The State of U.S. Strategic Stockpiles



3/20/2022, 4:38:52 PM

CFR reports “The United States maintains several strategic stockpiles that the states and federal government can draw from when supply shocks occur. The most prominent among these are the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS), a reserve of essential medical supplies, and the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), a vast storage system of oil What is the Strategic National Stockpile? The SNS grew out of an earlier program, the National Pharmaceutical Stockpile, which Congress created in 1999 to serve as an emergency supply of drugs and vaccines in the wake of a terrorist attack or other crisis affecting public health. It was overseen by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In 2003, amid a sweeping government reorganization prompted by the 9/11 terrorist attacks, it became the SNS, and in 2018 was placed under the authority of another body within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

The SPR can hold up to 714 million barrels of oil across its four storage sites—a network of underground caverns in Texas and Louisiana. At the end of 2021, it held nearly 600 million barrels. Up to 4.4 million barrels can be withdrawn per day, with the oil taking about two weeks to reach the market from the time of the president’s declaration. For comparison, the United States consumed nearly twenty million barrels of oil per day in 2021, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The SNS does not contain food reserves, but the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) stockpiles food, water, generators, and other resources in eight distribution centers located in the United States and its territories.