirements for dispensing medical countermeasures to an affected population through a federal rapid response program.

The order, President Obama says, does not supersede the authorities of other agencies and seeks to "mitigate illness and prevent death; sustain critical infrastructure; and complement and supplement state, local, territorial, and tribal government medical countermeasure distribution capacity."

The plan is to be developed by the Secretaries of Homeland Security, Health and Human Services, and Defense, and the Attorney General working in coordination with the U.S. Postal Service in consultation with state and local public health, emergency management and law enforcement officials.