What The Politics?! Episode 39: Origins of the COVID pandemic; critiques and strategies moving forward

WNCT Podcast Network

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Our country is making its way out of the global COVID-19 pandemic after over a year. But there are still a lot of questions surrounding the origins of the virus and the response, from not only our government but foreign governments as well.

In this episode, we examine the scenarios of origin and why creating multiple scenarios could do more harm than good. We look at critiques of the World Health Organization, which has handled the outbreak in its entirety, including the investigations underway within the organization.

As you’ll hear in this podcast, it’s not a matter of if another global pandemic happens, but when. Looking at when it does happen, what adequate responses are necessary to be successful.

In this week’s episode, we are joined by Daniel M. Gerstein, a senior policy researcher at the RAND Corporation. Previously, he served at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as undersecretary (acting) and deputy undersecretary in the Science & Technology Directorate. He has extensive experience in security and defense while serving as a Senior Executive Service government civilian, in uniform, and in industry.

Gerstein is also an adjunct professor at American University in Washington, D.C. In DHS S&T, he managed the directorate’s $1-billion budget and spearheaded several cross-departmental efforts in big data, cybersecurity, and biodefense.

Gerstein began his professional career in the U.S. Army, serving on four continents, participating in combat, peacekeeping, humanitarian assistance, counterterrorism and homeland security. Following retirement from active duty, he joined L-3 Corporation as Vice President for Homeland Security Services.

Before joining DHS, Gerstein was the Principal Director for Countering WMD in OSD (Policy). He also served on the Holbrooke Delegation that negotiated the peace settlement in Bosnia, established SOUTHCOM’s cybersecurity facility following 9/11, developed a biosurveillance system for DoD, and led the Army’s most comprehensive restructuring since WWII.

He has been awarded many foreign, military, and civilian awards, including the U.S. Army Soldiers Medal for heroism. He has published many books and articles on national security topics and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Gerstein graduated from West Point and has master’s degrees from Georgia Tech, National Defense University, and Army Command & General Staff College, and a Ph.D. from George Mason University.

Refrenced Articles:


Origin Story: How Did the Coronavirus Emerge? | RAND

The Strategic National Stockpile and COVID-19: Rethinking the Stockpile (rand.org)

Further publications:

Daniel M. Gerstein, The Story of Technology: How We Got Here and What the Future Holds, Prometheus Books (Rowman and Littlefield), 2019

Daniel M. Gerstein, National Security and Arms Control in the Age of Biotechnology: The Biological Weapons Convention, Rowman and Littlefield, 2013

Daniel M. Gerstein, Bioterror in the 21st Century, Naval Institute Press, 2009

Daniel M. Gerstein and Perry Smith, Assignment Pentagon, Potomac Books, 2007

Daniel M. Gerstein, Leading at the Speed of Light, Potgomac Books, 2006

Daniel M. Gerstein, Securing America’s Future: National Strategy in the Information Age, Praeger Security International, 2005

Daniel M. Gerstein, Conventional Arms Control Study, U.S. Army Concepts Analysis Agency, 1988

Daniel M. Gerstein

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